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DeSantis Suspends FL prosecutor for refusing to follow abortion, sex change for minors laws

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Ron Desantis

Florida’s Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren is facing consequences for refusing to follow a number of state laws. Warren “pledged not to enforce a number of state laws including a 15-week abortion ban and prohibitions on sex changes for minors.”

As a result, Warren faces suspension by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. “Today we are suspending state attorney Andrew Warren effective immediately,” DeSantis declared.

National Review reports that Warren was one of 83 prosecutors nationwide who in the wake of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade signed a letter promising not to prosecute those who perform, abet, or seek abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“This 15-week ban is an unconstitutional law. The Legislature is hoping courts ignore the Florida constitution. But I’m upholding the law and protecting the fundamental rights of all Floridians,” Warren said in a statement provided to the Tampa Bay Times.

Governor DeSantis issued a press release  arguing the governor has the authority to suspend a state officer under Article IV, Section 7 of the Florida Constitution.

“We are not going to allow this pathogen of ignoring the law get a foothold here in the state of Florida. We are going to make sure our laws are enforced and that no individual prosecutor puts themselves above the law,” DeSantis said. “To take the position that you have veto power over the laws of this state is untenable.”

DeSantis was defiant about the decision, noting that of some of the other problematic prosecutors in the state, “Warren was the only one signing letters basically saying ‘to hell with the people of Florida.” Warren was the only signee of the “Joint Statement from Elected Prosecutors” from Florida. He has touted himself as a criminal-justice reformer seeking to end “tough-on-crime” policies.

As for Warren’s vow to flout child gender-transition restrictions, the governor pointed out the absurdity of allowing children to undergo surgeries and hormone treatments that will permanently alter their bodies when those children can’t legally get tattooed.

“A 12 year old boy can’t go in and get a tattoo but we have laws that say you can get a sex change operation,” he said.

“They use euphemisms, but they’re literally chopping off the private parts of young kids and that’s wrong,” he said.

While he “doesn’t agree with every Florida law on the book and sometimes vetoes legislation,” DeSantis affirmed that “that’s just the way the system works.”

 

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Healthcare

Supreme Court rules anti-abortion doctors lack standing to sue FDA

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Supreme Court

In a unanimous decision on Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that the anti-abortion doctors who challenged the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion pill mifepristone lack the standing to sue the federal agency. This ruling preserves the FDA’s existing approval of the drug.

The opinion, authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, emphasized that the plaintiffs presented “several complicated causation theories to connect FDA’s actions to the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries in fact.” However, none of these theories were sufficient to establish Article III standing, which requires a personal stake in the dispute.

National Review reports the lawsuit was filed in November 2022 by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine and four pro-life doctors. The plaintiffs claimed that the FDA had no authority to approve the two-pill chemical-abortion regimen under Subpart H, a federal code section allowing expedited approval for drugs treating “serious or life-threatening illnesses.” They argued that pregnancy is not an illness but a normal physiological state.

The plaintiffs also challenged the FDA’s 2016 and 2021 decisions to relax restrictions on mifepristone, such as increasing the gestational age for its use, reducing required office visits, allowing non-doctors to prescribe the pills, and permitting mail delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abortion opponents expressed disappointment with the decision. Erin Hawley, a lawyer with ADF, criticized the FDA for allegedly endangering women by allowing the use of mifepristone without in-person medical supervision. Ingrid Skop from the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Katie Daniel from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America echoed similar sentiments, stressing their concerns about the safety of mail-order abortion drugs.

President Joe Biden, however, applauded the decision, highlighting the ongoing risks to women’s rights to necessary medical treatment in many states.

Justice Kavanaugh’s opinion stated that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a direct injury that would force them to participate in abortion procedures against their conscience. He added that concerns about the potential for increased emergency room visits did not justify legal standing.

Kavanaugh noted that doctors and citizens opposed to FDA regulations should seek changes through legislative and executive branches rather than the courts. This decision aligns with a previous lower court ruling that found the legal challenge was filed too late, beyond the statute of limitations.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, suspending the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. This decision was subsequently overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which restored access to the drug. The Supreme Court’s stay ensured that the drug remained available while legal proceedings continued.

Democratic lawmakers welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley described it as a “major relief & victory for anyone who has ever or will ever need essential medication abortion care.” Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized the challenge as baseless and underscored the safety and effectiveness of chemical-abortion pills. She warned of ongoing efforts by Republicans to impose a nationwide abortion ban and called for continued protection of reproductive freedom.

 

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