By Corinne Murdock |
Governor Katie Hobbs has rejected a request made by 12 of Arizona’s 15 county attorneys to rescind her executive order taking away their authority to enforce abortion law. The county attorneys submitted a letter to the governor on Monday. The county attorneys issued a Friday deadline for her response.
The governor issued an executive order last month stripping county attorneys of their ability to enforce abortion law. Hobbs bestowed that responsibility onto Attorney General Kris Mayes, who has already said she plans on ignoring the law.
Abortion is banned after 15 weeks’ gestation in Arizona.
The letter pointed out that Hobbs’ action undermined the duty and discretion of the county attorneys to enforce the law.
“The governor’s office should not interfere with the discretion of prosecutors in fulfilling their duties as elected officials,” stated the letter. “Whether this was the intended purpose, the result [of the executive order] is an unnecessary and unjustified impingement on the duties and obligations of elected county attorneys in Arizona.”
The county attorneys also contested that Hobbs had usurped authority that didn’t belong to her.
“This executive order results in an exercise of authority not vested in the governor’s office,” read the letter. “It is a substantial overreach to suggest the governor may strip away prosecutorial discretion from local, elected officials.”
Hobbs’ new communications director, Christian Slater, tweeted in response that Hobbs’ assuming control over the judiciary in an effort to undermine the current law was part of her putting “sanity over chaos.” Slater labeled those opposed to abortion as “extremists.”
“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,” wrote Slater.
Hobbs issued the executive order one day before the one-year anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Hobbs’ order revoked the authority of county attorneys to prosecute abortion-related cases, and passed that authority onto Mayes.
Hobbs called abortion a “fundamental right,” the existence of which she claimed was paramount to freedom.
“I signed an Executive Order protecting Arizonans’ reproductive freedom,” said Hobbs. “I will not allow extreme and out of touch politicians to get in the way of the fundamental rights of Arizonans.”