Florida abortion rights ballot initiative approaches 700,000 signatures

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"Keep your laws off our bodies" sign at the “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally along the downtown waterfront of St. Petersburg, Florida. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News (24 June 2022).

©2023 The News Service of Florida

Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ensure abortion rights in Florida continue moving closer to submitting enough petition signatures to get on the 2024 ballot.

The Florida Division of Elections website Friday showed 687,700 valid petition signatures for the measure, which is sponsored by the political committee Floridians Protecting Freedom.

The committee by Feb. 1 will need to submit at least 891,523 valid signatures statewide and meet signature requirements in at least half of the state’s congressional districts to get on the November ballot.

The committee also needs the Florida Supreme Court to sign off on the proposed ballot wording.

Floridians Protecting Freedom announced the initiative in May after the Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis approved a law that could prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

The six-week limit is contingent on the outcome of a legal battle about a 15-week abortion limit that DeSantis and lawmakers passed in 2022.

Attorney General Ashley Moody has argued the Supreme Court should keep the proposed constitutional amendment off the ballot, saying its wording would mislead voters — a contention that amendment supporters dispute.

The ballot summary of the proposal says, in part: “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.”

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