Biden condemns Florida court’s ‘extreme decision’ to allow six-week abortion ban – live | US politics


Biden condemns Florida court’s ‘extreme decision’ that will allow six-week abortion ban to take effect

Joe Biden decried yesterday’s Florida court ruling that sets the stage for the state’s six-week abortion ban to take effect, calling it “outrageous” and warning women’s health will suffer.

“Yesterday’s extreme decision puts desperately needed medical care even further out of reach for millions of women in Florida and across the South,” Biden said. “The Court not only upheld Florida’s current ban on women being able to make their own reproductive choices, it will likely trigger Governor DeSantis’ even more extreme law that would prevent women from accessing care before many even know they are pregnant. It is outrageous.”

He continued:

Florida’s bans – like those put forward by Republican elected officials across the country – are putting the health and lives of millions of women at risk. These extreme laws take away women’s freedom to make their own health care decisions and threaten physicians with jail time simply for providing the medical care that they were trained to provide.

Key events

Top House Democrat Hakeem Jeffries calls Florida ‘ground zero’ in fight for abortion access

Democratic House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries said Florida is “ground zero” in the fight for reproductive rights, after the state supreme court allowed a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy to go into effect, while also green-lighting a ballot initiative to protect access to the procedure:

House Minority Leader Jeffries (D-NY) on Florida Supreme Court abortion ruling:

“Florida is now ground zero in the fight to protect a woman’s freedom to make her own reproductive health care decisions. As House Democrats … we stand with you to protect reproductive freedom.” pic.twitter.com/uI8oU1EDK0

— The Recount (@therecount) April 2, 2024

Congress is on recess right now, with lawmakers spread across the country, but Jeffries and other lawmakers are holding a special hearing in Florida’s Broward county to focus public attention on how the court ruling will affect abortion rights. Democrats are hoping that the ballot initiative will help them win congressional seats in the state in November – and perhaps even help Joe Biden carry Florida, which would greatly increase his chances of winning another term in the White House.

Top House Democrats have convened in Florida’s Broward county for a committee hearing intended to focus attention on how the state’s impending six-week abortion ban will affect women and families.

Here’s congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents the area:

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) opens a field hearing in Florida after the state Supreme Court allowed a 6-week ban to take effect in May:

“This will impact not only millions of women in the Sunshine State, but millions more across the South who … look to Florida.” pic.twitter.com/atT66fA9nJ

— The Recount (@therecount) April 2, 2024

In other legal news yesterday, a federal judge rejected an attempt by the president’s son Hunter Biden to have tax charges against him dismissed. Here’s more on what that means, from the Guardian’s Martin Pengelly:

Hunter Biden’s lawyer promised to continue “vigorously” contesting federal tax charges against the president’s son after a California judge rejected an attempt to dismiss them.

“We strongly disagree with the court’s decision and will continue to vigorously pursue Mr Biden’s challenges to the abnormal way the special counsel handled this investigation and charged this case,” Abbe Lowell said, after the judge’s decision.

After a plea agreement to avoid charges fell apart last year, the special counsel, David Weiss, charged Biden nine times, accusing him of evading $1.4m in taxes. Biden pleaded not guilty. He also pleaded not guilty to criminal charges for allegedly lying about addiction issues when purchasing a gun.

Weiss was appointed US attorney for Delaware by Donald Trump, then made a special counsel by Merrick Garland, the US attorney general appointed by Joe Biden.

Hunter Biden has long been the subject of Republican attempts to establish corruption involving his father, culminating in an impeachment effort which after a series of chaotic hearings appears unlikely to succeed.

The president’s son argues that the charges against him are politically motivated, arising from Republican pressure on Weiss. The special counsel rejects such claims.

Here’s more from the Guardian’s Carter Sherman on just what exactly the Florida supreme court decided yesterday, and how it will upend abortion access in the state:

Florida residents will get the chance to vote on a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution, the Florida state supreme court ruled on Monday, teeing up a dramatic electoral showdown over abortion access in a state that has become a haven for women fleeing southern abortion bans.

