'Radical' Accusations Fly at Abortion Ban, Abortion Amendment: Who's Right?

'Radical' Accusations Fly at Abortion Ban, Abortion Amendment: Who's Right?

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 4, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Two Florida Supreme Court decisions targeting opposing sides of the abortion debate are causing a deeper party split within the Sunshine State, with each party accusing the other of "radical" agendas leading up to the November General Election.

Monday afternoon, the Supreme Court allowed an abortion amendment protecting abortion rights until "fetal viability"—around 24 weeks—to be placed on the November ballot. If 60 percent of voters say "yes", it will amend the state's constitution.

On the other side of the debate, the Supreme Court also upheld a 15-week abortion ban, effectively triggering a six-week abortion ban passed last year in its place. Democrats worry this strike against abortion will effectively outlaw the procedure in the state, causing legal complications to ensue.

"Everyone Needs to Understand What this Amendment Does"

Democratic Senator Shevrin Jones discussed the issue of mifepristone—an abortion pill responsible for over half of all abortions—being mailed to the state, explaining the legal difficulties of preventing women from receiving these pills.

"What's the state of Florida going to do? Are they going to tell the federal government what can't be mailed into the state? I don't think they can do that. What are they going to do, check every package? It's going to be a tall task for the Republicans to try to do," he told The Floridian, referencing that Illinois is the closest state to Florida that protects abortion access past twelve weeks.

"It will require further lawsuits, it will require the state of Florida to spend more money on litigation, which we have done on abortion, culture wars, and everything else," Jones added.

He touched on the upcoming election, explaining that increased abortion restrictions are a losing issue for Republicans. More than 150,000 registered Republicans signed the petition to put abortion on the ballot, and a November poll found that 62% of surveyed voters would vote "yes" on the amendment.

"All Republicans are doing right now is moving their consistent base away from them because of their radical agenda," Jones said.

GOP Vice Chairman Jesse Phillips conceded that abortion is a divisive issue for Republicans, but argued that "we're not going to solve one problem by creating another," he told The Floridian. "If the argument is whether should we stay at 15 weeks or go back to six, it would be a different discussion. But the argument is should it be pushed all the way back to over 20 weeks, and that's what voters are going to be deciding."

"Everyone needs to understand that's what this amendment does," Phillips added.

"Republicans are on the Wrong Side of this Argument"

The Court's amendment ruling follows the Florida Legislature passing two abortion bans in two years—the first prohibiting the procedure after 15 weeks, and the second after six weeks. The pro-choice organization Floridians Protecting Freedom created a citizen-led petition to get abortion rights on the ballot, securing over one million Floridian signatures.

Attorney General Ashley Moody, however, argued that the amendment's language was too "vague and misleading", concerned its wording would confuse voters and courts alike. The Supreme Court—and Democrats—disagree.

"The voters are smart, and the voters can read, and it seemed as if the measure had been written in a way so as not to mislead voters," Senator Jones said. "The Republicans are trying to distort that with a narrative to try to sway voters away from the fact that over a million people signed a petition to see this on the ballot,"

"If that's not evident of Floridians wanting to protect women and their rights to choose, then I think the Republicans are on the wrong side of this argument," he added.

Republicans, however, are sticking to their guns—holding that this amendment is not just misleading but radical.

"Once voters figure out how radical both of those are they are going to fail," said Governor Ron DeSantis at a Fort Lauderdale press conference. He referenced both the abortion amendment and a marijuana amendment that will also be on the ballot, legalizing recreational cannabis for adults over 21.

"I believe that fetal viability is way too late," Vice Chairman Phillips said, stating that a fetus may feel pain around the 15-week mark. "We are a humane society and we shouldn't be causing an unborn child pain at the bare minimum."

Jones, on the other hand, argued that the six-week abortion ban is the true radical agent at play.

"I don't know how that's more radical than the 6-week abortion ban, but you know what is radical? Denying millions of people their healthcare. Do you know what else is radical? The continued attack on women's ability to make decisions about their bodies," he said.


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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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