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Mears: Rokita doesn’t represent Marion County interests in abortion debate

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears wants a judge to block the Indiana Attorney General from representing the prosecutor’s office in the court fight over Indiana’s near-total ban on abortion.

Mears filed paperwork on Thursday, asking the special judge allow the prosecutor’s office to keep its own attorneys in a lawsuit seeking to declare the new abortion law unconstitutional.

The suit, filed in Monroe County by the ACLU of Indiana, claims the restrictions that took effect Thursday violate Indiana constitutional protections to the right to privacy and equal privileges.

In the filing, Mears says his views on SEA 1 are “diametrically opposed” to those of Attorney General Todd Rokita.

“Prosecutor Mears does not want representation from the Office of the Indiana Attorney General because he does not believe the Attorney General will adequately represent the interests of the Office of the Marion County Prosecutor,” the prosecutor’s office argues in the filing. “In his view, the law beats down the poorest women and intimidates doctors who are simply trying to provide routine care and treatment.”

Mears has publicly stated he will not pursue criminal charges against abortion patients or providers under the new law.

Rokita’s office has asked Judge Kelsey Hanlon to strike the private attorneys for the prosecutor’s office from the case, arguing that only the Attorney General can represent a local prosecutor’s office in the case.

“To ensure the Attorney General’s litigation positions on behalf of the State are not undermined by contrary positions of other state officials, the legislature has provided that the Attorney General “shall have charge of and direct the prosecution of all civil actions that are brought in the name of the state of Indiana or any state agency,” the attorney general’s office argues.

Mears cites an Indiana Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that allowed Governor Eric Holcomb to choose his own private counsel in a lawsuit over Indiana’s emergency powers bill.

The judge has not set a hearing on the issue of the attorneys. A hearing to argue a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the abortion law is set for Monday, September 19.