The Indiana attorney general may gain the authority to override a prosecutor’s decision to not pursue abortion-related cases – or cases on any other issue that they do not persecute by matter of policy.
It’s an issue that some Indiana lawmakers have sought to address for the last several years but haven’t had the support to pass.
The state’s abortion debate may provide an opening. While meeting in special session Thursday night to discuss amendments to a proposed abortion ban, Senate Republicans adopted a proposal giving jurisdiction to the state attorney general in criminal cases “if the prosecuting attorney is categorically refusing to enforce” the law.
The move comes after Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said last month that he would not prosecute abortion-related cases if Republicans in the state legislature seek to criminalize the procedure following the US Supreme Court’s ruling that overturns abortion rights. The Indiana General Assembly started meeting this week to do just that.
Senate Bill 1 would ban nearly all abortion in Indiana, making exceptions only in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk. While the original proposal would not have added criminal penalties, a Senate committee added new penalties after backlash from anti-abortion groups who thought the bill didn’t go far enough.
Under the current proposal, doctors who perform an illegal abortion could face one to six years in prison and a fine of up to