The Republican Party of Florida formally opposed a proposed constitutional amendment to secure abortion rights up to birth, supporting Attorney General Ashley Moody’s legal challenge to the amendment’s language and its placement on the November ballot
The State Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Florida this weekend formally declared its opposition to a proposed amendment aimed at securing a right to abortion up to birth.
Per the document, signed by Chairman Evan Power, the resolution is predicated upon the belief that life begins at conception and criticizes efforts to circumvent legislative processes by directly presenting the amendment to voters, perceived as undermining Florida’s legislative and judicial authority.
“Radical activists have collected petition signatures that would place on the November ballot a constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortions … which would bypass the delegated authority of the Legislature and override the right to life laws in effect in the State of Florida,” reads a portion of the decree.
The party additionally pledged support for Attorney General Ashley Moody in her challenge against the amendment’s language, which could prevent it from reaching ballots in November.
“The Republican Party of Florida supports Attorney General Ashley Moody’s work of legally challenging both this amendment and the efforts of the abortionists to place this amendment on the November ballot,” the party wrote in its order.
The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments pertaining to the amendment last week, where the Attorney General asserted that the proposal misleadingly claims it would prevent any laws from “prohibiting, penalizing, delaying, or restricting abortion,” despite federal laws like the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that impose such restrictions. The justices scrutinized the argument’s premise, questioning the extent to which voters should be expected to understand the legal nuances the amendment implies, especially in light of federal constraints.
“It’s pretty obvious this is an aggressive approach to dealing with this issue,” Chief Justice Carlos G. Muñiz said. “The people of Florida aren’t stupid, they can figure out what this says.”
If the measure garners support from the state’s highest court, it will move one step closer to appearing on ballots this year, where it will require 60 percent of voter support to be enacted.
The proposed amendment seeks to establish the right to abortion in Florida up until the point of fetal viability — estimated at around 24 weeks. Current state law prohibits most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and courts are deciding on an expanded six-week abortion limit.
“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,” reads the ballot initiative’s summary.
In a November survey conducted by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL), 62 percent of respondents indicated they would support the amendment if it were to be included in the 2024 ballot. Conversely, 29 percent expressed opposition to the measure, while 9 percent remained undecided or chose not to disclose their position.
“If this amendment does make it on the ballot, initiatives like this one need a supermajority of 60 percent in order to pass, and it looks like the proposed abortion amendment is right at that threshold among these respondents,” commented PORL faculty director and professor of political science Dr. Michael Binder. “Even among registered Republicans, 53 percent would vote to protect abortion rights in Florida, with just 39 percent voting no.”