Floridians Protecting Freedom, a campaign advocating for the inclusion of the right to abortion on the 2024 ballot, has successfully gathered 910,946 verified signatures in favor of the initiative, surpassing the number of signatures required for the measure to be included on the ballot.
“Today is a big day for all Floridians! The Division of Elections is reporting that #AbortionOnTheBallot has 910,946 verified signatures, enough to qualify for the 2024 election,” Floridians Protecting Freedom said on social media. “What a huge milestone for abortion access in our state!”
Although Florida legislators passed a six-week abortion ban in 2023, the state is currently enjoined from enacting that ban until the Florida Supreme Court rules on a 15-week ban that was enacted in 2022. Abortion advocates in the state are hoping to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would enshrine the right to an abortion and undermine these bans.
“The fact that we only launched our campaign eight months ago and we’ve already reached our petition goal speaks to the unprecedented support and momentum there is to get politicians out of our private lives and health care decisions,” Floridians Protecting Freedom campaign director Lauren Brenzel said in a statement. “Most initiative campaigns never make it this far. The ones that do usually spend far more or take much longer to qualify, which is why we’re so confident that voters will approve our amendment once they’re given a chance to vote.”
Ashley Figueroa, a Florida voter who signed the petition to get the abortion rights amendment on the 2024 ballot, told Truthout that “there is no compromise to human rights.”
“We are facing a time where politics have turned into a race towards the violations of these basic human rights. Every human should have the right to decide on their own over their healthcare related affairs,” Figueroa said. “And this includes a woman/pregnant person having the right to decide on their own when it comes to abortion.
At least 150,000 of the collected signatures came from Republicans voters, illustrating bipartisan support for abortion rights. In November, a similar abortion rights measure passed in Ohio, in part because of Republican voters supporting the measure.
“Republicans and abortion rights opponents continue to underestimate the seismic effects of the Dobbs decision on broad swaths of the electorate. Abortion rights are politically popular. Ohioans made that clear on Tuesday night in specifically voting, overwhelmingly, for the fundamental right to terminate a pregnancy,” Lauren Rankin wrote for Truthout in November.
The victory in Ohio marked the seventh straight electoral win for abortion rights and has instilled confidence in abortion advocates about the success of such measures in other states. However, the abortion rights initiative in Florida still faces multiple hurdles before it makes it onto the ballot. The conservative-controlled Florida Supreme Court announced Wednesday that it will hear a legal challenge stemming from a brief filed last fall by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R).
“I think alienating a million and a half active engaged voters across the political spectrum would be an unwise thing for conservatives in Florida to do,” Anna Hochkammer, executive director of the Florida Women’s Freedom Coalition, told The Messenger in December. “I think it would damage individual candidates and their overall prospects in 2024.”
If the abortion rights amendment succeeds in making it onto the 2024 ballot, it will need to secure 60 percent of votes for the initiative to become law. A University of North Florida poll published in November found that 62 percent of voters, including 55 percent of Republicans, would likely vote yes on the measure.
“We know what will happen if reproductive rights make it onto the ballot in 2024 — just like in every other state since Dobbs, Florida voters will choose to keep the government out of their healthcare decisions,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. “Florida is the next battleground in a wave of post-Dobbs movements to protect our freedoms, and the Florida Democratic Party stands ready to help get this movement across the finish line in November.”
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