Arizona abortion case hinges on 'credible threat' of prosecution for doctors

By Kirsten Dorman
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Monday, September 11, 2023 - 5:33pm
Updated: Tuesday, September 12, 2023 - 7:28am
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Abortion rights groups want the courts to block an Arizona law that bans abortions due to fetal genetic defects. But attorneys for Republican lawmakers say there’s no need because there’s currently no credible threat of doctors being prosecuted for performing abortions.

The reason, they say, is a June executive order from Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs that moved the power to prosecute abortions from Arizona’s 15 county attorneys to Attorney General Kris Mayes.

Mayes, a Democrat, has made it clear that she won’t prosecute doctors for performing abortions.

At a hearing Monday, some appellate court judges appeared unconvinced that the stated intent of two elected officials is enough to ensure doctors are in no danger of winding up in court.

If the judges decide that there is a “credible threat” of prosecution, the case will be sent back to trial court, where a judge previously refused to block enforcement of the law.

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