(The Center Square) – Gov. Katie Hobbs signed an executive order that pulls prosecutorial authority away from counties looking to enforce the state’s abortion laws. Critics are calling the move an overstep of authority.
The executive order has four main points to protect abortion.
It centralizes authority over abortion-related prosecutions in Arizona courts in the Attorney General’s office.
“We have seen that anti-abortion extremists will stop at nothing in their attempts to impose their radical beliefs on the rest of the country,” Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a June 23 statement. “I don’t accept that.”
Hobbs has directed state agencies not to assist in any investigations relating to assisting or obtaining reproductive health care that would be legal in Arizona. Additionally, Arizona will decline extradition requests from other states seeking to prosecute individuals who provide, assist, seek, or receive legal abortion services in Arizona.
The executive order also established the Governor’s Advisory Council on Protecting Reproductive Freedom to make recommendations that expand access to sexual and reproductive healthcare in Arizona.
“All Arizonans deserve equitable access to health services that affirm their individual rights and reproductive freedom, respect their privacy, and support their sexual and reproductive health,” according to the executive order.
“One year ago today, millions of Arizonans were stripped of their reproductive freedom,” Hobbs said in a tweet. “I promised Arizonans I would do everything in my power to restore their freedoms, and I’ve followed through on that promise.”
Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod responded to Hobbs’ executive order in a statement.
“In her zeal for abortion, Gov. Hobbs has exceeded her authority as governor,” Herrod said. “The law does not allow her to strip county attorneys of their clear enforcement authority as granted in various Arizona laws.”