abortion – Michmutters

Trump hires prominent Atlanta attorney for election probe

ATLANTA (AP) — Donald Trump has hired a prominent Atlanta criminal defense attorney known for defending famous rappers to represent him in matters related to the special grand jury that’s investigating whether the former president illegally tried to interfere with the 2020 election in Georgia.

Drew Findling’s clients have included Cardi B, Migos and Gucci Mane, as well as comedian Katt Williams. His Twitter bio of him includes the hashtag #BillionDollarLawyer and his Instagram feed of him is filled with photos of him posing with his well-known clients.

His most recent Instagram post, dated two days after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in late June, says his signature of him is committed to “fighting to restore a woman’s right to choose, which has been destroyed by the Supreme Court,” suggesting his personal views of him do n’t align with those of Trump’s Republican Party . I have offered to defend anyone charged under Georgia’s restrictive abortion law free of charge.

After Trump insulted basketball star LeBron James’s intelligence in an August 2018 tweet, Findling called Trump the “racist architect of fraudulent Trump University” in a tweet and ended the post with “POTUS pathetic once again!”

The Findling Law Firm said in a statement released Thursday that it has been hired, along with attorneys Jennifer Little and Dwight Thomas, to represent Trump.

Findling said in an emailed statement that he is a “passionate advocate against injustice” and will “strongly defend” Trump.

“I may differ politically from many of my clients, but that doesn’t change my commitment to defend against wrongful investigations,” Findling said. “In this case, the focus on President Trump in Fulton County, Georgia is clearly an erroneous and politically driven persecution and along with my office and co-counsel, I am fully committed to defend against this injustice.”

Little, a former prosecutor, said in an emailed statement that the attorneys were “handpicked” on Trump’s behalf and that “the composition of our team only adds to the integrity of his defense.”

“A politically diverse group of attorneys with differing perspectives have all come to the same conclusion — there have been no violations of Georgia law,” she said. “We as a team look forward to vigorously defending our client and the Constitution.”

Thomas said he has extensive past experience in special grand jury investigations and is serving as a consultant. Other lawyers who have clients who are connected to the investigation have also reached out to him, he said, but he declined to name them.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation early last year, and the special grand jury was seated in May at her request.

Willis has confirmed since the early days of the investigation that she’s interested in a January 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that conversation, Trump suggested Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss in the state.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said during that call. “Because we won the state.”

Willis last month filed petitions seeking to compel testimony before the special grand jury from seven Trump associates and advisers, including former New York mayor and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and US Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. And she has said that she is considering subpoenaing the former president himself.

In addition to representing high-profile musical artists and other entertainers, Findling successfully defended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill in a racketeering trial that threatened to end his law enforcement career. Hill was acquired in 2013 on 27 felony charges in an indictment that accused him of using his office for personal gain.

Findling is currently defending Hill against charges in a federal indictment accusing him of violating the civil rights of several people in his agency’s custody by ordering that they be unnecessarily strapped into a restraint chair and left there for hours.

He also defended Mitzi Bickers, a former Atlanta city official was the first person to go to trial in a long-running federal investigation into corruption at City Hall under former Mayor Kasim Reed. A jury earlier this year found Bickers guilty on charges including money laundering, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bribery. Findling said they plan to appeal.



Nebraska woman charged with helping daughter have abortion

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — A Nebraska woman has been charged with helping her teenage daughter end her pregnancy at about 24 weeks after investigators uncovered Facebook messages in which the two discussed using medication to induce an abortion and plans to burn the fetus afterward.

The prosecutor handling the case said it’s the first time he has charged anyone for illegally performing an abortion after 20 weeks, a restriction that was passed in 2010. Before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, states weren’t allowed to enforce abortion bans until the point at which a fetus is considered viable outside the womb, at roughly 24 weeks.

In one of the Facebook messages, Jessica Burgess, 41, tells her then 17-year-old daughter that she has obtained abortion pills for her and gives her instructions on how to take them to end the pregnancy.

The daughter, meanwhile, “talks about how she can’t wait to get the ‘thing’ out of her body,” a detective wrote in court documents. “I will finally be able to wear jeans,” she says in one of the messages. Law enforcement authorities obtained the messages with a search warrant, and detailed some of them in court documents.

