Texas sheriff says he won’t prosecute women seeking abortions

"My job is chasing predators, rapists and human traffickers, not someone exercising a right," said Sheriff Javier Salazar


By Mike Stunson
The Charlotte Observer

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas — The sheriff of one of the most populous counties in Texas says he will not persecute women who choose to seek an abortion.

The comments from Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar on Saturday, June 25, came a day after the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which established abortion as a constitutional right in 1973.

States now have the legal authority to ban abortion, and Texas is among the states that plan to ban nearly all abortions starting 30 days after the Supreme Court’s ruling. Texas’ trigger law does not make exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

Salazar, a father of two girls, said in a statement Saturday he will defend his daughters’ rights “to do what they feel is right with their own bodies.”

“As their dad, I have no control over their adult bodies,” he said. “As their sheriff, it is absolutely none of my business. I will not persecute Texas women or anyone else pursuing those same rights.”

Salazar is the most prominent sheriff in Texas to share his stance against the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling, which has led to nationwide protests.

“Shame on the Supreme Court and the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. and Austin who are attempting to impose their own supposed morals on others,” Salazar said. “They will not use my badge or the color of my office to do so. My job is chasing predators, rapists, and human traffickers, not someone exercising a right.”

There are more than 2 million residents in Bexar County, making it the fourth-most populous county in the state. Salazar’s comments echoed Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzalez, who also shared his intent to not prosecute anyone who seeks an abortion.

Gonzalez was among dozens of elected prosecutors throughout the United States who signed a pledge Friday agreeing “that enforcing abortions bans is a threat to many in their communities.”

“As an elected prosecutor, I took an oath to protect all in my community in the pursuit of justice. Using limited resources to prosecute personal healthcare decisions would be a violation of that promise,”Gonzalez said. “Outlawing abortion will not end abortion; it will simply end safe abortions and prevent people from seeking the care and help they need for fear of criminal prosecution. I refuse to subject members of my community to that risk.”

The pledge was also signed by his fellow Texas prosecutors John Creuzot ( Dallas County), Jose Garza ( Travis County), Mark Gonzalez ( Nueces County) and Brian Middleton ( Fort Bend County).

However, Gonzalez did not go as far as saying he would not enforce the law. According to Texas Public Radio, the district attorney said he would review each case “on a case by case basis” and may still prosecute providers of illegal abortions.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said some prosecutors may immediately choose to pursue criminal prosecutions against abortion providers who violate the pre-Roe abortion law in Texas.

Once Texas’ new law goes into effect, abortions will only be allowed in rare cases to save a pregnant patient’s life or to prevent “substantial impairment of major bodily function,” and doctors could face life in prison if they violate the law.

More than 55,000 Texas residents received legal abortions in 2020, according to state data.

©2022 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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