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MO, KS prosecutors weigh in on possible prosecution of abortion providers

Supreme Court Abortion
Posted at 3:22 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 16:22:19-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, prosecutors in KS and MO have issued statements on how their respective counties plan to handle abortion cases in the future.

Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd told KSHB 41 he plans to enforce Missouri law, which states a woman cannot be prosecuted for having an abortion.

Missouri's abortion law triggered into effect Friday morning upon the Supreme Court's ruling.

"It is not possible under Missouri law to prosecute a woman for having an abortion. On the contrary, Missouri law repeatedly states that a woman upon whom an abortion is performed shall not be prosecuted,” Zahnd said in a statement. “As required by my oath of office, I will enforce Missouri law as enacted by the legislature subject to any Constitutional limitations, while also retaining the prosecutorial discretion to consider the facts of every case individually."

In Wyandotte County, District Attorney Mark Dupree “will follow the law in the state of Kansas, as it relates to abortions,” according to a spokesperson for his office.

Depending on the results of the abortion amendment measure on the Aug. 2 ballot in Kansas, Dupree will heed any necessary changes.

“If the law is overturned, this office will look at instances of abortion on a case-by-case basis. At this time, abortions are still legal in this state,” Dupree’s spokesperson said.

But in Douglas County, Kansas, District Attorney Suzanne Valdez issued a much more detailed statement about her commitment to not prosecute abortions.

“The right to make a very personal decision is no longer available to many Americans,” Valdez said in a statement. “My office cannot and will not devote time and resources to pursue cases that erode public safety and compromise public health. Prosecutors have a duty and the authority to exercise discretion to pursue only cases that serve the community’s interest. Criminalizing this personal healthcare decision does not serve our community’s interest. Therefore, I have signed the pledge that my office will not criminalize those who seek or provide abortion.”

Her full statement can be viewed below:

KSHB 41 has also reached out to Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker's office for comment. If one is received, we will add it to this story.