Republicans Clash with Prosecutors over Enforcement of Abortion Bans

Republican lawmakers are clashing with local prosecutors in their states over the enforcement of near-total abortion bans. 

Republicans in red states like Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Texas are getting frustrated with local prosecutors. 

Progressive district attorneys have publicly pledged not to bring charges under their states’ aggressive and sweeping abortion bans. 

Now Republicans and lashing out, introducing bills that would allow state officials to either bypass the local prosecutors or kick them out of office if their abortion-related enforcement is deemed too lenient.

The escalating tension between Republican lawmakers and local prosecutors over abortion is one part of a broader fight over diverging approaches to criminal justice. As more prosecutors, particularly in progressive metropolises in red states, win elections by breaking with the decades-long tough-on-crime mindset and running as a check on Republican lawmakers, conservative state officials say they now need to rein in their excesses.

Texas is one of the main battleground areas for example. In the red state, one of several bills lawmakers are pushing would allow for the state attorney general or a private individual to ask a court to remove a district attorney who fails to prosecute abortion-related offenses and other “crimes of violence.” 

Texas has one of the most sweeping abortion bans in the U.S., allowing zero abortions after the six week mark, which is before the majority of people know that they are pregnant. It allows zero exception for rape or incest, and has drawn mass criticism. 

Texas also plans to introduce a bill to allow any resident to bring civil claims against anyone suspected of “aiding and abetting” an abortion.

Georgia is also taking to legislation, wanting to create a prosecutorial oversight commission that could discipline or remove local prosecutors who demonstrate a “willful and persistent failure to perform his or her duties.”

South Carolina has introduced a bill in its state House that would give the state attorney general the power to prosecute abortion cases. Currently this sits under the purview of local district attorneys.

Indiana has proposed legislation would allow a legislatively appointed special prosecutor to enforce laws when a local prosecutor declines to do so.

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