Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs of Arizona says she won’t rescind an executive order she issued that limits prosecution of crimes related to abortion, despite just about every county prosecutor in the state calling on her to do so.
Christian Slater, the governor’s communications director, took to Twitter to address the issue earlier this week, writing:
“We will not rescind this order. Governor Hobbs will continue to use her lawful executive authority to put sanity over chaos and protect everyday Arizonans from extremists who are threatening to prosecute women and doctors over reproductive healthcare.”
Of the 15 county prosecutors in the state, 12 of them signed onto a letter that was sent to Hobbs this week. It called on the governor to reverse an executive order that she issued that gives Kris Mayes, the state’s attorney general, the power to take control of all county prosecutions that are related to abortion laws in the state.
According to the order, all state agencies are also banned from helping other states with prosecutions they are running that are related to the issue of abortion. Arizona also won’t extradite people who are accused of violating the abortion laws of another state.
In commenting about the executive order recently, Hobbs said:
“I made a promise to Arizonans that I would do everything in my power to protect reproductive freedom, and this Executive Order reflects that promise. I will not allow extreme and out-of-touch politicians to get in the way of the fundamental right Arizonans have to make decisions about their own bodies and futures.
“I will continue to fight to expand access to safe and legal abortion in any way that I can.”
During the 2022 midterm elections, Hobbs narrowly defeated Republican Kari Lake for the governorship. It took more than a week for the race to officially be called for Hobbs, and Lake – a staunch advocate of former President Donald Trump – still contests the results.
While Arizona has been solidly Republican for many years, it has started to turn into a battleground state recently. However, that doesn’t show itself throughout the state – and that is very evident in this particular instance.
The county prosecutors who signed the letter calling for Hobbs to overturn her executive order on abortion certainly speak to the fact that there are many people in the state who side more with conservative viewpoints than liberal ones.
Hobbs signed her order back on June 22. In their letter, the attorneys say that the order oversteps the governor’s authority. They say that unless it is outlined in a statute, all local prosecutors maintain discretion over whether they will pursue cases or not.
In their letter, the prosecutors wrote:
“The governor’s office should not interfere with the discretion of prosecutors in fulfilling their duties as elected officials. Whether this was the intended purpose, the result is an unnecessary and unjustified impingement on the duties and obligations of elected county attorneys in Arizona.”
The letter says that Hobbs had until the end of this week to act. It didn’t specifically outline what the prosecutors might do if she doesn’t.