FL Supreme Court Asked To Reject Deceptive and Misleading Abortion Amendment

Oct 31, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, Liberty Counsel filed a brief on behalf of Florida Voters Against Extremism to oppose a proposed amendment that would codify unrestricted abortion in the Florida Constitution. Liberty Counsel’s brief argues that the Florida Supreme Court should prohibit this initiative on the ballot because it fails to comply with the law regarding citizen voter initiatives. 

The proposed amendment, “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion,” would create a new section in the Florida Constitution “limiting government interference with abortion.” However, this initiative has serious deficiencies and falls short of the requirements for ballot placement under Florida law. 

The full text of the accompanying ballot summary 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 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 the termination of preborn humans through unrestricted abortion on demand. Even the name, Floridians Protecting Freedom, is deceptive when their objective is to “protect Floridians’ access to abortion as reproductive health care.” 

The proposed amendment hides from voters that the sponsors’ true purpose is to codify unrestricted abortion in Florida’s Constitution and allow abortions for virtually any reason, at any stage of the pregnancy. The amendment’s ballot title and summary are misleading and fail to provide fair notice to voters of the measure’s true chief purpose and effect. The proposed amendment would prevent the State from regulating all pre-viability abortions and all abortions that a vague and undefined “healthcare provider” may deem “necessary” to protect the woman’s “health.” The amendment also leaves the terms “necessary” or “health” purposefully undefined and vague, concealing that the true purpose is to confuse Florida voters and create an unrestricted right to abortion at all stages of pregnancy up to birth. For example, if adopted, the proposed amendment would authorize, as a matter of state law, activities that would constitute violations of 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 protection of women’s 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, “This deceptive proposed amendment must not be permitted on the ballot. The amendment and the sponsor’s statements and summary are deceptive. If passed, this abortion amendment would ban all reasonable regulation of abortion up to birth. This amendment would also impermissibly conflict with the federal ban on the brutal Partial Birth Abortion procedure. These sponsors want to fool the voters into changing the Florida Constitution to provide unrestricted access to abortion for any reason, even up to birth. This deceptive amendment must be rejected.” 

Liberty Counsel provides broadcast quality TV interviews via Hi-Def Skype and LTN at no cost.