Florida Supreme Court. Credit: Christian Casale.
State Attorney General Ashley Moody has joined other abortion-rights opponents in asking the Florida Supreme Court to schedule oral arguments about whether a proposed constitutional amendment enshrining that right belongs on the ballot.
Moody had already filed written arguments in which she asked the court to block the “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion” from going before the voters in November 2024.
“The case presents important questions about the validity of a ballot initiative to amend the Florida Constitution to provide for a right to abortion,” Moody’s office wrote in a motion filed with the court on Monday.
“The attorney general respectfully submits that oral argument would enhance the Supreme Court’s consideration of the issues to be raised … which include whether the proposal meets the requirements for placing a citizens’ initiative on the ballot,” the motion reads.
Earlier, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America and Florida Voters Against Extremism filed similar requests. The latter group formed expressly to oppose the abortion-rights measure.
Taken together, the opponents argue the summary of the amendment that would appear on the ballot is too vague and misleading to give voters a fair sense of what the amendment would do.
Floridians Protecting Freedom, sponsor of the amendment, in reply briefs argued the language is perfectly plain and easily comprehensible, and that the justices shouldn’t let “political questions” distract it from its duty to let the people decide.
The text of the amendment says: “Limiting government interference with abortion.— Except as provided in Article X, Section 22, 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 cited provision allows the Legislature to require parental notification before a minor undergoes an abortion with the option of allowing the child to ask a judge for permission instead.)
The ballot summary reads: “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. This amendment does not change the Legislature’s constitutional authority to require notification to a parent or guardian before a minor has an abortion.”
The Florida Legislature responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade last summer by passing a 15-week abortion ban; a six-week ban followed this year that would take effect if the state Supreme Court upholds the 15-week ban; the justices have heard oral arguments and a ruling is pending.
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