In early June, the mother and daughter were only charged with a single felony for removing, concealing or abandoning a body, and two misdemeanors: concealing the death of another person and false reporting. It wasn’t until about a month later, after investigators reviewed the private Facebook messages, that they added the felony abortion-related charges against the mother. The daughter, who is now 18, is being charged as an adult at prosecutors’ request.

Burgess’ attorney didn’t immediately respond to a message Tuesday, and the public defender representing the daughter declined to comment.

When first interviewed, the two told investigators that the teen had unexpectedly given birth to a stillborn baby in the shower in the early morning hours of April 22. They said they put the fetus in a bag, placed it in a box in the back of their van, and later drove several miles north of town, where they buried the body with the help of a 22-year-old man.

The man, whom The Associated Press is not identifying because he has only been charged with a misdemeanor, has pleaded no contest to helping bury the fetus on rural land his parents own north of Norfolk in northeast Nebraska. He’s set to be sentenced later this month.

In court documents, the detective said the fetus showed signs of “thermal wounds” and that the man told investigators the mother and daughter did burn it. He also wrote that the daughter confirmed in the Facebook exchange with her mother that the two would “burn the evidence afterward.” Based on medical records, the fetus was more than 23 weeks old, the detective wrote.

Burgess later admitted to investigators to buy the abortion pills “for the purpose of instigating a miscarriage.”

At first, both mother and daughter said they didn’t remember the date when the stillbirth happened, but according to the detective, the daughter later confirmed the date by consulting her Facebook messages. After that he sought the warrant, he said.

Madison County Attorney Joseph Smith told the Lincoln Journal Star that he’s never filed charges like this related to performing an abortion illegally in his 32 years as the county prosecutor. He didn’t immediately respond to a message from the AP on Tuesday.

The group National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which supports abortion rights, found 1,331 arrests or detentions of women for crimes related to their pregnancy from 2006 to 2020.

In addition to its current 20-week abortion ban, Nebraska tried — but failed — earlier this year to pass a so-called trigger law that would have banned all abortions when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

A Facebook spokesman declined to talk about the details of this case, but the company has said that officials at the social media giant “always scrutinize every government request we receive to make sure it is legally valid.”

Facebook it will fight back against requests that it thinks are invalid or too broad says, but the company said it gave investigators information in about 88% of the 59,996 times when the government requested data in the second half of last year.



What to watch in Wis., 3 other states in Tuesday’s primaries

The Republican matchup in the Wisconsin governor’s race on Tuesday features competing candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump and his estranged vice president, Mike Pence. Democrats are picking a candidate to face two-term GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for control of the closely divided chamber.

Meanwhile, voters in Vermont are choosing a replacement for US Sen. patrick leahy as the chamber’s longest-serving member retires. In Minnesota, US Rep. Ilhan Omar faces a Democratic primary challenger who helped defeat a voter referendum to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety.

What to watch in Tuesday’s primary elections in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut:


Construction company co-owner Tim Michels has Trump’s endorsement in the governor’s race and has been spending millions of his own money, touting both the former president’s backing and his years working to build his family’s business into Wisconsin’s largest construction company. Michels casts himself as an outsider, although he previously lost a campaign to oust then-US Sen. Russ Feingold in 2004 and has long been a prominent GOP donor.

Establishment Republicans including Pence and former Gov. Scott Walker have endorsed former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefischwho along with Walker, survived a 2012 recall effort. She argues she has the experience and knowledge to pursue conservative priorities, including dismantling the bipartisan commission that runs elections.

With Senate control at stake, Democrats will also make their pick to take on Johnson. Democratic support coalesced around Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes beats in the race, when his three top rivals dropped out and threw their support to him. He would become the state’s first Black senator if elected.

Several lesser-known candidates remain in the primary, but Johnson and Republicans have treated Barnes as the nominee, casting him as too liberal for Wisconsin, a state Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020.

