Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is asking the state Supreme Court to reject a ballot measure that would allow aboritons up to birth.
Moody told the state’s highest court that it should not allow the measure on the 2024 ballot because the language f the proposal is misleading. She says the summary language misinforms voters by making it appear abortions would be limited even though the proposal would endorse unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy.
Moody said the ballot summary is part of an “overall design to lay ticking time bombs that will enable abortion proponents later to argue that the amendment has a much broader meaning than voters would ever have thought.”
The abortion proposal’s ballot summary says, in part: “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.”
While the measure claims it only applies to viability, Moody points out how the undefined health eception essentially allows aboritons up to birth because any aboriton can be defined as necessary for a woman’s health even though abortion actually hurts women’s health. She also raised a series of objections to the wording, including contending that the word “viability” can have multiple meanings.
“Others will understand ‘viability’ in the more traditional clinical sense — as referring to a pregnancy that, but for an abortion or other misfortune, will result in the child’s live birth,” Moody’s brief said. “This ambiguity is no small interpretive quibble; ‘viability’ in the Roe/Casey sense occurs much later than in the traditional clinical sense. And polling shows that the stage of pregnancy at which abortion becomes illegal is crucial to whether voters approve of particular restrictions on abortion.”
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“The latter concept of health (mental health), while by no means trivial, is also susceptible to expansive interpretation and could be used to justify a much larger number of abortions,” the brief said. “Here again, voters deserve to be made aware of the possibility that the health exception could be made essentially to swallow the rule.”
Meanwhile, Liberty Counsel filed a brief on behalf of Florida Voters Against Extremism to oppose the amendment.
Liberty Counsel’s brief argues that the Florida Supreme Court should prohibit this initiative on the ballot because it fails to comply with the law regarding citizen voter initiatives.
The proposed amendment, “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion,” would create a new section in the Florida Constitution “limiting government interference with abortion.” However, this initiative has serious deficiencies and falls short of the requirements for ballot placement under Florida law.
The proposed amendment is sponsored by Floridians Protecting Freedom, Inc., a political committee supported by the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other groups that support the termination of preborn humans through unrestricted abortion on demand. Even the name, Floridians Protecting Freedom, is deceptive when their objective is to “protect Floridians’ access to abortion as reproductive health care.”
The pro-lif group told LifeNews that the proposed amendment hides from voters that the sponsors’ true purpose is to codify unrestricted abortion in Florida’s Constitution and allow abortions for virtually any reason, at any stage of the pregnancy.
The amendment’s ballot title and summary are misleading and fail to provide fair notice to voters of the measure’s true chief purpose and effect. The proposed amendment would prevent the State from regulating all pre-viability abortions and all abortions that a vague and undefined “healthcare provider” may deem “necessary” to protect the woman’s “health.” The amendment also leaves the terms “necessary” or “health” purposefully undefined and vague, concealing that the true purpose is to confuse Florida voters and create an unrestricted right to abortion at all stages of pregnancy up to birth. For example, if adopted, the proposed amendment would authorize, as a matter of state law, activities that would constitute violations of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. This conflict alone with the federal law disqualifies the proposed amendment.
The proposed amendment also violates the Florida Constitution’s single-subject requirement by addressing multiple subjects, including pre-viability abortions and protection of women’s health, in the same proposal. Those are distinct issues that cannot permissibly be put into a single ballot initiative.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “This deceptive proposed amendment must not be permitted on the ballot. The amendment and the sponsor’s statements and summary are deceptive. If passed, this abortion amendment would ban all reasonable regulation of abortion up to birth. This amendment would also impermissibly conflict with the federal ban on the brutal Partial Birth Abortion procedure. These sponsors want to fool the voters into changing the Florida Constitution to provide unrestricted access to abortion for any reason, even up to birth. This deceptive amendment must be rejected.”
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