Florida – Floridians showed they are decisive to get politicians out of their lives and health care decisions, as nearly 1 million supported Floridians Protecting Freedom’s campaign, marking significant progress in the fight for abortion rights in the state.
This coalition of Florida abortion rights supporters has successfully gathered enough signatures to propose a state constitutional amendment that aims to protect the right to an abortion. This achievement was announced last week, on Friday, indicating strong public backing for the cause.
The Florida Division of Elections website confirms the validation of 910,946 petitions submitted by the coalition. This number surpasses the required 891,523 verified petitions needed to bring the proposal to the 2024 ballot. The group anticipates an official confirmation from the Division of Elections soon.
Lauren Brenzel, the campaign director, highlighted the rapid progress of their campaign, stating, “The fact that we only launched our campaign eight months ago and we’ve already reached our petition goal speaks to the unprecedented support and momentum there is to get politicians out of our private lives and health care decisions.” The campaign’s success is notable, given the challenges many similar initiatives face in terms of time and financial resources. Brenzel is optimistic about the amendment’s approval by voters once it is presented on the ballot.
Before reaching the ballot, however, the proposed amendment must clear a legal hurdle. The Florida Supreme Court is required to approve the language of the ballot measure, which is presently being challenged by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. In her legal brief filed last year, Moody criticized the amendment’s language as vague and potentially misleading, focusing on terms such as “health,” “viability,” and “healthcare provider.” The court is set to hear oral arguments on this issue on February 7.
The composition of the Florida Supreme Court could play a crucial role in this process. Governor Ron DeSantis has appointed five of the current seven justices, establishing a conservative majority. This political backdrop adds another layer of complexity to the upcoming legal review of the amendment.
If the measure is placed on the ballot and wins the support of at least 60% of voters, it would be a game-changer for abortion rights in Florida. Currently, the state enforces a 15-week ban on abortions. In 2023, the state legislature passed a 6-week ban, which will go into effect only if the 15-week ban is upheld by the Florida Supreme Court. The proposed amendment, therefore, holds the potential to overturn these restrictive laws, marking a significant shift in the state’s stance on reproductive rights.