Abortion rights ballot referendum effort claims 600,000 signatures collected
Protesters at a Jacksonville rally seeking protection of abortion rights

Jacksonville abortion protest
Just shy of 150,000 have been verified. The effort needs nearly 900,000 verified signatures from registered voters to get the abortion question on the 2024 ballot.

Facing a deadline 169 days from now, abortion rights proponents say they’ve collected nearly three-fourths of the signatures needed to get a referendum on the 2024 ballot that could guarantee abortion rights in Florida.

Galvanized by legislation that makes abortion illegal before most women know they are pregnant, officials with Floridians Protecting Freedom say the effort that began three months ago has collected more than 600,000 signatures to put the question of abortion on the 2024 ballot.

State law requires that, to get on the ballot as a constitutional amendment, 8% of the voters who cast ballots in the 2020 General Election sign the petition. That comes out to 891,523 signatures that need to be validated by Feb. 1, 2024. So far, 147,347 of those collected signatures have been validated.

This referendum asks voters to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution. If the question is approved, the amendment would nullify the six-week ban on abortion the Legislature passed this year, as well as the 15-week ban passed the year before.

Floridians Protecting Freedom, started last April, is leading the charge. And the partnership of women’s groups, unions, Planned Parenthood organizations in Florida and the ACLU of Florida has raised $4.7 million for the signature-collecting effort and spent nearly $4.6 million of that, according to state campaign filings up to June 30.

The group says they’ve raised more than $1.75 million since that last report, for a total of nearly $7 million raised from 1,750 donors since the movement launched following the Governor’s signature on the “Heartbeat Protection Act.”

“Our grassroots momentum continues to build — even through the heat of the summer — as evidenced by these latest petition and fundraising totals,” said Lauren Brenzel, Floridians Protecting Freedom’s Campaign Director.

“Floridians are fighting back against the threat abortion bans pose to their freedom, and we are confident that will translate to success at the ballot box when voters are given the chance to vote on this critically needed amendment.”

The number of ballot signatures verified so far show a strong effort in the districts that cover Charlotte, Lee, Orange, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

The referendum, if approved, would make it so that “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.”

The referendum’s approval would mean abortion access would be restored to what it was before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade that had been the law of the land for nearly 50 years. The June 2022 ruling, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, opened the door for state laws restricting access to the procedure.

Right now, a 15-week ban on the procedure remains in effect in the state, pending a state Supreme Court ruling on whether the state constitution has a right to privacy that overrides the legislation.

“Florida’s abortion ban denies Floridians the freedom not just to access essential reproductive health care, but to control their own bodies,” Brenzel said. “This amendment would protect Floridians’ freedom to access abortion without government interference, and we are excited to give Florida voters the chance to pass it in 2024.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


8 comments

  • PeterH

    August 16, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    It’s time to send another donation to Planned Parenthood.

  • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

    August 16, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    Too bad Earl Pitts’ mom didn’t get an abortion.
    He never would have raped that child.

  • PeterH

    August 16, 2023 at 10:05 pm

    After tonight’s 5th Circuit ruling…… addressing women’s health in the ballot box is even more critical.

  • Lee

    August 16, 2023 at 10:42 pm

    Abortion is not women’s health. It is murder of an unborn baby.

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      August 18, 2023 at 2:57 pm

      A fetus isn’t a baby, and it is health care.
      I hope you don’t have a woman in your life need an abortion to save her life. There have been horrific stories coming out of Red States in the last year from women who needed to terminate a planned pregnancy gone wrong due to health complications but couldn’t. Shame on you.

  • Cheesy Floridian

    August 17, 2023 at 12:06 am

    Everyone who believes in freedom should sign the petition.

  • James L Jones

    August 18, 2023 at 5:38 pm

    Biden’s unpopularity is due to his support of abortion. Why else would Trump who opposes abortion (among other things such as elections when he doesn’t win and the support in 2016 of most white women when he laughed about sexually abusing them) have won in 2016be and an economy with record low unemployment) be tied with him in polls?

  • Joseph Hager

    August 19, 2023 at 5:46 pm

    Asserting that a fetus is a baby before it reaches the age of viability at approximately 24 weeks is a religious belief. Religious beliefs are precluded from becoming law by the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Religious zeal must not be permitted to deny the responsible choices of pregnant women before their fetuses can survive outside the womb or to forbid intelligent medical decisions at any point during the entire term of pregnancy. If you oppose termination of pregnancy on religious grounds you you have the choice to carry your fetus. Do not attempt to deny others their right to make responsible decisions on their own behalf.

Comments are closed.


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