Florida Abortion Law Heads To State Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court last week heard oral arguments in a challenge over whether a proposed ballot measure to enshrine abortion in the state constitution can appear on the ballot in November’s election, NBC News reported.

An abortion rights group led the effort to collect the necessary number of signatures on a petition to place the measure on the ballot. After Florida officials announced that the proposed amendment would appear on the November ballot, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody challenged the move arguing that the language in the ballot measure was deliberately misleading.

Under state law, the Florida Supreme Court must review the language of any citizen-driven constitutional amendment proposal before it can be placed on the ballot.

Attorney General Moody urged the state’s high court to keep the measure off the ballot entirely, arguing that the effort was designed to “hoodwink” voters.

Throughout oral arguments, the justices grilled the attorneys representing the pro-abortion group that spearheaded the effort, often suggesting that the language was too far-reaching.

The justices also pointed out that the ballot proposal failed to make it clear that the amendment was specifically designed to protect abortion in the state. They questioned whether the language adequately defined “viability” or made it clear to votes what the legal ramifications would be if the measure passed.

The Florida Supreme Court has until April 1 to either approve or reject the proposed language of the ballot measure.

In Florida, abortion is currently legal during the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. The state enacted a 6-week abortion limit last year but that law remains blocked due to court challenges. If the proposed pro-abortion amendment appears on the November ballot and passes, it would nullify both the 6-week and 15-week laws by making abortion a “right” until around the 24th week of pregnancy or when a fetus is viable.