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Arizona Gov. Hobbs' executive order gives power to prosecute abortions solely to the AG

By Greg Hahne, Tom Maxedon, Ignacio Ventura
Published: Friday, June 23, 2023 - 12:39pm
Updated: Tuesday, June 27, 2023 - 1:28pm

Hobbs signs bill
Arizona Governor's Office
Gov. Katie Hobbs signs legislation to restore water services to Rio Verde Foothills on June 19, 2023.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs is moving to strip the state’s 15 elected county attorneys of their ability to prosecute doctors who perform abortions.

The move would give that power exclusively to Arizona’s attorney general.

The executive order issued Friday says that centralizing control over prosecuting abortion care will allow for uniform application of Arizona law.

It goes a step further to ban any state agency from voluntarily providing information to other states seeking to prosecute a person who may have received legal reproductive care in Arizona. 

Such a person would not be extradited to other states making that request. 

Hobbs’ order also creates a council to study and make recommendations on expanding sexual and reproductive care in Arizona.

In a press release, Hobbs said she would continue to expand access to legal abortions.

Arizona Planned Parenthood CEO Brittany Fonteno said the organization supports the order. “Abortion rights are still under attack in Arizona and across the country and we know that anti-abortion advocates and politicians will stop at nothing until abortion is completely banned here and across the country," she stated.

In a release issued Friday by Center for Arizona Policy, President Cathi Herrod stated in part, “Governor Hobbs exceeded her authority” and argued the better choice would result by finding, “ways to serve the needs of pregnant women.”

Herrod went on to call the governor’s order a “grab of power” and questioned its legality. “Arizona law does not allow Governor Hobbs to strip county attorneys of their clear enforcement authority as granted in various Arizona law,” she said.

Hobbs’ move came one day before the first anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.