Florida Attorney General Urges Justices to Dismiss Abortion Rights Amendment


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is pushing the state Supreme Court to dismiss a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution which would ensure abortion rights for Floridians. In a 39-page brief submitted by Moody, the Attorney General contends that the measure is deceptive to voters. She specifically called it a "hoodwink".

The amendment, being proposed by Floridians Protecting Freedom, Inc, states the following: "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."

Expanding upon her rationale, Moody conceded that she holds pro-life values, but asserted that her own views on abortion aren't why she's fighting the amendment. "Throughout my two terms, I have objected to initiatives when the language of the summary will mislead voters," Moody said. "Floridians Protecting Freedom's initiative is one of the worst I have seen."

Moody objected to the use of the term 'viability', contesting that such a term could be used for multiple times in a pregnancy. She accused organizers of being intentionally vague about the definition of viability so as to have voters believe it referred to an earlier point in the pregnancy than it actually does. The amendment appears to legally authorize abortion to viability as measured by the provider of the abortion, but the exact nature of the law would be subject to litigation upon passage, when it would inevitably be hit with lawsuits.

In making her objections, Moody is likely hoping a relatively conservative Florida Supreme Court will use the opportunity to block abortion rights from being put to a statewide vote. If she's unsuccessful, Florida voters will approve or reject the measure on the 2024 election ballot, potentially reclaiming legal abortion from a state legislature and governor who've limited it since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The Florida Supreme Court is made up of five appointees of Governor Ron DeSantis, plus two of then-Republican Governor Charlie Crist.

Even as the Florida Republican Party has made large inroads since the razor-thin 2018 election cycle, movements associated with the political left have had victories in the Sunshine State; in 2020 Florida voters firmly approved an increase to a $15 minimum wage. Abortion rights is considered one of the most galvanizing issues in the country going into 2024, even in states on the redder side of purple.