Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) gave one supreme command On Friday, the state’s 15 district attorneys were barred from prosecuting abortion crimes.
The move centralizes law enforcement powers with state attorney general Kris Mayes, who, like Hobbs, ran for the office of protecting abortion rights last year.
“I will not allow extreme and unworldly politicians to interfere with the fundamental right of Arizonans to make decisions about their own bodies and their future.” I will continue to fight to expand access to safe and legal abortion in every way possible,” Hobbs said in a statement on Friday.
The executive order applies to all future and pending county-level prosecutions related to a state law restricting access to abortion. Arizona bans abortion after 15 weeks, under a measure signed by Hobbs’ Republican predecessor, Doug Ducey, in March 2022.
The executive order does a number of other things, including prohibiting Arizona authorities from extraditing people to other states for alleged abortion law violations, which are legal in Arizona, and establishing a Hobbs-appointed Reproductive Freedom Advisory Board members.
Republicans quickly dismissed Hobbs’ efforts.
“This order, at the very least, shows disrespect and contempt for the judiciary. Arizona’s abortion laws are still the subject of litigation in light of the Supreme Court’s historic Dobbs ruling,” State House Speaker Ben Toma (R) said in a press statement. “The governor cannot unilaterally shift statutory prosecution authority from Arizona’s 15 district attorneys to the attorney general.”
Arizona anti-abortion activists are currently attempting to revive an 1864 outright ban on abortion by asking the Arizona Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that the state’s 15-week ban replaced the more extreme ban from nearly 160 years ago.