The decision is a victory for abortion rights activists – but one that was significantly tempered by a second decision also issued on Monday, in which the state supreme court ruled to uphold Florida’s 15-week abortion ban. That decision paves the way for a separate six-week abortion ban – passed in 2023 but on hold pending the outcome of the case over the 15-week ban – to take effect.

The six-week ban will take effect in 30 days.

Biden campaign manager sees opportunity in Florida after abortion ruling

Florida voters haven’t given the state’s electoral votes to a Democrat since Barack Obama’s re-election victory in 2012. But after the state supreme court ruling yesterday allowing a six-week abortion ban passed by its Republican lawmakers to go into effect, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, the Biden-Harris campaign manager, said the president has a shot at winning the Sunshine state in November.

“We are entering the general election with multiple pathways to 270 electoral votes – something Team Trump is not afforded. That includes investing in Florida as a pathway to victory: a state where President Biden has a compelling story of results, Trump and [Republican US senator] Rick Scott’s extreme agenda is making Floridians’ lives worse, and the Democratic coalition is growing and energized,” she wrote in a memo.

Beyond outrage over the abortion ban, Chavez Rodriguez noted Florida’s top court also allowed a ballot initiative to protect access to the procedure to appear on the November ballot, potentially giving Democrats an opportunity to fire up their voters:

With an abortion amendment officially on the ballot this November in Florida, President Biden and Vice President Harris and their commitment to fighting back against Donald Trump and Rick Scott’s attacks on reproductive freedom will help mobilize and expand the electorate in the state, given the overwhelming majority of Floridians support abortion rights. And Florida Republicans will be forced to defend their cruel, indefensible support of this abortion ban.

Biden condemns Florida court’s ‘extreme decision’ that will allow six-week abortion ban to take effect

Joe Biden decried yesterday’s Florida court ruling that sets the stage for the state’s six-week abortion ban to take effect, calling it “outrageous” and warning women’s health will suffer.

“Yesterday’s extreme decision puts desperately needed medical care even further out of reach for millions of women in Florida and across the South,” Biden said. “The Court not only upheld Florida’s current ban on women being able to make their own reproductive choices, it will likely trigger Governor DeSantis’ even more extreme law that would prevent women from accessing care before many even know they are pregnant. It is outrageous.”

He continued:

Florida’s bans – like those put forward by Republican elected officials across the country – are putting the health and lives of millions of women at risk. These extreme laws take away women’s freedom to make their own health care decisions and threaten physicians with jail time simply for providing the medical care that they were trained to provide.

Democrats look to turn up heat on GOP after Florida court authorizes six-week abortion ban

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Democrats have not had much luck in Florida lately, where its status as a swing state has been eroded by years of Republican victories. And the GOP once again got their way yesterday when a court allowed a six-week abortion ban signed by governor Ron DeSantis to take effect in 30 days. But voters in many states, even those otherwise hostile to Democrats, have signaled that they are not on board with efforts to tighten access to the procedure, and today, Joe Biden’s campaign and its allies are seizing on the Florida ruling to argue it is a sign of what Donald Trump would do if returned to the White House and perhaps regain some momentum in Florida. At 10am ET, Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic House minority leader, Xavier Becerra, the health and human services secretary, and other lawmakers will hold a hearing in Broward county on threats to productive freedom, while the Biden-Harris campaign is convening a call between reporters and North Carolina governor Roy Cooper to elaborate on the message.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump will hold two rallies today in swing states Michigan and Wisconsin, where he’s expected to hammer Biden over immigration policy – reliably fertile ground for Republicans. The former president has voiced support for banning abortion, but at 15 weeks of pregnancy, and we’ll see if he weighs in on the decision in Florida.

Here’s what else is going on today:

  • Israel has expressed “sincere sorrow” over the deaths of seven aid workers in Gaza, which killed nationals of the UK, US, Australia, Poland and Palestine. Follow our live blog for the latest on this story.

  • A slew of states are holding primaries today, including Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York, while Arkansas and Mississippi will hold primary run offs. Trump and Biden both already have the delegates they need to win their parties’ nominations.

  • The White House press briefing takes place at 1.30pm.





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