Four Democrats are also running in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, a seat that opened up with the retirement of veteran Democratic US Rep. Ron Kind. The district has been trending Republican, and Derrick Van Orden — who narrowly lost to Kind in 2020 and has Trump’s endorsement — is running unopposed.


Democratic Gov. Tim Walz faces a little-known opponent as he seeks a second term. His likely challenger is Republican Scott Jensena physician and former state lawmaker who has made vaccine skepticism a centerpiece of his campaign and faces token opposition.

Both men have been waging a virtual campaign for months, with Jensen attacking Walz for his management of the pandemic and hammering the governor for rising crime around Minneapolis. Walz has highlighted his own support of abortion rights and suggested that Jensen would be a threat to chip away at the procedure’s legality in Minnesota.

Crime has emerged as the biggest issue in Rep. Omar’s Democratic primary. She faces a challenge from former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels, who opposes the movement to defund the police and last year helped defeat efforts to replace the city’s police department. Omar, who supported the referendum, has a substantial money advantage and is expected to benefit from a strong grassroots operation.

The most confusing part of Tuesday’s ballot was for the 1st Congressional District seat that was held by US Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died earlier this year from cancer. Republican former state Rep. Brad Finstad and Democrat Jeff Ettinger, a former Hormel CEO, are simultaneously competing in primaries to determine the November matchup for the next two-year term representing the southern Minnesota district, as well as a special election to finish the last few months of Hagedorn’s term.


It’s been roughly three decades since Connecticut had a Republican in the US Senate, but the party isn’t giving up.

In the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthalthe party has endorsed former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides. She’s a social moderate who supports abortion rights and certain gun control measures and says she did not vote for Trump in 2020. Klarides contends her experience and positions can persuade voters to oppose Blumenthal, a two-term senator who in May registered a 45% job approval rating, his lowest in a Quinnipiac poll since taking office.

Klarides is being challenged by conservative attorney Peter Lumaj and Republican National Committee member Leora Levy, whom Trump endorsed last week. Both candidates oppose abortion rights and further gun restrictions, and they back Trump’s policies from him.


Leahy’s upcoming retirement has opened up two seats in Vermont’s tiny three-person congressional delegation — and the opportunity for the state to send a woman to represent it in Washington for the first time.

Democratic US Rep. Peter Welch, the state’s at-large congressman, quickly launched his Senate bid after Leahy revealed he was stepping down. Leahy, who is president pro tempore of the Senate, has been hospitalized a couple of times over the last two years, including after breaking his hip this summer.

Welch has been endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and is the odds-on favorite to win the seat in November. He faces two other Democrats in the primary: Isaac Evans-Frantz, an activist, and Dr. Niki Thran, an emergency physician.

On the Republican side, former US Attorney Christina Nolan, retired US Army officer Gerald Malloy and investment banker Myers Mermel are competing for the nomination.

The race to replace Welch has yielded Vermont’s first wide-open US House campaign since 2006.

Two women, including Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, are the top Democratic candidates in the race. Gray, elected in 2020 in her first political bid, is a lawyer and a former assistant state attorney general.

The winner of the Democratic primary will be the heavy favorite to win the general election in the liberal state. In 2018, Vermont became the last state without female representation in Congress when Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate.


Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; Doug Glass in Minneapolis; Susan Haigh in Hartford, Conn.; and Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vermont, contributed to this report.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP



GOP shrugs off Kansas abortion vote — but it got their attention

Republicans are not yet sweating the idea of ​​abortion issues swaying the midterm elections in favor of Democrats. But with Kansas voters decisively rejecting an anti-abortion ballot initiative, the room is getting warmer.

National GOP groups are brushing off the idea that the Kansas vote last week is a warning sign for November, confident that concerns about economic issues prevail as the driving force in the election.

“The economic mess Democrats created by ignoring their own economists and saddling Americans with record-high prices is the number one issue in every competitive district,” National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Michael McAdams said in a statement when asked about implications of the Kansas measure .

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which works to elect state and down-ballot Republicans, commissioned a poll in 15 states just after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization striking down national abortion rights and found that 56 percent of voters named the cost of living or the economy as their most important issue, while only 8 percent named abortion.

When asked about the Kansas vote in a Newsmax interview last week, RSLC President Dee Duncan said that the economy is what is going to drive Republican wins.

