Hillsborough State Attorney pledges not to press charges against abortion patients, doctors

The State Attorney in Hillsborough County, Andrew Warren, has pledged not to press charges against those receiving an abortion or their doctors. This comes in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court, handing the power down to the states on how to handle abortion laws. 

Warren said his focus is on prosecution real crimes. 

"Not criminalizing a decision that mothers make with her families with her doctors enforcing arbitrary bans on abortion enforcing a law that doesn’t actually promote public safety is something that prosecutors should not be doing," said Warren. 

Warren along with more than 84 state and district attorneys' from across the country have signed a joint statement by Fair and Justice Prosecution. It's a network of elected local prosecutors committed to promoting a fair and compassionate justice system. In the three-page letter the group explains their reasons behind their decision. 

"Our legislators may decide to criminalize personal healthcare decisions, but we remain obligated to prosecute only those cases that serve the interest of justice and the people," the statement said.

In Florida, a new ban on abortion after 15-weeks of pregnancy takes effect on July 1, but the law is already being challenged as unconstitutional by health care providers. A Tallahassee judge is set to rule by the end of the week.

Warren wants to make it clear his office doesn't have a blanket rule on abortion bans. 

"It depends on the facts and circumstances of every case but moving the line arbitrarily from the point of viability to 15 weeks it’s not something that anyone in any way protects public safety and all it does is violate people fundamental freedoms and the right to privacy," said Warren.

MORE: Roe v. Wade overturned: U.S. Supreme Court's ruling adds fuel to Florida abortion battles

Legal experts said while local prosecutors have the power to pick and choose what laws to enforce and cases to charge, the Governor or Attorney General of that state could step in and take those cases away and pursue them. But, Warren said there is much bigger concern at play here.

"Women and all Floridians should be afraid of the fact that our rights are under assault," he warned.