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Fla. Gov. Suspends Prosecutor Who Went Against Anti-Trans Proposal

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Tampa’s top prosecutor for refusing to enforce a ban on gender-affirming health care or on providing abortions 15 weeks into pregnancy.

An executive order signed Thursday immediately suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren. He appointed Judge Susan Lopez, who he just appointed to the bench in December, to fill his role.

“Prosecutors have a duty to enforce the law, not pick and choose which laws they agree with,” DeSantis said. “The State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, Andrew Warren, has instituted nonenforcement policies and has declared that he will refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like.”

Warren, a Democrat, last June was among prosecutors nationwide who signed a Fair and Prosecution joint statement promising to take no part in efforts “criminalize transgender people and gender-affirming healthcare across the country.”

“These blatantly unconstitutional attacks on some of the most vulnerable Americans will deeply harm public safety,” the statement read.

The Florida Legislature has declined to move on proposed legislation to prohibit doctors from providing gender-affirming care to minors but the Florida Department of Health has proposed rules banning such care and limiting coverage even for adults. 

Florida did pass a 15-week abortion ban that was signed into law by the governor, but that has not gone into effect to date. A judge in June temporarily blocked enforcement of the order for potentially violating a right to privacy in Florida’s state constitution. The state is appealing the decision.

Florida Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an out member of the Florida House, said the attack should be viewed as an attack on all Florida residents.

“It’s not just those seeking abortions DeSantis wants criminalized. He'll also seek the criminalization of the supportive parents of transgender youth,” Smith tweeted. “Parental rights in Florida is a total lie. He's taking our freedoms one group at a time and that should scare every Floridian.”

Ron DeSantis just suspended a state attorney, who was twice elected by Floridians, because he’s not willing to send women to prison for getting abortions. This administration is morphing into an authoritarian regime in plain sight.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, a Democrat challenging DeSantis for Governor, represents part of Tampa Bay and criticized Warren's suspension.

“The people of Hillsborough elected Andrew Warren not once, but twice, because of his commitment to safety and justice for all people. This action by Governor DeSantis is that of a wannabe dictator who puts partisan politics first,” Crist said in a statement. “He doesn't give a damn about women or average Floridians. It’s a flagrant abuse of power. If Governor DeSantis was truly worried about the people of Florida, he would focus on the affordability crisis that’s crushing our state and squeezing working families.”

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