Florida’s Abortion Access Amendment Not Yet on the Ballot

Florida’s Abortion Access Amendment Not Yet on the Ballot

The campaign to put an abortion access amendment on the November ballot succeeded last month in submitting over one million petitions, far exceeding the 891,537 required by state law.  However, the campaign faced one last test this week in the Florida Supreme Court, where arguments were heard by all seven justices.  

The justices are applying two tests: that the amendment is limited to one subject and that the language of the amendment and its summary is clear and unambiguous.  At the hearing the justices kept up a barrage of questions for both the attorney for the campaign and the attorney from the Attorney General’s office, which had filed a brief claiming the language was too vague. The Court is required to approve the amendment by April 1st.

At the moment Florida is the only state in the south to allow abortions up to 15 weeks.  Post the Dobbs decision, Florida abortion providers have had an influx of women seeking the procedures as bans were enacted in Georgia, Mississippi and other neighboring states.   

And the situation in Florida is about to get worse:  over a year ago the Republican state legislature passed a 15-week abortion ban.  It was immediately challenged in the state Supreme Court and arguments were heard last fall.   With 5 of the 7 justices appointed by Governor DeSantis the law is expected to be upheld, at which time a more recent law passed last spring will impose a 6-week ban, effectively closing down abortion access 30 days later.    The stakes could not be higher as the Floridians Protecting Freedom campaign has acknowledged, and it is already fundraising for the final stage of the battle for women to have abortion access in Florida.  

Carol Moore, Co-chair, DA Florida State Team and founding Co-Chair, DAUK Women’s Caucus