Utah prosecutor says he won't enforce strict abortion law

Posted Wednesday, 15 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah defends its strict new abortion ban against a court challenge, the chief prosecutor overseeing the county with the state's only two clinics has said he won't enforce the measure. The decision announced Tuesday by Democratic Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill marks the latest example of an official resisting such laws passed by states around the country. Gill said the Utah ban on abortions after 18 weeks appears unconstitutional, so filing felony charges against doctors who perform them as the court challenge plays out could violate their rights. "I think that's the only legal and ethical thing for me to do, which is not use the power of my office to violate the constitutional rights of my citizens when there is well-established precedent that says it is unconstitutional," he said. The decision by Gill and another from the attorney general of Michigan came as more GOP-leaning states around the U.S. pass increasingly restrictive abortion laws, including an Alabama measure approved by lawmakers on Tuesday that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state. It is awaiting consideration by the governor. With anti-abortion advocates optimistic about challenging Roe v. Wade before the new conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, blue-leaning states are moving to secure access to abortions. Against that backdrop, pushback from prosecutors could become more common, especially in politically mixed areas, said Mary Ziegler, a professor at Florida State University College of Law. Prosecutors also have a lot of discretion about how laws are enforced because they decide who to charge and what cases to file. Before the 1973 decision legalizing abortion, many bans weren't enforced unless there were complications, Ziegler said. "You'll see more statements of this kind. But how they'll be enforced is much more complicated than what first may seem to be the case," she said. Most laws have exceptions. The measure in Utah has allowances for cases of rape, fatal fetal deformity and serious detriment to a mother's health. Like Utah, Arkansas has also passed a ban on abortions after 18 weeks. Gill secured a federal order on Monday confirming his office won't have to enforce the measure as the court challenge plays out. However, if the law is eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, Gill said, he likely would have to enforce it. "My job is to keep my personal beliefs out of it, but I absolutely believe that our citizens have constitutional rights and our institutions have an obligation to serve those citizens and not simply roll over and play dead," he said. The Utah Attorney General's Office declined to comment Wednesday on Gill's decision. Michigan's attorney general, Democrat Dana Nessel, has pledged at a state Planned Parenthood conference not to enforce the state's pre-existing abortion ban if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Other articles published by Las Vegas Sun

Warped view of religious liberty is just a license for discrimination Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

President Donald Trump’s May 2 announcement of his administration’s new “conscience” rule for health care providers was swamped by a number of other stories on a busy news day. But the rule was a bombshell in terms of its potential ramifications. ...

Pre-existing condition is no reason not to be protected Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

As many as half of all non-elderly Americans have a pre-existing condition, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This number increases dramatically in older age brackets. According to eligibility criteria that were used by...

Winnowing of candidates has begun Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

“We’re cutting out some of this ear hair that you get when you get older,” said the 46-year-old manchild who is auditioning to be skateboarder-in-chief. Live-streaming his visit to an El Paso barbershop, Beto O’Rourke continued: “It grows out...

Bill expanding suicide prevention training deserves lawmakers' support Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Even up close, he looked happy and cute, like many of the other 9-year-olds in his fourth grade class. He giggled. Played soccer at recess. He seemed content, sporting a big smile, definitely was not withdrawn or angry, or so his teacher — the...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Memorial Day doesn’t just serve as the official entry to summer. It always brings one of the biggest holiday weekends to Las Vegas and that means it’s time to take in some big Vegas entertainment. GOOD CHARLOTTE The Fremont Street...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

CARSON CITY — Proposed legislation tackling water rights has environmental activists concerned about the specter of a north-to-south pipeline. Assembly Bill 30 would allow the state engineer’s office to create monitoring, management and mitigation...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Vegas Dave’s legal troubles appear to be a thing of the past, but so are his sports-betting privileges in Nevada. David Nakama Oancea, as he is known to the U.S. District Court of Nevada, says that’s just fine with him. “I became a sports...

Suicide merits greater attention Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Every 28 seconds, someone in the United States makes a suicide attempt. Suicide is the eighth-leading cause of death in Nevada. After losing my good friend Eric to suicide in 2007, I started having honest conversations about mental health. My mother...

Don’t dodge the nuclear question Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Presidential candidates should provide copies of their tax returns and state where they would store radioactive nuclear waste. The issue has been studied for over 50 years, and avoiding the issue by continuing to suggest additional science-based...

Restore peace at Red Rock Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area once offered some respite from the hustle and noise of Las Vegas. You could visit for a solitary moment surrounded by one of the most beautiful canyons in the world. Now, the canyon has become increasingly...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas authorities are expected to face sharp questioning over why cellphone video Sandra Bland took during her confrontational 2015 traffic stop never publicly surfaced until now. A state House committee wants answers at a hearing...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON — Sometimes even the president of the United States needs somebody to vouch for him. No, Trump insisted Thursday, he did not have a temper tantrum a day earlier when he cut off a White House meeting with congressional Democrats after just...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

BOSTON — Celebrity chef Mario Batali is set to appear in court on a criminal charge that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman at a Boston restaurant in 2017. Batali is scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Boston Municipal Court on a charge of indecent...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An outbreak of nasty storms in the Midwest spawned tornadoes that razed homes, flattened trees and tossed cars across a dealership lot, injuring about two dozen people in Missouri's capital city and killing at least three others...

Posted Friday, 24 May 2019 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has directed the U.S. intelligence community to "quickly and fully cooperate" with Attorney General William Barr's investigation of the origins of the multi-year probe of whether his 2016 campaign colluded with...