Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has suspended a two-time attorney general for his refusal to prosecute abortion providers, doctors and families who provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth and trans people who use gender-conforming bathrooms.
At a news conference surrounded by law enforcement on Aug. 4, the governor also accused 13th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Andrew Warren of failing to prosecute people accused of crimes to the fullest extent of his authority, echoing what the governor called “incompetence and deliberate disregard of his duties”.
Mr. Warren was among more than 100 prosecutors and officials from across the US who pledged not to prosecute abortion providers and abortion patients after the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the constitutional right to abortion on June 24. states poised to enact anti-abortion laws that criminalize abortion care.
Florida’s anti-abortion law prohibits the procedure in the 15th week of pregnancy and makes no exception for rape or incest.
Mr. Warren has too signed another pledge to use “discretion and not promote the criminalization of gender-affirming or transgender health care.”
There are no current Florida laws that criminalize gender-affirming or transgender or pregnant care.
The Florida Board of Medicine is expected to push debunked guidelines to deny gender-affirming care to transgender youth in the state.
The administration — which also relied on false reports to justify banning Medicaid coverage for transgender minors of any age — called on the state’s health department to ignore federal health guidelines and advise against any gender-affirming care for transgender people. minors in the state. including measures of social transition such as changing pronouns or wearing different clothes.
Florida’s education commissioner also told state schools Thursday to ignore federal anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT+ students; and accused federal agencies of imposing “sexual ideology” on Florida schools “that endangers the health, safety and welfare of Florida’s students.”
Mr. Warren also called a new state law being pushed by Mr. DeSantis that imposes stiff criminal penalties for crimes committed during a protest an “attack on our democracy.” A federal judge has temporarily frozen that law.
The independent sought comment from Mr. Warren’s office.
The governor’s announcement — previewed by his press secretary Christina Pushaw as the “liberal media meltdown of the year” — was quickly condemned by state officials and abortion rights and LGBT+ advocates.
Democratic State Representative Fentrice Driskell, leader of Florida’s House of Representatives, called Mr. Warren’s suspension a “shocking political attack on an elected official who serves the people of Hillsborough County” that has thrown the county’s criminal justice system into turmoil. “unnecessary chaos and confusion”.
“Each county attorney uses discretion in handling cases in their communities,” she said in a statement. “Andrew Warren has operated fully within the proper discretion of his office, and if the people of Hillsborough County don’t like what he’s doing, then we can make our voices heard at the ballot box. We didn’t need the Governor coming down from Tallahassee to punish someone he considers a political enemy.”
Ms. Driskell also accused the governor of selectively enforcing the state law after his administration told school districts to ignore federal anti-discrimination laws and courts struck down the administration and GOP lawmakers for violations of the Voting Rights Act .
“Clearly this is not a government of laws, this is the Kingdom of Ron De Sandys and no dissent is tolerated,” he said.
Minority Leader Sen. Lauren Book also accused the governor of “behaving more like a dictator than ‘America’s governor.’
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is running against Mr. DeSantis as the Democratic nominee in the governor’s race, called Mr. Warren’s suspension “a politically motivated attack on a widely respected state attorney who has been democratically elected to prosecute discretion”.