TALLAHASSEE (LifeSiteNews) — Florida’s Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody is asking the Florida Supreme Court to reject a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would insulate abortion-on-demand from government intervention, arguing its language deceives voters as to what they would actually be establishing in the Sunshine State.
A coalition of left-wing and pro-abortion groups called Floridians Protecting Freedom (FPF) is seeking to put before voters in November 2024 a state constitutional amendment declaring 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”; with an exception for an existing provision of the constitution that permits parental notification for minors’ abortions.
On Monday, Moody filed a request for the state’s highest court, which reviews proposed constitutional amendments, to reject this proposal on three grounds that it “does not satisfy the legal requirements for ballot placement,” CBS News reports. FPF previously cleared its first hurdle by submitting 402,082 valid signatures, and must collect a total of 891,523 by February 1.
Moody added that her formal legal case against the amendment will be submitted to the court in a later filing, but has already laid out its issues in an October 6 op-ed for Florida’s Voice, calling the FPF initiative “one of the worst I have seen.”
The attorney general explains that the amendment does not define its legal standard of viability, which can mean “whether a pregnancy is expected to continue developing normally through delivery,” which doctors can determine “usually around about 12 weeks”; or mean “whether a baby can survive outside of the uterus, which currently is around 21 to 25 weeks of pregnancy. The two time periods, depending on your definition of viability, are starkly different, and the procedures performed to abort a baby’s life at either time period are dissimilar.”
“When it comes to viability, even the pro-choice-aligned American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes the two medical definitions and urges that ‘[t]he concept of viability of [an unborn baby] is frequently misrepresented or misinterpreted based on ideological principles,’” Moody notes.
“Yet, this initiative’s sponsor chose to utilize that frequently misrepresented and misinterpreted term. That choice was not a mistake,” she argues. “It was done to increase the chance that this provision will pass as polling shows that more Americans support abortion in the first trimester with that support significantly decreasing as pregnancy progresses.”
FPF campaign director Lauren Brenzel called Moody’s argument “disingenuous” and an “effort to silence [voters’] voice,” arguing the meaning of viability was well established in the legal context.
Florida’s Republican governor and 2024 presidential contender Ron DeSantis has taken numerous pro-life actions since taking office in 2019, including signing a 15-week abortion ban and parental consent requirement for underage abortions, as well as enforcing state law against taxpayer funding of abortion, putting pharmacies on notice that they would be prosecuted for distributing abortion pills, and firing state attorney Andrew Warren for publicly declaring he would not enforce Florida’s pro-life laws.
Earlier this year, he also signed a law banning most abortions after six weeks’ gestation. That law, enforcement of which is contingent on the Florida Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the state’s 15-week ban, was FPF’s motivation for proposing its pro-abortion amendment; the heartbeat law has also been deemed “terrible” by DeSantis’s chief rival for the GOP nomination, former President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, a group called Protect Human Life Florida is attempting to place on the 2024 ballot another state constitutional amendment that would establish the “right to life of the preborn individual” may “not be infringed at any stage of development.”