Below the surface, however, Republicans are keeping an eye on how the abortion issue is affecting voter behavior, and some see risks for their candidates.

“Republicans are right to be nervous about it. But I think we still need to see more of a breakdown on the vote on, you know, who the voters were that were turning out given the margin,” Doug Heye, a veteran Republican operative, said about the Kansas election.

“In the immediate aftermath, it’s hard to take absolute lessons from this that are takeaways to project towards November,” Heye said.

The Kansas vote was the first measure testing voter response on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and the margin of the vote in a state that is reliably Republican in presidential elections surprised many observers: 59 percent voted against changing the state constitution to allow for potential future abortion restrictions, and 41 percent voted for it.

High turnout indicated a lot of voter enthusiasm on the issue. Unofficial results from the Kansas secretary of State’s office as of Friday showed 919,809 votes on the amendment, marking the highest number of primary votes since at least 2010 and a nearly 45 percent increase from the 2020 primary.

GOP Rep. Nancy Mace (SC) has been vocal in opposing a proposal in her state that would ban abortions without any exceptions for rape and incest. Mace, a sexual assault survivor herself, encourages other Republicans to support abortion exceptions and make that known as the Kansas measure indicates voter enthusiasm.

“Most people… they don’t want abortion up until birth for any reason. On the other side, exceptions and having some grace period is acceptable to most people. Seventy-five percent of the country wants some guardrails, but they don’t want the extremities of both sides. And Kansas is just a great example, being a red state,” Mace said.

She said that the abortion issue is “still light-years behind inflation” in terms of the top issues in her district, but that it could make a difference.

“This is definitely a top one and could be a factor in, I guess, driving momentum at the ballot,” Mace said.

A July Gallup poll found that abortion was the top issue in driving people to protest, surging 25 percent since the last time Gallup tested the question 2018.

Strategists note that voter behavior on a single-issue ballot measure is different than voters choosing between two candidates with a variety of views, and that general election voters may be less motivated by social issues.

Pro-abortion rights voters are more likely to be a factor for Republicans running in swing districts or competitive statewide races.

Even before the Kansas vote, however, some GOP candidates started to moderate their messaging on abortion restrictions.

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jenson, a physician, indicated in a May radio interview that he would support abortion exceptions only for the life of the mother, and not in cases of rape of incest. But last month, he showed support for more exceptions in a video with Republican lieutenant governor candidate Matt Birk outlining a plan that proposed increasing adoption tax credits and creating a paid family leave plan.

“If I’ve been unclear previously, I want to be clear now: Rape and incest along with endangering the mother’s mental or physical health are acceptable exceptions,” Jensen said in the video.

Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, who in May told a reporter that a “baby deserves a right to life whether it is conceived in incest or rape,” in the aftermath of the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade has called the issue of abortion a “distraction” and argued that he is not the decision-maker on the issue.

“In many ways, my personal views are irrelevant in the effect that I can’t do anything with abortion because it’s codified in law,” Mastriano said in a recent radio interview.

“I think people should be as specific on that issue as they’re able to be, because if they’re not the Democrats are just going to try and lump them into some, you know, supposed extreme category,” said a Republican campaign consultant who requested anonymity to speak candidly. “If you’re in a district or a state where perhaps you’re on the wrong side of that issue, being more specific can be helpful.”

Republicans with hard-line stances on abortion bans remain prominent in the party overall.

In Indiana last week, a majority of state House Republicans voted to support banning abortions in cases of rape and incest, and around half voted in favor of removing exceptions for abortion in cases of fetal abnormalities. The exceptions remained in a near-total abortion ban bill due to support from Democrats.

Those pursuing abortion bans without exceptions could pose a risk for other candidates in the November election.

“Republicans should want the conversation to always be about those things that have driven Biden’s approval rating down, and that starts with inflation. That’s rising crime. That’s the situation at the border,” Heye said. “So when you have, you know, state legislatures or you know, ballot initiatives that take Republicans’ eye off the ball, that’s politically going to be a mistake.”



