Jun 13, 2023 - Politics

Over 130k signatures collected to put abortion on Florida ballot in 2024

Illustration of a shadow about to sign off on the health symbol.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Floridians Protecting Freedom has collected over 130,000 signatures since early May for their petition to place a constitutional amendment protecting abortion access on next year's ballot.

Why it matters: If the effort is successful, it could have massive implications for reproductive health care in the South, where nearby states have bans that have forced abortion clinics to close.

By the numbers: Abortion rights supporters need over 800,000 signatures by Feb. 1, 2024, to get the amendment on the ballot. The group told Axios it shattered its target of collecting 3,000 signatures by the end of May.

Details: The amendment reads, "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."

  • Fetal viability is generally around 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, according to the National Library of Medicine. The amendment doesn't impact requirements that parents be notified before a minor has an abortion.

State of play: Floridians Protecting Freedom placed "hubs" — where people can pick up and drop off petitions — across the state, including more than seven in Pinellas County.

  • The organization has trained thousands of volunteers, according to Amy Weintraub, reproductive rights program director of Progress Florida, who is involved in the ballot initiative.
  • Weintraub told Axios that volunteers visit large events, like concerts and sporting events, and community locations, like libraries and college campuses, to gather signatures.

What they're saying: The signatures are "the best evidence that we have to show the polls are right," Weintraub said. "Floridians don't want abortion banned. They want government out of people's private medical decisions."

The other side: Gov. Ron DeSantis touted the state's commitment to the pro-life movement when he signed a six-week abortion ban in April. "We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida," he said then.

What we're watching: If Floridians Protecting Freedom manages to reach the signature threshold required, the state's Supreme Court would have to approve the language of the ballot question.

  • It would then need support from 60% of voters to succeed.

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