Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley Signs Onto Letter Vowing Not to Criminalize Abortions

Enforcing abortion bans "makes mockery of justice," letter says.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley Signs Onto Letter Vowing Not to Criminalize Abortions
Prosecutor Mike O'Malley

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley has signed onto a joint statement from nearly 90 county prosecutors nationwide vowing not to use the resources of their offices to criminalize those who seek, assist in or provide abortions.

The statement, organized by the national nonprofit Fair and Just Prosecution, comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs v.  Jackson Women's Health Organization case.

The letter's signatories come from 29 states and represent more than 90 million people. They said that while they espouse a range of personal positions on abortion, they stood united in the belief that elected prosecutors should not be criminalizing personal medical decisions. Enforcing the bans that numerous states are now imposing — including Ohio, where a six-week abortion ban became law hours after the Supreme Court decision — makes a "mockery of justice."

"Our criminal legal system is already overburdened," the statement reads. "As elected prosecutors, we have a responsibility to ensure that these limited resources are focused on efforts to prevent and address serious crimes, rather than enforcing abortion bans that divide our community, create untenable choices for patients and healthcare providers, and erode trust in the justice system."

Zach Klein, the City Attorney in Columbus, is the only other prosecutor in Ohio to have signed on.

O'Malley's name did not appear in an earlier version of the statement, prompting the local Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus to launch a petition urging him to do so. The Action Network petition was quickly shared, garnering nearly 1,000 signatures in 24 hours. O'Malley's name appeared on an updated version of the statement Monday, and Fair and Just Prosecution confirmed to Scene that O'Malley's office reached out to be included.

Reached for comment by Scene, a spokesperson in the prosecutor's office said that O'Malley "believes in a woman’s fundamental right to privacy and their right to make decisions regarding their reproductive health," but declined to comment further.

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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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