Florida voters will get to consider abortion rights ballot measure in November, court rules

The proposal would need 60% support to pass.

April 1, 2024, 4:42 PM

A ballot initiative that would amend Florida's Constitution and guarantee broader abortion access in the state can be put up for a vote in November, the state Supreme Court said on Monday.

The potential amendment says that, with exceptions for parental notification of minors who get abortions, "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 court ruled on Monday, 4-3, that "we approve the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot."

Viability for a fetus is typically around 24 weeks into pregnancy.

That means the ballot measure, if enacted, would undo the state's current abortion restrictions. The Florida Supreme Court separately on Monday upheld a 15-week ban and paved the way for a six-week ban, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, to take effect.

The abortion rights amendment would need 60% of the vote to pass.

PHOTO: An abortion rights activist holds a sign at a protest in support of abortion access, March To Roe The Vote And Send A Message To Florida Politicians That Abortion Access Must Be Protected And Defended, July 13, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
An abortion rights activist holds a sign at a protest in support of abortion access, March To Roe The Vote And Send A Message To Florida Politicians That Abortion Access Must Be Protected And Defended, July 13, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
John Parra/Getty Images

It is sponsored by Floridians Protecting Freedom which in January surpassed the required number of signatures to put their referendum on the November ballot.

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But Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, challenged the effort, claiming the proposal is "design[ed] 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."

That led to the state Supreme Court ruling this week which rejected Moody's argument.

Similar abortion rights measures have uniformly succeeded across the country since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade's protections for access to the procedure in 2022.

Exit polling has found that the issue has also been a driving factor for some voters in key battlegrounds like Michigan in 2022 -- and the inclusion of the ballot initiative in November is seen by some Democrats and abortion rights advocates as helpful in driving voter turnout.

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