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<> on January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty Images

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — The Florida Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a virtually unlimited “right” to abortion will be on the Florida ballot in November.

A coalition of left-wing and pro-abortion groups called Floridians Protecting Freedom (FPF) has been seeking to put before Sunshine State voters in November 2024 a ballot initiative declaring 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 healthcare provider”; with an exception for a provision of the Florida Constitution that permits parental notification for minors’ abortions.

Florida’s Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody urged the Florida Supreme Court to reject the amendment, on the grounds that its language was so unclear that it “does not satisfy the legal requirements for ballot placement.” She said that the amendment did not define its legal standard of viability, which can mean “whether a pregnancy is expected to continue developing normally through delivery,” which doctors can determine “usually around about 12 weeks”; or mean “whether a baby can survive outside of the uterus, which currently is around 21 to 25 weeks of pregnancy.” 

READ: Florida Supreme Court upholds six-week, 15-week abortion bans, rejects ‘right’ to abortion

According to Moody, “this initiative’s sponsor chose to utilize that frequently misrepresented and misinterpreted term […] to increase the chance that this provision will pass as polling shows that more Americans support abortion in the first trimester with that support significantly decreasing as pregnancy progresses.”

However, USA Today reports that, in a 4-3 ruling, the justices rejected the state’s argument on the grounds that, as Chief Justice Carlos Muñiz expressed during oral arguments, “the people of Florida aren’t stupid. They can figure it out.”

DeSantis and Moody’s offices issued statements registering their disagreement with the court’s decision, reaffirming that the amendment’s language is deceptive:

Pro-life leaders across the Sunshine State have also expressed strong disapproval of the ruling, which was handed down on the same day as a separate decision upholding Florida’s six-week and 15-week abortion bans. 

“It is terribly disappointing that, despite glimpses of hope during the oral arguments in February, the court failed to recognize for the unborn child the status of personhood,” Cyrille Velasco, a volunteer from Protect Human Life Florida, told LifeSiteNews. “In his dissent from the majority opinion, Justice Grosshans, with Justice Sasso concurring, did speak to personhood. Yet despite unborn children recognized as persons in a multitude of existing Florida laws and statutes, the five other justices were resoundingly silent on this issue.”

In the wake of the ruling, Velasco advised Florida pro-lifers to get involved with sidewalk counseling outside Planned Parenthood’s Naples or Fort Myers locations, to support pro-life pregnancy centers giving women alternatives, to “start speaking broadly, to family, friends and acquaintances, and inform them of the dire and deadly consequences should this amendment pass,” and to “pray without ceasing” to Our Lady of Guadalupe, “Mother of Life, for her powerful intercession.”

“The court’s decision to ‘split the baby’ is not what we were hoping for, but it’s also not unexpected, which is why we’ve been preparing for this battle for several months now,” said Christian Family Coalition (CFC) Florida Founder and Executive Director Anthony Verdugo in a press release. “We’re grateful that the court has upheld the Heartbeat Protection Act to save innocent unborn lives in the state of Florida, but that victory will be extremely short-lived if this deceptively written pro-abortion amendment passes. CFC Florida will be on the front lines of the campaign to raise grassroots awareness about the extreme nature of this amendment and why Florida voters must reject it.”

“One cannot ‘compromise’ with evil – and the abortion industry is pure evil,” added Florida Voice for the Unborn Executive Director Andrew Shirvell. “Today’s ‘compromise’ decisions are simply unacceptable when five of the current seven sitting Justices on the Court were appointed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. Clearly, grassroots pro-life advocates have been misled by elements within the ‘pro-life, pro-family establishment’ because Florida’s highest Court has now revealed itself to be a paper tiger when it comes to standing-up to the murderous abortion industry.”

Abortion activists and their Democrat allies celebrated the ruling on the abortion amendment, with President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign going so far as to suggest that putting abortion on the ballot will put Florida in play for them this year – a hope Republicans scoff at, given the massive voter registration advantage the GOP has established in Florida during DeSantis’s tenure.

The prospects for the amendment itself are a closer call. Since 2022, pro-lifers have failed to either enact pro-life amendments or stop pro-abortion ones in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Vermont, and Ohio, prompting much conversation among pro-lifers about the need to develop new strategies to protect life at the ballot box. However, polls have disagreed as to whether the Florida amendment can win the 60% needed to pass – a higher threshold than was required or reached in Michigan or Ohio.

Either way, Florida could prove to be the ultimate test case for whether pro-abortion fears really are as potent a turnout-driver as left-wing voices insist, or if Republican success in other areas can help the pro-life cause overcome pro-abortion fear-mongering.