Below is the letter we will send to local District Attorneys:
Tell your District Attorney: Don't criminalize pregnancy.
Senate Republicans have voted to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, only days before the election.
Amy Coney Barrett's judicial and academic history makes one thing clear: Roe v. Wade will be under serious threat now that she is on the Supreme Court. Barrett has proclaimed her dedication to “originalism” or the belief that “constitutional text means what it did at the time it was ratified and that this original public meaning is authoritative.” This should come as no surprise because conservatives often use this legal justification to push back against liberal decisions involving civil rights and the federal government’s power.
When faced with a decision, Barrett will likely fall in line with the common conservative belief that the constitution has nothing to say about abortion and it should be left to the states to decide the question for themselves. This means states like Louisiana and Tennessee, where we've already seen over 100 attempts to restrict access to abortion & other forms of vital reproductive health care, will be left to their own devices. Thousands of people a year who seek abortions will be criminalized. Potentially facing prison time for a self-managed abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, or other pregnancy outcomes. Bottom line: no one should be locked up for taking their reproductive healthcare into their own hands.
That's where you come in. Amy Coney Barrett’s judicial record is clear, now that she has been confirmed it's crucial we call on District Attorneys to step up by playing a key role in protecting our reproductive autonomy. Your District Attorney has the power to intervene and get ahead of potential criminalization by committing to exercise their discretion and refuse to prosecute based on pregnancy outcomes.
Prosecutors are powerful actors within the criminal justice system and have incredible discretion over which cases to prosecute. That's why we're calling on them to sign a pledge making a public commitment adopting the following demands:
- Firm commitment to not prosecute abortion as well as other pregnancy outcomes and a public stance reaffirming this position if any anti-abortion legislation is passed in your state.
- A declination policy that ensures child-bearers will not be prosecuted for their pregnancy outcomes and that feticide laws will not be used as a proxy for punishing pregnancy loss, including but not limited to:
- Do not prosecute pregnant people related to miscarriages, stillbirths or any form of pregnancy loss.
- Do not prosecute pregnant people related to actions during pregnancy, including medically-assisted or self-managed abortion, drug use/possession/distribution during pregnancy where the fetus, embryo or fertilized egg is the alleged recipient, attempted suicide, fighting, or car accidents.
- Do not prosecute pregnant people for alleged inactions during pregnancy, for not obtaining or consenting to medical treatment, not reporting a pregnancy loss or outcome or actions or omissions of people who are often victims, characterized as a failure to protect their fetus, embryo, fertilized egg or child.
- A plan to train all staff in the District Attorney office on a recurring basis and through publicly available training materials on the systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence regularly inflicted on Black child-bearers in Louisiana.
It’s crucial for District Attorneys to commit to a reproductive justice framework that supports every person’s right to have a child, not have a child and parent the children they do have with dignity and respect.
Sign the petition: Demand your DA commits to refusing to prosecute child-bearers based on pregnancy outcomes.
Here is the Petition:
As a prosecutor, you have an opportunity to take the right step in enforcing full humanity, dignity, and autonomy for pregnant people.
We are calling on you to make a commitment to refuse to criminalize child-bearers based on pregnancy outcomes. Because we believe that no one should be forced to undergo threat of arrest and incarceration because of an abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, or any other outcome.
You have the power to center the Black maternal health crisis by supporting the amplification, promotion, and implementation of solutions developed by Black, Brown, and Indigenous leaders addressing maternal health disparities in your county. And train all staff in the Office of the District Attorney on a recurring basis through publicly available training materials regarding the systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence regularly inflicted on Black child-bearers in your state.
We are looking at you to take this monumental step toward doing what’s right for our communities. The time for you to act is now by saying NO to criminalizing pregnancy.