Florida, the nation’s third-most-populous state, was until recently a frequent destination for women from the South seeking an abortion, because it allowed the procedure up to about 24 weeks. But in 2022, the state enacted a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, and last year, a ban after six weeks.
Floridians are awaiting a ruling from the state Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the 15-week ban. If, as expected, the court affirms it, the way would be cleared for the six-week ban to take effect.
The court’s ideological balance has shifted in recent years, from liberal to conservative. Five of the seven current justices were appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, who signed the two abortion bans.
Even so, several of the justices dismissed arguments on Wednesday by the ballot measure’s opponents, led by the office of the state’s Republican attorney general, Ashley Moody, that the language of the proposed amendment and its ballot summary were too broad, vague and misleading. Florida requires that ballot questions be clear and limited to a single subject.
The proposed amendment reads in part, “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 health care provider.”