FL Supreme Court Will Hear Abortion Initiative Argument

Jan 3, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET, regarding a proposed amendment that would codify unrestricted abortion as a right in the state constitution. 

Liberty Counsel represents Florida Voters Against Extremism (FLVAE), which filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court, arguing that they should not approve the proposed amendment which violates the requirement for voter initiatives and should not be permitted on the ballot. Liberty Counsel argues that the initiative is misleading and deceptive and violates the single subject rule.

The proposed amendment is sponsored by Floridians Protecting Freedom, Inc., a political committee supported by the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other groups that support unrestricted abortion on demand up to birth. 

The proposed amendment is entitled: “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion.” The full text states: “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. This amendment does not change the Legislature’s constitutional authority to require notification to a parent or guardian before a minor has an abortion.” 

The effect of the proposed amendment would prevent the State of Florida from regulating all abortions that a vague and undefined “healthcare provider” may deem “necessary” to protect the woman’s “health.” The amendment leaves the terms “necessary” and “health” purposefully undefined and vague.

The proposed amendment would permit Partial-Birth Abortion, which is banned by the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. This conflict alone with the federal law disqualifies the proposed amendment. 

The proposed amendment also violates the Florida Constitution’s single-subject requirement by addressing multiple subjects, including pre-viability abortions and health in the same proposal. Those are distinct issues that cannot permissibly be put into a single ballot initiative. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The language of this deceptive and deliberately confusing amendment would authorize abortion for any reason at any time up to birth. The proposed amendment does not meet the requirements for a voter initiative and must be rejected.” 

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