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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DOJ announces lawsuit against Idaho to ‘protect reproductive rights’
On Tuesday the Department of Justice announced a plan of action to “protect reproductive rights.” A press conference was held by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta to announce the “first affirmative litigation to protect access to reproductive healthcare following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs” the DOJ’s media advisory noted.
In the delivered statement by Gupta, it was announced that the DOJ filed a lawsuit challenging Idaho Code § 18-622 (§ 18-622), which is set to go into effect on Aug. 25 and imposes a near-total ban on abortion.
The Department of Justice’s Press Release titled “Justice Department Sues Idaho to Protect Reproductive Rights: Complaint Alleges Idaho Law Violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act” summarizes Garland and Gupta’s statements:
The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that § 18-622 conflicts with, and is preempted by, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) in situations where an abortion is necessary stabilizing treatment for an emergency medical condition. The United States also seeks an order permanently enjoining the Idaho law to the extent it conflicts with EMTALA.
“On the day Roe and Casey were overturned, we promised that the Justice Department would work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “That is what we are doing, and that is what we will continue to do. We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law. And we will closely scrutinize state abortion laws to ensure that they comply with federal law.”
“Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Women should not have to be near death to get care. The Department of Health and Human Services will continue its work with the Department of Justice to enforce federal law protecting access to health care, including abortions.”
“One critical focus of the Reproductive Rights Task Force has been assessing the fast-changing landscape of state laws and evaluating potential legal responses to infringements on federal protections,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Today’s lawsuit against the State of Idaho for its near-absolute abortion ban is the first public example of this work in action. We know that these are frightening and uncertain times for pregnant women and their providers, and the Justice Department, through the Task Force’s work, is committed to doing everything we can to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”
EMTALA requires hospitals that receive federal Medicare funds to provide necessary stabilizing treatment to patients who arrive at their emergency departments while experiencing a medical emergency. When a physician reasonably determines that the necessary stabilizing treatment is an abortion, state law cannot prohibit the provision of that care. The statute defines necessary stabilizing treatment to include all treatment needed to ensure that a patient will not have her health placed in serious jeopardy, have her bodily functions seriously impaired, or suffer serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.
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