Florida prosecutor vows to fight Gov. DeSantis suspension

ST. PETERSURG, Fla. (AP) — A Florida prosecutor vowed Sunday to fight his suspension from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis over his promise of him not to enforce the state’s 15-week abortion ban and support for gender transition treatments for minors.

Andrew Warren, a Democrat suspended last week from his twice-elected post as state attorney in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, said in a Facebook video message and news release Sunday he plans a “vigorous defense” by his legal team but did not give specifics.

“I’m not going down without a fight,” Warren said on the video. “I refuse to let this man trample on your freedoms to speak your mind, to make your own health care decisions, and to have your vote count.”

Warren was suspended Thursday by DeSantis, a Republican seeking re-election in November and potential 2024 presidential candidate, who cited neglect of duty and other alleged violations. The governor contended that’s because Warren signed statements with dozens of other prosecutors nationwide vowing not to pursue criminal cases against people who seek or provide abortions or gender transition treatments.

Warren contended Sunday the governor was essentially seeking to nullify the will of voters in the Tampa area who elected him in 2016 and 2020.

“I was elected because the people of this county share my vision for criminal justice, trust my judgment, and have seen your success,” Warren said in the video. “I swore to uphold the Constitution, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. DeSantis is trying to take away my job for doing my job.”

Under Florida law, the Republican-controlled state Senate has authority to reinstate Warren or uphold his removal from office. Warren could also take his case to court.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Sunday. DeSantis said Thursday, however, that Warren was acting “above the law” and “displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform” the duties of his office.

“I don’t think the people of Hillsborough County want to have an agenda that is basically woke up, where you’re deciding that your view of social justice means certain laws shouldn’t be enforced,” said the governor.

Florida’s new abortion restriction became effective July 1 and remains under court challenge by abortion providers and allies. It prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, with exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life, prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow exemptions in cases where pregnancies were caused by rape, incest or human trafficking.

Violators could face up to five years in prison. Physicians and other medical professionals could lose their licenses and face administrative fines of $10,000 for each violation.

Florida has not enacted laws criminalizing gender transition treatments for minors.

DeSantis appointed Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez to serve in Warren’s place during his suspension.



Indiana lawmakers vote to keep exceptions from abortion ban

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A deeply divided Indiana House voted Thursday to keep exceptions in cases of rape or incest in a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in the state.

The Republican-dominated House voted 61-39 to defeat an amendment that would have removed those exceptions, with a majority of GOP members wanting their removal.

The House vote displayed a similar division among Republicans seen in the state Senate over exceptions for rape and incest, which remained in the bill when an attempt in the Senate last week also failed to strip those exceptions.

Republican Rep. Karen Engleman sponsored the amendment, arguing that even a child conceived in a rape or incest attack deserved a chance at life.

“The intentional ending of human life has no place in medical practice,” Engleman said.

The Indiana proposal follows a political firestorm over a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from neighboring Ohio to end a pregnancy. The case gained wide attention when an Indianapolis doctor said the child had to travel to Indiana because a new Ohio law bans abortions if cardiac activity can be detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy.

Democratic legislators questioned Engleman on whether that girl’s abortion would be prohibited if her amendment was adopted. Engleman, who said she had a child as an unmarried teenager, responded that doctors could still determine whether the pregnancy threatened the life of a young girl.

Republican leadership said earlier this week that they support exceptions in cases of rape and incest. Republican House Speaker Todd Huston and GOP Rep. Wendy McNamara of Evansville, who is sponsoring the bill in the House, both said Monday that they favored allowing those exceptions.

McNamara said Monday that the law needed to be “conscious of those people who experienced trauma in rape and incest situations.”

While 39 House Republicans voted Thursday to strip the rape or incest exceptions from the bill, 32 Republicans joined all 29 House Democrats in keeping them in the bill. With a likely unified Democratic opposition to the full bill, Republican opponents of the exceptions will have to vote in favor of the bill for its passage. That vote could come Friday.

The Republican-controlled state Senate narrowly passed its abortion ban Saturday, 26-20, securing the minimum 26 votes needed to send it on to the House.

The House on Thursday also rejected, largely on party lines, a Democratic proposal that called for placing a non-binding question on the statewide November election ballot: “Shall abortion remain legal in Indiana?”

