Lawyers in Florida recently asked the state Supreme Court to remove a pro-abortion amendment from the ballot, arguing that voters in the Sunshine State won’t realize how far the measure would expand access to abortion.
The justices on the Florida High Court disagreed with the attorneys’ belief that the abortion-rights measure would expand the procedure, saying it is an effort to prevent the state from restricting most abortions.
“This is a wolf coming as a wolf,” Chief Justice Carlos Muniz, one of the five members appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to serve on the state Supreme Court, said. “The people of Florida aren’t stupid. They can figure it out.”
The proposed abortion-related amendment states that “no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s healthcare provider.”
The proposal would provide one exception, already mentioned in the state Constitution, which says parents must be notified when their children obtain an abortion.
Attorneys on behalf of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the religious freedom organization Liberty Counsel told the justices that the measure would ban restrictions against the procedure.
Lawyers trying to keep an abortion-rights measure off the Florida ballot told the state Supreme Court that the proposed amendment is deceptive and that voters won't realize just how far it will expand access to the procedure. https://t.co/KnyL1lbnL0 https://t.co/sI0koYS837
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) February 8, 2024
“The state of Florida through the Legislature, through the executive and also through the courts will have the ability to protect women or regulate any aspect of abortion,” the chairman of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver, told reporters. “It is a free-for-all. It’s total deregulation of abortion, which is frankly deceptive.”
Individuals supporting the abortion amendment claimed that the language of the ballot summary and the proposal were concise and attacked Moody for being political instead of letting voters decide on the issue.
“The language of the summary and the amendment are clear and unambiguous,” a lawyer for Floridians Protecting Freedom, Courtney Brewer, told reporters. “Florida voters will be able to understand that and I am confident based on the court’s questioning today that they understand that as well.”
Floridians Protecting Freedom garnered nearly 1 million voter signatures, exceeding the requirement of 891,523 to make the ballot. Florida’s Supreme Court said its role is not to modify the proposed amendment but to ensure that it is focused on a specific subject and whether voters will understand what they’re voting on.