Abortion On The Ballot?

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Amy Weintraub, Michelle Marra Morton, Taylor Aguilera, of Floridians Protecting Freedom

On MidPoint Wednesday, a panel of attorneys and organizers associated with Floridians Protecting Freedom, the coalition of advocacy groups promoting a State constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights joined us to discuss the abortion referendum’s path from collecting 1.45 million Florida voters’ signatures on the petition to place the amendment on the November ballot to its review in the Florida Supreme Court to seeing it on our ballots.

The following language would be added to the state constitution: “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 ballot title and summary have to accurately reflect the contents of the amendment itself and the Attorney General of Florida has the authority to oppose an amendment if she believes it does not meet that standard. Attorney General Ashley Moody, along with a group of conservative legal advocacy groups, are opposing the amendment in the Court. Here, the text of the ballot summary is actually the exact text of the amendment, so it would seem clear that it is an accurate representation of the amendment itself. Nevertheless,  one of the opponents’ primary arguments against the ballot measure is that the concept of “viability” in the ballot summary is vague and does not accurately reflect what is in the amendment itself because voters may be confused about the meaning of that term.  But, according to Michelle Marra Morton, attorney for the ACLU Foundation of Florida, the ballot summary “couldn’t more closely reflect the language of the amendment,” and the Attorney General’s arguments against the amendment are more political, than legal, full of hyperbole [and] rhetoric…”

Floridians Protecting Freedom has said, “The overwhelming majority of Floridians think we should all have the freedom to make our own personal health care decisions without interference from politicians. Despite that, politicians in Florida just signed the most extreme abortion ban in the nation. It bans abortion before most people even realize they are pregnant. Help put these decisions back in the hands of Florida families and their doctors, not extreme politicians. There are so many reasons why someone may make the deeply personal decision to have an abortion – maybe their birth control failed, or they were a victim of rape or incest, or carrying a pregnancy would endanger their lives. Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to interfere in this personal decision or to prevent nurses and doctors from treating their patients.”

You can listen to the entire show here  or on the WMNF app or from our WMNF MidPoint podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

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