Governor Ron DeSantis announced his latest medical freedom initiative called “Prescribe Freedom” during his Tuesday press conference. Prescribe Freedom will make “permanent in Florida statute” many of the measures DeSantis has already put in place to protect the freedoms of citizens in the state. The “biomedical security state” became reality with the pandemic, but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has consistently taken a stand against it. DeSantis and his Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, have partnered to prioritize medical freedom, making the state one of the freest in the country. This latest initiative seeks to permanently prohibit mandates throughout the state for masks and other more specific prohibitions for masks and COVID-19 vaccines in schools and the workplace.

The press release from DeSantis’s office states:

“When the world lost its mind, Florida was a refuge of sanity, serving strongly as freedom’s linchpin. These measures will ensure Florida remains this way and will provide landmark protections for free speech for medical practitioners.”

What is the Prescribe Freedom Initiative?

“Prescribe Freedom” will make permanent several important medical freedom protections that prevent, among other things, discrimination against those who do not wear masks or refuse to get the mRNA jab. The legislative proposal will also permanently protect freedom of speech and religion for medical professionals and the public. California has purposefully sprinted in the opposite direction with the passing of a “misinformation bill” that restricts the speech of medical professionals and seeks to penalize them if they dare to openly buck the prevailing narrative.

DeSantis wants to ensure that medical professionals and Floridians have the freedom “to disagree with the preferred narrative of the medical community.” Per the promotional flyer below, the measures permanently prohibit mandates for mRNA jabs and masks in schools and permanently prohibit vaccine passports in Florida. In addition, it will ensure employers in the state cannot hire or fire based on vaccination status permanently.

Prescribe Freedom/DeSantis/Jan. 17, 2022

It is truly remarkable and almost unprecedented that we have arrived at the point where programs like Prescribe Freedom have become necessary, but here we are. In Tuesday’s speech, DeSantis spoke about his hard-won fight with the almost overwhelming powers of the security state.

“We are the free state of Florida, and I have embraced that. But I’ll tell you, being in the Free State of Florida did not happen by accident because it required us over these last few years to stand against major institutions in our society, the bureaucracy, the medical establishment, legacy media, and even the President of the United States. Who together were working to impose a biomedical security state on society. They had a lot of momentum, they brought a lot of power to these fights, and they would have won except for the fact. Florida said ‘no.'”

DeSantis Has Been on the Forefront of Medical Freedom

DeSantis reminded his audience that he had instituted many firsts in Florida. Some of the reforms were temporary, which is one reason he advocates for permanent legislation. One such temporary measure was extended in February 2022 but expires in June 2023. Senate Bill 7014 extended a bill that made it “harder to sue healthcare providers in COVID-19 cases.” DeSantis was also one of the few governors to call for access to life-saving monoclonal antibodies when the Biden administration throttled their distribution in January 2022.

Florida has passed bills to ban mandates in the workplace and “prohibit schools from preschool all the way through our universities from requiring COVID shots for students,” said DeSantis. The mandated masking of students in K-12 schools is also prohibited by law in Florida. DeSantis signed legislation against vaccine passports in the spring of 2021. The governor also “kneecapped” mask mandates imposed by local governments and granted clemency to all Floridians who were penalized. While some counties were more permissive about mask-wearing, others like Broward were more authoritarian, thus requiring state-wide measures from the governor’s office. The medical free speech protections articulated by DeSantis and Ladapo were put on the legislative floor last session but did not pass. DeSantis says he has “already spoken with legislators” who have agreed to pass the bill in 2023.

DeSantis explained that his commitment to permanent protections comes in part from the fact that many places in the U.S. are still pushing mask requirements and mRNA shots. The politicization of the issues surrounding COVID-19 continues to be an issue for many communities, materially affecting constitutional freedoms. He said we have moved away from evidence-based medical decisions in favor of politics and “ideology.” To that point, DeSantis reiterated how wrong many of the officials have been about so many of the COVID-19 measures:

“So, if you think about our medical establishment from Fauci on down over the last three years. You know they were wrong about lockdowns. They were wrong about mask mandates. They were wrong about school closures. They were wrong about mRNA shots. They were wrong about VAX passports and VAX mandates, and really on and on it goes.”

DeSantis’ concerns about neverending mandates are not unwarranted. The Biden administration recently extended its COVID-19 Public Health Emergency even though there is little evidence of an ongoing or pervasive COVID-19 crisis. It is the 12th extension since Alex Azar announced the first one in January 2020. And, just yesterday, the Biden administration defended its fight to maintain a mask mandate for airlines. According to Fox News, “The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on Tuesday from the Biden Justice Department on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to reinstate a mask mandate for air travel after a federal judge in Florida struck down the mandate last April.”

Ladapo/Press Conference

Dr. Ladapo added levity to the press conference, calling out just how ridiculous, unnecessary, and sometimes dangerous the mandates have been. Calling some of the continuing mandates “lunacy,” Ladapo thanked the governor for holding a perspective of “common sense and sensibility.” He also strongly endorsed DeSantis’s courageous approach to keeping Floridians safe and free during the pandemic. “I’m happy that we have a lot of consensus around this new legislation to really codify more common sense in Florida, and I mean honestly, I can’t thank the governor enough because there’s no other state that’s doing anything like this, and really, this is important.”

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