As in many other states, pro-choice advocates are working to make sure abortion is legal in Florida for future generations. But they’re facing stiff legal opposition from their own attorney general. Here is the full story.
Punting the Abortion Ball
When the United States overturned Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022, they threw decisions about abortion rights back to the individual states.
A Deep Divide
Since then, lawmakers across the country have divided along the lines that many expected. Conservatives are pushing for an end to abortion in their states, while more liberal politicians are trying to keep abortion legal.
Ohio Leading the Way
In some states, voters will get to make the call sooner rather than later. In Ohio, for example, Buckeyes will decide during the November 2023 elections on whether or not to write abortion rights into the state constitution.
Conservatives Pushing Their Agenda
In the most conservative of states, though, top-of-the-food chain politicians have worked feverishly to push through strict anti-abortion laws.
Florida Takes Hard Line
Florida Governor Rick DeSantis, for example, recently signed off on a bill that would ban all abortions after the six-week mark of a pregnancy.
More Strict Than Ever
That would be an even more strict version of the law that Florida legislators passed last year that drew a line in the sand at 15 weeks.
Changes on Hold
But that 15-week law is facing a constitutional challenge in the state’s court system. So that means tightening the statute even further, to 6 weeks, will have to wait awhile.
They Want to Guarantee Abortions
Meanwhile, Florida pro-choice advocates are moving ahead with their own agenda. Like in Ohio, their end goal is to pass an amendment to the constitution that would guarantee women access to abortions without fear of changes from administration to administration.
A Heavy Burden
Floridians Protecting Freedom have made big strides in their efforts to this point, too. The first barrier for submitting their petition to the state was to collect 200,000 signatures.
They Passed With Flying Colors
By early October, the pro-choicers had soared past that total with more than 400,000 signatures collected.
Almost Ready for Prime Time
That achievement allowed them to get their proposed ballot proposal in front of the state supreme court, who would need to approve the language that ultimately goes before voters.
Still Work to Be Done
Beyond that court approval, the group would also need to clear a total of nearly 900,000 total signatures by January.
Top Lawyer Is Opposed
But if Florida’s attorney general has anything to say about the matter, they may never get that far.
She Wants to Kill the Abortion Rights
On October 9, Ashley Moody filed a motion not only to have the supreme court review the wording but to strike down the movement altogether.
Citing Legal Grounds
According to Moody, “I submit that the aforementioned initiative does not satisfy the legal requirements for ballot placement.”
Just Not Clear Enough
The courts can reject a ballot measure if the wording is not clear or if it tries to fold an unrelated issue in with the main topic.
It’s Nothing Personal
Moody said that her objection to the abortion measure has nothing to do with her personal beliefs. Instead, she says, she only objects to initiatives if the summary might mislead voters.
She Says Voters Are Too Dumb
In this case, she specifically objects to the term “viability,” which she says is rife with the chance to misunderstand.
Quick Decisions Ahead
The Florida supreme court is set to hear both sides of the case in November of 2023. If the measure passes, voters will decide on the amendment in 2024.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.