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Bexar County DA says he has no plans to prosecute most abortion cases in wake of Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade

Gonzales discussed the aftermath of the ruling Friday, flanked by his staff and representatives of reproductive rights groups.

SAN ANTONIO — Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales spoke out after the Supreme Court released its opinion overturning Roe v. Wade Friday. In Texas, a "trigger law" is poised to go in to effect in 30 days that will ban abortions in the state under almost all circumstances.

Gonzales held a press conference Friday morning along with local reproductive rights groups, the Buckle Bunnies Fund and the Lilith Fund.

"My job as district attorney is to protect the health and safety of this community. This decision has the opposite effect," DA Gonzales said in the news conference.

He emphasized that access to abortions will create unequal levels of care and be unavailable to those who cannot afford to travel to states where the procedure is legal.

"Many women will have to travel hundreds, or even thousands of miles, to get this crucial care. But, most women who need abortions will not be able to do that," DA Gonzales said. "Nearly half the women needing abortions live below the poverty line."

He gave a grave prediction for the future for women when abortions are no longer safe and legally available.

"We know what this means: Many women will simply end their pregnancies without proper medical care and oversight. Almost all of us have heard stories or have family members or friends who know about a woman so desperate that she had to rely on a coathanger or a needle; the results were catastrophic," DA Gonzales said. "We should not be returning to the past, but we are here." 

As far as prosecuting cases when Texas' trigger law takes effect, Gonzales said that while every DA has a duty to comply with the law, he said he will support women in their personal decisions. He said he would exercise prosecutorial discretion if presented with abortion cases.

"Absent of aggravating circumstances, my plan is to not go forward with those types of cases," DA Gonzales said. "Personal healthcare decisions should not be punished. At a time when crime is high, we should all be focused on gun violence and supporting victims of crime." 

Gonzales previously was one of five Texas District Attorneys to sign a letter pledging to not prosecute a person's personal and private decisions regarding their own bodies.

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