TALLAHASSEE, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations are helping to bankroll a multimillion-dollar ballot initiative campaign aimed at enshrining the “right” to abortion up to fetal “viability,” about 24 weeks’ gestation, into the Florida state constitution.
The move comes just weeks after Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new bill that would ban abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected.
Pro-abortion political action committee “Floridians Protecting Freedom” introduced the “Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion” on May 8, aiming to get the initiative on the ballot in 2024.
According to the group, the proposal would codify the “right” to abortion “into Florida law by creating a constitutional amendment that explicitly blocks the implementation of laws that prohibit, delay, or restrict abortion access.”
If successful, it would protect legal abortion in Florida until “viability,” a relative term that is typically interpreted as about 24 weeks’ gestation, a period when unborn babies are nearly fully formed, can kick their legs, and can hear their mother’s heartbeat.
UPDATE (03/07/23): Walgreens won't dispense abortion pills in 20 states
The pressure is paying off. Walgreens' plan to dispense abortion pills nationwide is now in tatters, with the pharmaceutical giant announcing that it won't mail the pills to, or sell them within, 20 states.
The news comes after 20 Republican attorneys general warned CVS and Walgreens that doing so would be in violation of federal law and that they were opening themselves to penalties.
But we can't rest on our laurels with this boycott: Walgreens and CVS will only listen to us when their profits are threatened — we need a HUGE boycott so that blood money they get from selling abortion pills is dwarfed by the profits they lose when pro-life America shops elsewhere.
Even Politico admitted in its reporting that "pressure" from pro-life voters like you helped change Walgreens' plans, so now we're asking you to take the next step: simply share this petition with your friends and ask them to join the boycott.
Walgreens and CVS will begin selling mifepristone — a powerful chemical that kills unborn children in the womb — if pro-life America does not ACT NOW.
Pro-life Americans MUST STOP the widespread sale and distribution of mifepristone by sending a message that only big-box stores will understand: A NATIONAL BOYCOTT OF WALGREENS AND CVS.
Walgreens and CVS are the newest back-door channels for the pro-abortion movement, now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.
Will you act now to STOP abortion drugs from reaching your pharmacy?
Our work in the pro-life movement is FAR from over, especially now that Walgreens and CVS have chosen to push deadly drugs in their stores and in our communities!
SIGN and SEND a message to Walgreens and CVS! This is completely unacceptable!
We must stop abortion from reaching our pharmacies and stop the abortion industry from poisoning our communities — before it’s too late.
These big-box stores respond only to profit. The pro-life movement must enact a national boycott if the abortion industry dares flood our neighborhoods!
SIGN and SEND a strong message to Walgreens and CVS: unless they immediately reverse course, the entire pro-life movement will BOYCOTT their stores!
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CVS & Walgreens announce plans to dispense abortion pills after Biden FDA loosens restrictions
Backers of the proposal include the radical and influential American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), abortion giant Planned Parenthood, and local left-wing organizations like Florida Rising and Women’s Voices of Southwest Florida, WLRN reported.
Mark Minck, state chairman of Protect Human Life Florida, told LifeSiteNews in a Wednesday email the move to codify abortion didn’t come as a surprise since “the actions of those committed to the ever-expanding culture of death are quite predictable.”
“I don’t think it was ever a question of ‘if’ an effort to enshrine abortion within the Florida Constitution would take place, but rather ‘when,’” Minck said.
Florida Right to Life President Lynda Bell told LifeSite Wednesday her organization “will do everything in its power to stop this campaign,” which she predicted will not ultimately succeed.
“Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are very unhappy about the recently passed pro-life legislation,” she said. “We will be meeting to strategize our response to this effort.”
READ: Pro-life activists in Florida launch effort to ban abortion through state constitutional amendment
Sarah Standiford, national campaigns director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told Politico on Thursday that Planned Parenthood and its partners intend to shell out millions of dollars in an effort to attain the requisite 891,523 valid signatures to put the initiative on the ballot in 2024.
Minck said gathering that many signatures will be “a tall order in Florida.”
“It appears they will be utilizing both volunteer and paid petition gatherers, so while only time will tell how motivated their volunteers will be, if they throw enough money into paid gatherers they definitely have a chance to meet the state required thresholds,” he said.
Minck compared the abortion amendment initiative with another ballot proposal currently in the works that would codify the recreational use of marijuana via constitutional amendment.
