Attorney General Ashley Moody is making good on her promise to ask the Florida Supreme Court to block a proposed abortion rights amendment from making the 2024 ballot.
Moody officially asked the high court to review the initiative more than a month after the Department of State said the citizen initiative had cleared the threshold needed to reach the court.
In her submission to the court, Moody did not go into details on why she wants the court to block the measure, saying that she would present legal briefs at a later time that explain why “the aforementioned initiative does not satisfy the legal requirements for ballot placement.”
Last Friday, Moody released an op-ed for Florida’s Voice where she argued that the measure’s ballot summary would mislead voters. If ultimately passed by 60% of voters, the amendment would prohibit the Legislature from banning abortion prior to “before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health.”
Moody trashed the language used in the amendment proposed by Floridians Protecting Freedom as “one of the worst I have seen.” She says voters would be confused by the term “viability” and that it could be viewed as allowing abortion anywhere from 12 weeks to 25 weeks.
“While I personally would not vote for this initiative no matter what definition of ‘viability’ it was using, I know that to some voters, it is material to their vote — whether you are talking about an abortion in the first trimester or at the end of the second trimester,” Moody wrote. “Floridians are entitled to know clearly and concisely what they are voting for or against.”
Moody, who is considered a potential candidate for Governor in 2026, has called herself “pro-life” but contends her personal views are not behind her decision to oppose the proposed initiative.
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book in a statement said the administration of Gov. Ron DeSantis is wary of having the abortion debate decided at the polls.
“They know they will lose—plain and simple,” Book, a Democrat from Davie, said in a statement.”That’s why the Attorney General is attempting to prevent our measure from ever making it on the ballot. We will win this latest challenge, we will put abortion rights on the ballot, and voters will choose to restore women’s rights, because at the end of the day, Florida’s ban on women’s fundamental rights is dangerous, unpopular, and wrong.”
As part of the legal fight over Florida’s current ban on abortions after 15 weeks, Moody has already asked the Florida Supreme Court to overturn a 1989 ruling that struck down abortion restrictions. In that ruling, the court found that restrictions on abortion violated the privacy clause that voters put in the state constitution nine years earlier.
In order to reach the 2024 ballot organizers behind the proposed abortion rights amendment will need to collect more than 891,000 voter signatures. So far, state election officials have verified more than 400,000.
But in order to reach the ballot, the Florida Supreme Court must make sure the amendment sticks to a single subject and that the ballot summary given to voters is not misleading.
Florida legislators earlier this year reduced the state’s ban on abortion from 15 weeks to six weeks. But that law will not take effect unless the state Supreme Court upholds the current 15-week law.