HomeoldFlorida AG says proposed pro-abortion amendment ballot summary would ‘mislead voters’

Florida AG says proposed pro-abortion amendment ballot summary would ‘mislead voters’

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In a filing on Monday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody informed the state Supreme Court that a proposed constitutional amendment currently gathering signatures for placement on the ballot in 2024 “does not satisfy the legal requirements for ballot placement.” Moody stated that her legal objections would be set forth in the brief to be filed with the court at the appropriate time.

The Florida Supreme Court plays a pivotal role in the review of proposed ballot initiatives, with the responsibility of determining the clarity and scope of the proposed amendments. As reported by CBS News, the court’s review process ensures that the wording of the proposed amendments is clear and that they address a single subject. The court may also reject initiatives that fail to meet the legal standards set forth by the state.

While Moody did not elucidate the rationale behind her objections, in an opinion piece published on Friday on the Florida’s Voice website, Moody asserted that her opposition to the issue being placed on the ballot “has nothing to do with my personal views on abortion,” as reported by CBS News. “Instead, as I have consistently done throughout my two terms, I have objected to initiatives when the language of the summary will mislead voters.”

In her opinion piece, Moody wrote, “As a case in point, the initiative creates a right to abortion through ‘viability.'” She proceeded to elaborate on her position.

As any mother knows, “viability” has two meanings when it comes to pregnancy.

First, it means whether a pregnancy is expected to continue developing normally through delivery. Doctors can tell during the first trimester, usually around about 12 weeks, whether a pregnancy is viable and would have a much lower risk of miscarriage. For that reason, many women often wait to tell family and friends about their pregnancy until that time.

Second, viability is sometimes used to mean whether a baby can survive outside of the uterus, which currently is around 21 to 25 weeks of pregnancy. The two time periods, depending on your definition of viability, are starkly different, and the procedures performed to abort a baby’s life at either time period are dissimilar.

Moody notes that even the pro-choice-aligned American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists acknowledges the two medical definitions and urges that the concept of viability of an unborn baby is frequently misrepresented or misinterpreted based on ideological principles. This perpetuates erroneous and unscientific interpretations of medical terminology.

Moody posited that this was no mere coincidence. The objective was to increase the likelihood of this provision being enacted, given that polling indicates that a greater proportion of Americans support abortion in the first trimester, with this support declining significantly as pregnancy progresses.

Moody further observed that the sponsor has taken considerable steps to mislead Floridians by failing to provide any information on its website regarding the meaning of viability and the termination of the right to abortion, which it is attempting to enshrine in our Constitution.

It is noteworthy that the ballot summary of the amendment, which would be presented to voters, states that “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” [emphasis added]. This is the escape clause lifted from Doe v. Bolton, Roe v. Wade’s companion decision. The only prerequisite for an abortion up until birth is for the “healthcare provider” (i.e., the abortionist) to determine that it is “necessary to protect the patient’s health.” As evidenced by the 49 years of precedent established by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the “health” exemption has been interpreted in a manner that allows for the inclusion of a wide range of circumstances.

As of Monday, Floridians Protecting Freedom had submitted 222,881 valid petition signatures to the state. In order to be included on the ballot, the committee must submit at least 891,523 valid signatures by the deadline of February 1.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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