He said the corporate backer of the marijuana initiative sees it as an “investment that can return tremendous profits, if they succeed,” adding that legalized abortion, like recreational marijuana, presents an incentive for corporations to cash in.
“[T]he legalized killing of preborn children is also a really big business in Florida, so I would expect we’ll see [significant] contributions from corporate entities who also have a vested financial interest in the expansion of abortion,” he said.
If and when the pro-abortion organizations obtain the necessary signatures and receive approval of the initiative’s wording from the Florida Supreme Court, the measure would still need 60% of voters to approve it in order to pass.
That, Minck said, presents the “taller hurdle.”
He explained the initiative’s backers are “asking 60%” of Floridians “to choose the expansion of death over the preservation of life” and “will spend even more money during the amendment phase to try to deceive enough Florida voters into believing that a ‘yes’ vote somehow equates to protecting Floridian’s freedoms.”
Defending the proposal, Kara Gross, legislative director at the ACLU of Florida, argued in a Monday press release the initiative is important because “Floridians deserve the freedom to control their lives, their bodies, their health care, and their futures.” Framing the killing of preborn babies as a “personal, private health care decision,” Gross said that Florida moms should be able to make that choice “without political interference.”
However, Minck told LifeSite “[i]t’s a ludicrous proposal … since in reality it simply ensures the lack of freedom, and the ultimate destruction of hundreds of thousands of additional vulnerable preborn boys and girls in the years to come, should they succeed.”
In addition, Bell pushed back on claims that Floridians have been disenfranchised by the state’s recent legislative moves to protect the preborn, arguing that the “Florida Legislature is a reflection of the will of Florida’s voters” and “[t]hey did the job they were sent to do. She told LifeSite “the goal of the pro abortion lobby is unfettered access to abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy for any reason,” leading Florida Right to Life to conclude that “the viability statement is a ruse as they have included the health exceptions and as we all know that’s wide open to liberal interpretation.”
“As usual, Florida Right to Life will be rolling up our sleeves and readying for a fight!” Bell said.
In his comments to LifeSite, Minck also urged Florida pro-lifers at the grassroots level to respond by helping accrue enough signatures for his group’s earlier and opposite ballot initiative — one that would enshrine legal protections for the preborn into the Florida constitution.
“The single most important action that true pro-life groups can take to head this off is to help us get enough signed petitions to qualify our proposed Human Life Protection Amendment for ballot placement in 2024,” Minck told LifeSite. “We began circulating our current petition last August, and the qualification thresholds and timelines are the same for us as they are for the pro-death initiative.”
The pro-life leader called on “every church and organization in Florida that professes to be ‘pro-life’ to make their members and supporters aware of our petition,” which would explicitly declare that preborn babies “at any stage of development” have a “God-given right to life.”
Registered Florida voters interested signing on can access the petition on the HumanLifeFL website and share the link with family and friends.
“[W]hen an abortion industry backed initiative finds itself on the ballot with our citizen-backed effort to protect the lives they seek to destroy, imagine the discussions that will take place in the Sunshine State on this life and death topic in the months leading up to the 2024 election,” Minck said.
“As for the results? At best, Florida voters see the light and approve our proposed amendment recognizing the God-given right to life of every preborn child. At worst, our presence on the same ballot creates a vote-splitting effect, and neither of us receive the required 60% for approval,” he said. “Either way, we win, and precious lives are saved.”
Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood-backed effort to block Florida from enacting any meaningful abortion restrictions comes just weeks after DeSantis signed a heartbeat bill to ban most abortions in the Sunshine State after about six weeks’ gestation.
READ: ‘Historic day’: Florida’s pro-life leaders react to six-week abortion ban signed by DeSantis
Though signed into law, the measure won’t take effect until 30 days after a favorable decision is rendered in an ongoing state Supreme Court case concerning the state’s current 15-week abortion ban, signed in April 2022.
Thanks to a decades-old state Supreme Court ruling, Florida currently recognizes a “right to abortion” under the state constitution’s privacy amendment, presenting challenges for the 15-week ban and any other pro-life laws. However, Florida’s Supreme Court may now be in a position to overrule its 1989 decision due in part to DeSantis’ conservative judicial appointments and the U.S. Supreme Court’s June overthrow of Roe v. Wade, which had established a federal “right to abortion” in all 50 states.
The state Supreme Court’s January decision to hear a challenge to the state’s 15-week ban could pave a way for the rollback of the statewide “right to abortion.” The Court has allowed the state to continue enforcing the law, at least until it reaches a final verdict.