By Michele Chadwick
PHILADELPHIA, PA – Following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Philly District Attorney Larry Krasner vowed to support and protect reproductive rights in Philadelphia from authoritarian efforts to criminalize patients and medical providers of reproductive care.
He dared others in the legal field, like his county district attorneys, to join him.
In a statement, Krasner said, “As the chief law enforcement officer of the largest and most populous county in Pennsylvania, let me be clear: Abortion is legal in Philadelphia County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
He added, “I am shocked and disappointed that in the span of two days, the U.S. Supreme Court has used twisted logic to support extremist, wildly unpopular positions that endanger public safety by facilitating gun violence and that endanger the safety of the majority of Americans whenever they seek abortions and other reproductive health care.”
Krasner noted, “These extremist, unpopular Supreme Court opinions in no way erase any of our humanity. No American today is any less deserving of full and equal access to safety on the streets and to safety in seeking reproductive health care than they were two days ago.”
“These opinions are the culmination of a decades-long project of right-wing, authoritarian ideologues to prevent and undo hard-fought victories in gender equality, racial equality, and LGBTQ+ equality in the United States. These extremist ideologues include some, but not all, members of the U.S. Supreme Court who have lied and cheated to get to this day, including under oath during their confirmation hearings.”
Krasner argued, “It is clearer than ever that equality’s opponents have no coherent legal philosophy or ethical or moral compass. In their minds, their ends justify using any means to return the United States to the injustice of prior centuries. Sadly, several members of the current U.S. Supreme Court have undermined respect for the law itself.“
Despite this upsetting turn in American history, Krasner remained optimistic, saying, “I do not, however, believe that today is the beginning of the end of the movement to achieve racial, gender, and queer justice in America. If anything, Americans are more awake than ever to encroaching fascism in our state capitols and in legal and governmental institutions of Washington.”
Krasner said believes it is his duty as well as that of others within the legal profession to protect those affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.
Krasner said, “My oath is to seek justice and uphold the federal and state constitutions. That oath requires me to use the bully pulpit and use my discretion daily to protect everyone, especially those who are marginalized and bullied.”
The DA added, “Today, women and others who can become pregnant are being bullied and marginalized by their own government. I will uphold my oath now and forever to protect them, their humanity, and their rights.”
He then called DAs to follow his example.
“I am calling on my counterparts in all 66 other counties in the commonwealth (and I am specifically calling out the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, which purports to lobby lawmakers on their behalf), to uphold their oaths by publicly and immediately committing that they will use their bully pulpit and use their discretion to vigorously protect women, protect people who can become pregnant, and protect all people’s reproductive rights.”
He added, “I respectfully remind my colleagues that their silence, their words, and their actions on this vital issue will never be forgotten by the people they represent.”
Rather than allow the Supreme Court to oppress the bodily autonomy of half of the U.S. population, Krasner said, he urged others to, like him, “respond to this moment and reject permanent underclass status for any of our neighbors in Philadelphia or anywhere in our nation.”
He said, “We must fight like hell to protect the rights and dignity of all Americans. The dream of a multi-racial democracy, the dream of equality for women, gender equality and queer liberation, is the American dream. It is worth fighting for until we achieve what we seek: justice.”
Krasner ended his statement warning against acts of political violence stating, “Regardless of ideological justification, the District Attorney’s Office will not hesitate to hold perpetrators of political violence accountable.”