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Don't allow voters to decide on amending Constitution for abortions

Robert Besser
11 Feb 2024

TALLAHASSEE, Florida: This week, Florida Attorney-General Ashley Moody urged the state's highest court to block voters from deciding whether to amend the state constitution to protect abortion.

Nathan Forrester, a lawyer for Moody, told the seven justices of the Florida Supreme Court that the amendment is a "Rorschach test," which would effectively eliminate the state's authority to regulate abortion.

After garnering enough signatures to be put on the ballot in November, the proposed amendment would ban laws that "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."

In Florida, abortions are currently illegal after 15 weeks.

Representing Floridians Protecting Freedom, Courtney Brewer said the language in the amendment and its associated summary was clear.

"A reasonable voter has all the fair notice they need in this case," she said.

However, the state justices, all appointed by Republican governors, are divided on the issue.

Justice John Couriel said, "Our job is to answer whether it is a wolf in sheep's clothing. That is all we get to do."

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reversed its landmark 1972 Roe v. Wade ruling protecting abortion rights around the country, abortion rights measures put to voters have prevailed in other states, even conservative ones.

However, constitutional amendments in Florida must pass with at least 60 percent of the vote.

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