The proposal came after Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected a measure that would have allowed the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten abortion restrictions or ban the procedure outright. The vote was the first test of voters’ feelings about abortion since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

McNamara spoke against the ballot question, pointing out that Indiana law doesn’t provide for statewide referendums. The only such statewide votes are on proposed constitutional amendments after they’ve been endorsed by two separately elected Legislatures.

Democratic Rep. Sue Errington of Muncie argued that Indiana voters want the chance to express their view on whether abortion should be legal.

“I don’t know if it will come out like it did in Kansas,” Errington said. “I hope it does, but I don’t have that guarantee.”

Last week, thousands of demonstrators on all sides of the abortion issue filled Statehouse corridors and sidewalks around the building as the Senate debated the bill. More than 100 people testified during an approximately nine-hour House committee hearing Tuesday. Only a handful of demonstrators watched Thursday’s debate from outside the chamber and in its gallery.

A House committee on Tuesday moved forward its version of the Senate-approved bill. The House bill would allow abortion exceptions for the physical health and life of the mother, as well as if a fetus is diagnosed with a lethal anomaly. It also adjusted the time frame when abortions would be permitted in cases of rape and incest.

The Senate voted to allow abortions up to 12 weeks post-fertilization for those under 16 and eight weeks for those 16 and older. The House version, instead, would create a blanket ban after 10 weeks post-fertilization on abortions in cases of rape and incest. Victims would also no longer be required to sign a notarized affidavit attesting to an attack.


Arleigh Rodgers is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/arleighrodgers



What Pro-Lifers Should Learn From Kansas

Peggy Noonan is an opinion columnist at the Wall Street Journal where her column, “Declarations,” has run since 2000.

She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2017. A political analyst for NBC News, she is the author of nine books on American politics, history and culture, from her most recent, “The Time of Our Lives,” to her first, “What I Saw at the Revolution.” She is one of ten historians and writers who contributed essays on the American presidency for the book, “Character Above All.” Noonan was a special assistant and speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan. In 2010 she was given the Award for Media Excellence by the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor; the following year she was chosen as Columnist of the Year by The Week. She has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, and has taught in the history department at Yale University.

Before entering the Reagan White House, Noonan was a producer and writer at CBS News in New York, and an adjunct professor of Journalism at New York University. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up there, in Massapequa Park, Long Island, and in Rutherford, New Jersey. She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford. She lives in New York City. In November, 2016 she was named one of the city’s Literary Lions by the New York Public Library.



Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Suspends State Attorney Andrew Warren for Defying Abortion Ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced he’s taken the extraordinary step of suspending Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren for refusing to enforce some of the state’s laws—including the recent 15-week abortion ban.

In a news conference in front of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies, the Republican governor said Warren has “put himself publicly above the law” by stating he will not enforce some of Florida’s most controversial laws.

“State Attorneys have a duty to prosecute crimes as defined in Florida law, not to pick and choose which laws to enforce based on his personal agenda,” DeSantis said on Thursday. “It is my duty to hold Florida’s elected officials to the highest standards for the people of Florida. I have the utmost trust that Judge Susan Lopez will lead the office through this transition and faithfully uphold the rule of law.”

In the executive order on Warren’s suspension, DeSantis claimed the chief prosecutor for the 13th Judicial Circuit was working to “nullify laws that were enacted by the people’s representatives” and actively refusing to enforce some state laws.

DeSantis noted that Warren, a Democrat, has expressed “in writing that he will not prosecute individuals who provide abortions in violation of Florida’s criminal laws to protect the life of the unborn child.”

At the press conference, several other local leaders expressed their frustration with Warren’s decision not to prosecute certain cases, including Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, who claimed the state attorney “seems intently focused on empathy for criminals and less interested in pursuing justice for crime victims. .”

“We have a governor that will defend us,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco added.

The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Florida’s first LGBTQ lawmaker, told The Daily Beast on Thursday that DeSantis’ decision to suspend Warren is “alarming.”

