Wayne County Prosecutor Worthy pledges not to enforce the state’s abortion ban

‘I feel like I am living in the twilight zone,’ Worthy said

May 4, 2022 at 4:15 pm
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. - Photo via Wayne County
Photo via Wayne County
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Wednesday that her office won’t enforce the state’s 1931 ban on abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“I feel like I am living in the twilight zone,” Worthy said. “I have three daughters. Now more than ever I must stand to protect them and their reproductive rights. This is not just for my daughters, but for every single person in America so that they can decide what to do with their bodies.”

Worthy said the decision to get an abortion is a personal one.

“Only those who are invited into their decision making process should have any say,” Worthy added. “And beyond that, as someone who has looked into the eyes of hundreds of sexual assault and incest victims, how dare anyone enter into to their trauma dictating what they should do with their bodies.”

Wayne is the largest county in Michigan.

Worthy is at least the second county prosecutor this week to pledge not to enforce the abortion ban. Soon after the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion was leaked Monday evening, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit tweeted that he would not go after a doctor or patient.

“I will never, ever prosecute any provider or patient for abortion in Washtenaw County,” Savit said.

Republican Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido, however, said he would enforce the ban.

On April 7, seven county prosecutors in Michigan — all Democrats — signed a pledge saying they would not pursue charges for violations of the 1931 law, which they called “unconstitutionally and dangerously vague.”

"We believe those laws are in conflict with the oath we took to support the United States and Michigan Constitutions, and to act in the best interest of the health and safety of our communities," the seven prosecutors' April 7 statement said. "We cannot and will not support criminalizing reproductive freedom or creating unsafe, untenable situations for health care providers and those who seek abortions in our communities.

"Instead, we will continue to dedicate our limited resources towards the prosecution of serious crimes and the pursuit of justice for all."

The pledge was signed by Savit, Worthy, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeffrey Getting, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon, and Marquette County Prosecutor Matthew Wiese.

On Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she would not prosecute anyone who violates the abortion ban.

“I’m not going to enforce the law, nor will I defend the law, which I believe is unconstitutional,” Nessel said.

The state’s 1931 ban was voided in 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that protected a woman’s right to have an abortion.

Nearly five decades later, the largely conservative Supreme Court is expected to overturn the decision.

A group called Reproductive Freedom for All is circulating petitions to put the issue of protecting the right to an abortion in Michigan on the ballot in November. The group needs to gather 425,059 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

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