Prosecutor worries rape, incest survivors can be prosecuted under Missouri law

KANSAS CITY, MO — Jean Peters Baker, the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney, is concerned rape and incest victims who seek abortion could be held criminally responsible under Missouri’s new abortion ban.

The state law, which recently went into effect when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, does not exclude victims of rape and incest.

“Missouri’s law is extreme, even viewed nationally, Missouri is a near total ban and the circumstances be damned,” Peters Baker said.

When the law went into effect, Gov. Mike Parson said it didn’t allow for the prosecution of women.

But, Peters Baker and other prosecuting attorneys have all said that’s not how the law is written.

“If an incestuous victim walks through the door, but didn’t follow Missouri’s law about being forced to agree to bring that pregnancy to birth, I get to have to look at her for prosecution,” she said.

When it comes to victims of incest, Peters Baker said those women are usually repeatedly assaulted, which increases the risk of pregnancy.

While Peters Baker has not had any women referred to her office for prosecution under Missouri’s new law, she has defended rape and incest victims in the past.

“This is not a fictitious scenario,” Peters Baker said. “A whole lot of people already failed that young woman. Her family failed her. Where are her parents — they failed her.”

Peters Baker said the idea of ​​prosecuting a victim is cruel.

“The last place she should be is here,” Peters Baker said, describing her office. “If she’s here, it should be me defending her, and me fighting for her, and me getting justice for her, because she’s already been so greatly injured.”

Peters Baker isn’t the only prosecuting attorney publicly opposing the new bans on abortion.

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