Governor Ron DeSantis is “pro-life” when it comes to abortion.  He even signed two briefs asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning established law that protects a woman’s right to chose.

A July 29 article in The Miami Herald makes the point clearly. The Florida governor joined an effort challenging two of the most important abortion decisions.

“In a Thursday brief, DeSantis, along with 10 other Republican governors, argued the Supreme Court should reconsider past decisions on the 1973 case Roe v. Wade and the 1992 case Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey. Roe established the constitutional right to an abortion nationally, and Casey reaffirmed that right while making it easier for states to legally pass some abortion regulations.

“If the Supreme Court, which currently has a 6-3 conservative majority, were to overturn those cases, abortion law could be left up to individual states — which could then choose to ban the procedure or regulate it in a way not legal under current Supreme Court precedent.”

We must protect the life of the unborn, DeSantis argues. Meanwhile, a day later, he gambles with the lives of the rest of us. That’s when the governor “signed an executive order…to “protect parents’ freedom to choose whether their children wear masks in schools,’ CBS News reported.

CBS News continued, “The federal government has no right to tell parents that in order for their kids to attend school in person, they must be forced to wear a mask all day, every day,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children.”

Note DeSantis justified his action by calling it “prudent.” Is it prudent to let people enter confined spaces unmasked while more than 100 Floridians a day are dying from Covid-19? Is it prudent to limit our options to protect ourselves from the rapidly spreading Delta variant just as it has taken control of all 67 Sunshine State counties? Is it prudent to let children potentially spread the virus in school just as infections among the young are spiking?

DeSantis claims to be a conservative. When it comes to matters of life and death, I think a true conservative would decide to “First, do no harm.” When dealing with a virus that has killed more than 600,000 Americans, and more than 4 million people worldwide, doing no harm means advocating vaccinations for all who are eligible. It also means requiring people who enter indoor spaces to wear masks, experts tell us.

British researchers on Friday warned that vaccination “alone won’t stop the rise of new variants and in fact could push the evolution of strains that evade their protection,” according to CNN. “They said people need to wear masks and take other steps to prevent spread until almost everyone in a population has been vaccinated.”

This research is consistent with warnings coming from other health and medical experts, including the Centers for Disease Control, which on Tuesday updated its guidelines on mask-wearing. According to NPR, “the agency is now recommending that some fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they live in areas with a significant or high spread.

“Currently, much of the country falls into that category — with the exception of the Northeast and parts of the Upper Midwest. The CDC provides this link if you want to see the area of spread in the county where you live.”

But what about schools? This is what the CDC recommends, not orders: “In addition, the agency recommends that all teachers, staff, and students of K-12 schools wear masks, even if they are vaccinated. As the delta variant spreads, particularly in areas where vaccination rates are low, kids remain unprotected against the virus. The vaccines are not authorized for children under 12, and many teenagers have yet to get vaccinated. “

Note the word recommends. The CDC is a federal agency that works to protect our health. The experts there are sharing their best advice with us which is based on the information they have on a new virus that continues to mutate. But Gov. DeSantis wants to play word games. He insists the federal government should not mandate mask-wearing, and should not force poor, innocent children to wear masks in schools.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC, and experts around the nation agree that state and local governments have the legal authority and moral responsibility to act to protect life. Again, note the important distinction that demagogue DeSantis blurs: State and local governments have the decision-making legal authority, not the federal government.

But DeSantis won’t act to protect life for the masses. In his Friday executive order, he even threatens to pull money from school districts that require students and school personnel to wear masks when the new school year starts soon.

Our supposedly “pro-life” governor ought to consider these words as he continues to play a high-stakes political game of life and death:

The New York Times reported that “By Friday, government documents leaked to the media had painted a grim picture of the Delta variant as more contagious, more likely to cause severe illness, and more able to break through vaccines than other known versions of the virus. One document said officials must recognize that “the war has changed.

The Times continued, “This virus is in the driver’s seat and we are chasing it,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington and former C.D.C. scientist. “The only way we stay ahead of it is through vaccination and wearing a mask. If we don’t, we will always be catching up.”

DeSantis claims he wants to save the unborn. But he is willing to bet that the Delta variant will subside just as the school year begins. He is also willing to gamble that more dangerous mutations won’t be coming our way next. I don’t want a gambling man in the governor’s mansion. It’s dangerous. We need someone to protect us, not throw down the dice to see how they roll.

But DeSantis thinks he knows better. Like a gambling addict, he feels he is on a winning streak. “My wife and I are not going to do the mask with the kids. We never have, we won’t. I want to see my kids smiling. I want them having fun,” he said, according to CNN.

Maybe DeSantis should put down his dice long enough to read the Twitter account of Jared Moskowitz, who until April 30 helped the administration implement its Covid-19 response. The former director of the state’s Emergency Management department pinned this tweet to the top of his page.


Jared MASKowitz 

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 @JaredEMoskowitz

MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS MASKS

June 30th 2020

2,148 Retweets9,924 Likes

What follows is a response to my opinion piece from Christina Pushaw, the press secretary in the Executive Office of the Governor:

Governor DeSantis has always been a leading advocate for individual rights and liberties. As a father of three young children, he feels strongly that parents know their children best and have their kids’ interests at heart, so every parent should be free to make the decisions that are right for their own kids. Some parents will choose to mask their children if they are more comfortable doing that, but others will follow the science and data that shows masking can do more harm than good for many kids. Masking can be detrimental to speech and language learning, social and emotional development, mental health and well-being, and more. Kids with special needs, sensory issues, and English Language Learners are just some of the groups that have really struggled under district mask requirements.

School districts and governments — local, state, or federal — must not infringe on parents’ rights to choose what is best for their children. Governor DeSantis signed this executive order to protect the rights of Florida’s families from government overreach.

The push to mask children is not based in science or empirical data. In Florida last year, we never had a statewide mask mandate, but some school districts did require masks. Those districts with mask mandates didn’t do any better than the districts where masks were optional last year. A study from Brown University confirmed this in Florida and other states: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.19.21257467v1

Research has demonstrated that schools are not a major source of COVID spread in communities. Moreover, COVID is not a serious risk to children, as Johns Hopkins doctor Marty Makary has found from wide-ranging scientific studies: https://thefederalist.com/2021/07/21/johns-hopkins-study-found-zero-covid-deaths-among-healthy-kids/

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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