Florida voters will consider abortion rights ballot measure in November, court rules

ByHannah Demissie and Adam Carlson ABCNews logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Florida puts abortion on the ballot in November
The Florida Supreme Court ruled an abortion rights measure qualifies and will be included on the ballot in the 2024 general election in November.

A ballot initiative that would amend Florida's Constitution and guarantee a basic standard for abortion access in the state can be put up for a vote in November, the state Supreme Court said on Monday.

The proposed amendment states that, with exceptions for parental notification of minors who get abortions, "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."

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds up a 15-week abortion ban law after signing it on April 14, 2022, in Kissimmee, Fla.
FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds up a 15-week abortion ban law after signing it on April 14, 2022, in Kissimmee, Fla.
AP Photo/John Raoux, File

The court ruled Monday, 4-3, that "we approve the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot."

Viability for a fetus is typically around 24 weeks into pregnancy.

If enacted, the ballot measure would likely undo or severely curb the state's current abortion restrictions. The state Supreme Court separately on Monday paved the way for a six-week ban, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, to take effect.

The measure would need 60% of the vote to amend the constitution.

The proposed amendment is sponsored by Floridians Protecting Freedom which, in January, surpassed the required number of signatures to put their referendum on the November ballot.

But Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, challenged the effort, claiming the proposal is "design[ed] to lay ticking time bombs that will enable abortion proponents later to argue that the amendment has a much broader meaning than voters would ever have thought."

That led to the state Supreme Court ruling this week which rejected Moody's argument.

Similar abortion rights proposals have uniformly succeeded across the country since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade's protections for access to the procedure in 2022.

Exit polling has found that the issue has also been a driving factor for some voters in key battlegrounds like Michigan -- and the inclusion of the ballot in November is seen by some Democrats and abortion rights advocates as helpful in driving voter turnout.