Ruling expected on proposed abortion amendment

Photo courtesy: Emani Howard

Planned Parenthood is one of the donors and supporters of Amendment 4, which the Florida Supreme Court is expected to rule on its status before April 1.

Amendment 4, known colloquially as the Right to Reproductive Freedom Initiative, is candid and concise enough to appear on the election ballot this November, according to its supporters.

Floridians Protecting Floridians sponsored the initiative and submitted 910,000 signatures to the Florida Division of Elections, to ensure the amendment was on the ballot. Although FPF spearheaded the campaign, numerous grassroots organizations in Florida have publicly supported the measure.

Tsi Smyth, the public relations director for Women’s Voice of Southwest Florida, said the proposed amendment is an opportunity for the public to have a say in policies concerning abortion.

“It’s really important that the voices of Floridians are heard,” she said.

Smyth says that it’s important that government officials allow medical professionals and individuals to make healthcare decisions.

 “Floridians want control over their own medical decisions, so this measure is a means of putting that power back in the citizens’ hands,” she added.

Liberty Counsel, one of the opponents of the initiative, filed a challenge to the amendment at the state Supreme Court. During the hearing, which took place in January, opponents and justices alike expressed concerns about the proposed amendment’s language, specifically the term “viability.”

Daniel Schmid, an attorney for Liberty Counsel, believes the amendment fails to address potential safety and legal concerns. “It’s pretty far-reaching. It makes it so that basically every branch of government, legislature and judicial, is unable to place limitations on abortion.”

Schmid says that the definition of “healthcare provider” is also too vague, “By failing to provide a definition of a ‘healthcare provider’ it fails to place limitations on who is allowed to provide abortion services,” he said.

 Concerns over the lack of proper clinical oversight for abortions have increased following the FDA’s decision to undo the ban on mail-in abortion pills, according to a study published in 2023 by KFF, self-managed abortions, or abortions induced by medication distributed via telehealth or online dispensers, accounted for more than half of the total abortions performed in the U.S.

Schmid argues this amendment would prevent the state from regulating abortions altogether.

“It shouldn’t be on the ballot,” he said during the hearing.

The Florida Supreme Court is expected to decide by April.