A vocal critic of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Smith explained that “it says it a lot that DeSantis just suspended a state attorney who was twice elected by Floridians just because he is not willing to send women—and doctors—who get abortions in prison.”

“This is an abuse of power to punish and retaliate anyone who goes against his extreme agenda,” Smith said. “What we are seeing is this administration morphing into an authoritarian regime. They are taking our freedoms one group at a time and should scare every Floridian.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to run against DeSantis, called Warren’s suspension “a politically motivated attack on a universally respected State Attorney democratically elected to exercise prosecutorial discretion.”

“Ron DeSantis is a pathetic bully,” Fried said in a Thursday statement.

Warren, who was re-elected to his position in 2020, has not been silent about his views on some of Florida’s most hot-button legal issues—from the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill to abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned last month.

“I’m disgusted to see the passage of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill,” Warren said in a March statement. “At the time when our state needs to unite to solve important problems, this bill fosters prejudice and hatred—and our society already has enough of both.”

Last month, Warren was among a group of prosecutors nationwide who signed a statement declining to go after people “who seek, provide, or support abortions.” The move came after DeSantis signed a bill in April restricting most abortions in the state after 15 weeks unless the pregnant woman is in a life-threatening situation.

Florida’s abortion law, which went into effect in July, does not have exceptions for incest, human trafficking, or rape. Warren was the only Florida prosecutor to sign the letter, which was organized by the group Fair and Just Prosecution.

“As I said before, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to defend the US & Florida Constitutions. Florida’s Constitution has a privacy right that clearly covers abortion. While Tallahassee tries to circumvent the law, I will uphold the law and protect our freedom,” Warren said in a June 30 tweet.

While Warren serves his suspension for an indefinite period, DeSantis has appointed Hillsborough County Judge Susan Lopez to take his post. Lopez was previously the assistant state attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit for over 15 years.

“I have the utmost respect for our state laws and I understand the important role that the State Attorney plays in ensuring the safety of our community and the enforcement of our laws,” Lopez said in a statement. “I want to thank the Governor for placing his trust in me, and I promise that I will faithfully execute the duties of this office.”

Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani said in a statement to The Daily Beast that Warren’s suspension is “a gross political attack on a duly elected State Attorney who has publicly stated that he would not follow along with Governor Ron DeSantis’ extreme anti-abortion and anti -LGBTQ+ agenda.”

“It’s also important to stress that there are currently no laws in Florida punishing pregnant people or trans parents, so what the Governor said today during his announcement is sensational and inaccurate,” she added. “But good to know that DeSantis thinks women should be arrested for ending their own pregnancies—that’s an important point for the voters to know too.”



Kansas voters uphold right to abortion in state constitution

For the first time since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving it to states to determine abortion access, the issue appeared on a state ballot. In Kansas, CBS News projects that a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion has been defeated.

The Kansas ballot initiative is seen as a bellwether for the impact of abortion on the midterm November elections.

Since the high court’s ruling ending the federal right to an abortion, at least 12 states have either banned abortion outright or after six weeks of pregnancy. Other states are also expected to move forward with further restrictions.

In Kansas, voters reaffirmed abortion is constitutionally protected, leaving in place a 2019 decision by the state Supreme Court. That ruling stated that a person has the right to personal autonomy and applied strict scrutiny to regulate abortion. The Kansas legislature would not be able to ban or enact further restrictions on abortion without a constitutional amendment.

Election 2022-Kansas-Abortion
In this photo from Thursday, July 14, 2022, a sign in a yard in Merriam, Kansas, urges voters to oppose a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to allow legislators to further restrict or ban abortion. Opponents of the measure believe it will lead to a ban on abortion in Kansas.

John Hanna/AP

“Kansans stood up for fundamental rights today. We rejected divisive legislation that jeopardized our economic future & put women’s health care access at risk,” tweeted Kansas’ Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. “Together, we’ll continue to make incredible strides to make KS the best state in the nation to live freely & do business.”

President Biden issued a statement saying in part that, “This vote makes clear what we know: the majority of Americans agree that women should have access to abortion and should have the right to make their own health care decisions. Congress should listen to the will of the American people and restore the protections of Roe as federal law.”

