AZ Attorney General Refuses To Enforce State Abortion Laws

Haika Mrema | July 5, 2023
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Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced that she will not be enforcing Arizona abortion laws.

According to an interview with Capitol Media Services, Mayes said she won’t prosecute anyone violating Arizona’s abortion laws -- including the 15-week ban -- while reserving the right to enforce (or not) the criminalization of abortions due to the gender, race, and genetic defects. 

Mayes also stripped prosecutorial authority from Arizona’s 15 county attorneys to enforce these laws. 

But Mayes refuses to call the act “decriminalization,” according to Capitol Media Services.

“You understand what my position on abortion is, which is this is not a place for government intervention,” Mayes said. “You also understand that I believe that prosecutorial resources should not be spent on trying to put doctors in jail.”

“I have been clear that we are not going to prosecute doctors and women in the state of Arizona for abortion, period,” she added. 

When asked in the interview if she would persecute late-term abortions – which have always been illegal in Arizona even after Roe v. Wade – she called the question a “red herring.” 

Related: U.S. Catholic Bishops Blast Catholics in Congress for Pro-Abortion Stance as Prelates Begin to Flex Ecclesiastical Muscles

“You’re talking about a hypothetical that almost never happens." "And when it happens it is almost always a medical emergency,” she said. 

 

Mayes’s announcement follows Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs’s executive order that centralizes the authority over enforcing abortion laws to the attorney general. 

“The attorney general shall assume all duties with regard to any criminal persecution of a medical provider … for violation of any State law restricting or prohibiting abortion care … without limitation,” the order reads. 

Maricopa County Attorney General Rachel Mitchell said the act was “procedural manipulation,” according to radio station KJZZ.

“What happens when another person occupies the governor’s seat and attempts this kind of power grab?” she questioned. “What other set of offenses might a governor in the future not like and remove from local prosecutors?”

 

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