June 26, 2022

Marion County prosecutor won’t file charges over abortions

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, left, stands next to speakers and organizers of an abortion rights rally organized by the ACLU of Indiana at the Indiana capital on Saturday, June 25, 2022. - Eric Weddle/WFYI

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, left, stands next to speakers and organizers of an abortion rights rally organized by the ACLU of Indiana at the Indiana capital on Saturday, June 25, 2022.

Eric Weddle/WFYI

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, a Democrat, said Friday his office has no plans to prosecute women or doctors over abortions.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to strike down constitutional rights for abortion is raising questions about whether or not women or doctors could face criminal charges for seeking an abortion if the procedure becomes illegal in Indiana.

Indianan lawmakers could pass restrictions on abortion next month during a legislative special session. Gov. Eric Holcomb and other top Republican lawmakers said they want to bring

Mears is one of more than 80 district attorneys and other prosecutors from across the country who signed a pledge to not press charges against providers or patients over abortion. Mears was the only prosecutor in Indiana to sign the letter. It was distributed by Fair and Just Prosecution.

"Criminalizing abortion will not end abortion; it will simply end safe abortions, forcing the most
vulnerable among us — as well as medical providers — to make impossible decisions," the statement read.

In a written statement, Mears said the consequences of this decision are a threat to public safety and will erode community trust.   He said the office will continue to use its limited resources to address violent crime.

Read Mears' statement below:

"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is not only profoundly disappointing but the consequences of this decision are a threat to public safety.

This decision will further erode the trust between the community and law enforcement, hindering investigations and the public’s willingness to come forward or seek treatment.

Further, we do not need to criminalize women and our medical professionals who would not otherwise be involved in the criminal justice system.

The Prosecutor’s Office will continue to use its limited resources on addressing violent crime and those that threaten the safety of the public at large."

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