Florida judges skeptical of abortion challenge

Attorney General
Ashley Moody
(R) has been aggressively fighting against the measure. Along with anti-abortion groups, the state argued the ballot language is unclear and misleading, and the court should disqualify it.  

Abortion rights advocates who are behind the initiative are confident that the measure will make it on the ballot, and legal experts say the topic
shouldn’t matter
. The court is only supposed to consider whether the question is about a single subject and whether the language accurately describes what the amendment will do.  

The measure would roll back the state’s current 15-week abortion ban and make abortion legal to the point of viability outside the womb, which is about 24 weeks. It would also block a
potential six-week ban
that has yet to take effect but is looming on the horizon pending a separate state Supreme Court case. 

If the measure makes it on to the ballot in November and passes with 60 percent of the vote, it would deal a significant blow to the conservative legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who passed the bans. 

During oral arguments, Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz made it clear he was not swayed by the state’s argument that the measure would confuse voters

“The people of Florida aren’t stupid. They can figure this out,” he said.  

While Muñiz and other justices signaled they were personally opposed to the measure, there was broad agreement that the 75-word summary describes just what the amendment would do if it passed.  

“There’s no possible way a summary could tick through all these different variables and possible implications. … The summary says what it says. People can see for themselves if it’s too broad or vague or whatever,” Muñiz said.   

Still, the justices implied that even if the ballot measure passes, the court will have ultimate say over its limits. 

“There’s going to be debates about what are the gaps and what can the legislature do,” Muñiz said, adding later that if the amendment becomes part of the state constitution, it will be “litigated forever.”  

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