The “Value Them Both” Amendment made it onto the Aug. 2 primary ballot after being passed in the Republican-controlled state legislature with two-thirds of the vote in both chambers in 2021.

“While the outcome is not what we hoped for, our movement and campaign have proven our resolve and commitment. We will not abandon women and babies,” said the Value Them Both Coalition, which supported the amendment, in a statement. The group went on to call the outcome a “temporary setback.”

While passage of the amendment would not have directly banned abortion in the state, legal experts said it would have paved the way for the state legislature, where Republicans hold a super majority, to ban abortion.

“Under the language of the amendment, it would be possible to adopt a total ban on abortion from the point of conception until birth, with no exceptions for rape, incest or the life or health of the mother,” said Richard Levy, a professor of law at the University of Kansas.

Leading up to the primary, groups for and against the amendment were engaged in an aggressive campaign to reach voters, knocking on doors, phone banking and holding rallies. Nearly $13 million was spent on ads in the state on the issue of abortion ahead of the vote, according to AdImpact.

“This historic victory was the result of a groundswell of grassroots support and a broad coalition of reasonable, thoughtful Kansans across the state who put health care over politics,” said Emily Wales, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes, of the amendment’s defeat. “We have seen the devastation caused by a loss of access to abortion in neighboring states and tonight, Kansans saw through the deception of anti-abortion interests to ensure people in their state retained their rights.”

Although this was an off-year primary, where turnout is generally very low — in past recent elections less than a third of voters turned out to cast their ballots — Kansas’ early voting emerged ahead of the Aug. 2 primary, suggesting voters were highly motivated by the issue of abortion.

Unofficial results Tuesday night from the Kansas Secretary of State’s office showed more than 781,500 people voted on the amendment in the state. With 90% of the vote counted as of 11:45 pm Tuesday, “No” led with 60.4% to “Yes” at 39.6%

Overall, party officials and politicians are keeping a close eye on how the overturning of Roe v. Wade could galvanize voters ahead of the midterms. According to the CBS News Battleground Tracker, abortion is as an important an issue as the economy and inflation to women under 50. More than two-thirds of women under 50 describe the Republican party as “extreme.” But Democrats appear to be disappointed with how their party is handling the issue of abortion. Fifty-nine percent said their party was not doing enough to protect access, whereas the majority of Republicans believe their party is taking the right approach on abortion.

Kansas is the first state in a handful in which voters will have their say on abortion rights in the midterms. Similar measures to the Kansas effort are on the ballots in Kentucky and Montana, while initiatives adding abortion protections to the state constitutions are on the ballots in California and Vermont. Efforts to amend the constitution to protect the right to an aborotion in Michigan are also underway.



Biden issues second executive order to protect abortion access

President Biden on Wednesday issued an executive order to protect people’s ability to travel out of state to access abortion.

The big pictures: This is the second executive order the president has issued to preserve abortion access after the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

State of play: Biden signed the executive order during the first meeting of the White House’s Task Force on Reproductive Health Care, which is focused on coordinating the federal government’s efforts on reproductive health.

Details: The executive order directs the Department of Health and Human Services to “consider action to advance access” to reproductive health services, including through Medicaid for patients who travel out of state.

  • Biden is also asking HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to consider “all appropriate actions” to ensure that health providers follow federal nondiscrimination laws so that people can “receive medically necessary care without delay.”
  • Becerra must also “evaluate and improve research, data collection, and data analysis efforts” on maternal health.

What he’s saying: Biden said this executive order will respond to “the health care crisis that has unfolded since the Supreme Court overturned Roe and that women are facing all across America.”

  • The order will “help safeguard access to health care, including the right to choose and contraception. [It] promotes safety and security of clinics, patients and providers, and protect patients’ privacy and access to accurate information.”
  • “I believe Roe got it right. It’s been the law for close to 50 years. And I committed to the American people that we are doing everything in our power safeguard access to health care, including the right to choose that women had under Roe v Wade, which was ripped away by this extreme court.”

Zoom out: Although the Biden administration has taken several steps to respond to the Supreme Court ruling, the executive branch’s role when it comes to protecting abortion care is limited without congressional action.

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