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Florida politicos react to Supreme Court ruling putting abortion on 2024 ballot

Florida Politics, April 1 

The Florida Supreme Court’s major ruling Monday will allow voters to weigh in on whether to amend the state’s constitution to protect abortion rights until the point of viability.  Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, Democrats across the country have seen the benefits in elections. Pro-abortion rights candidates and ballot measures have outperformed expectations based on past election results. Florida Democrats are hoping the same is true here this cycle, after Republicans shellacked the minority party in 2022. 

Of course, 60% of voters will need to approve the language for it to take effect. But just a spike in turnout could greatly impact the election, even if the measure ultimately falls short. 

The ruling also came the same day that the court upheld a separate 15-week abortion ban law, which will lead to a subsequent law banning abortion after six weeks to soon be in place. That could provide extra motivation for abortion rights advocates to turn out in November. 

Below is a compilation of reactions coming following the Florida Supreme Court’s decision.  

— Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz: “I applaud the Florida Supreme Court’s decision today to allow a ballot initiative protecting abortion rights in the Sunshine State. Everyone deserves the right to make their own healthcare decisions, and this referendum gives women the opportunity to voice that opinion.” 

— Democratic U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson: “Today, the Florida Supreme Court has made a pivotal ruling, granting the citizens of Florida the opportunity to vote on the legality of abortion, putting the power of choice back into our hands. Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, we’ve witnessed a relentless assault by MAGA Republicans on our right to choose, our privacy, and our autonomy over our bodies. The aggression with which these extremists have targeted our freedoms has been a slap in the face for all Americans, especially Floridians. However, one fundamental truth remains: people’s reproductive health care decisions should be made by them. It should not be subject to the mandates of the state, unelected officials, or male legislators who lack firsthand experience of the joys, pains, and challenges of a pregnancy. Now, with abortion up for consideration on the Florida ballot, we have the opportunity to reclaim the authority over our own bodies. I know what it was like before Roe v. Wade. I almost died from a stillbirth because, at the time, there were no protections for me. We cannot go back to those days. We must unite and mobilize to ensure that these rights are safeguarded within Florida law so future generations don’t have to face the same horrors as I once did. People, not politicians, should be in control of their reproductive health decisions, and that remains our goal today and every day.” 

— Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book: “Today, the Florida Supreme Court made two pivotal decisions on abortion in Florida. At the same time the court approved the Amendment 4 ballot language, paving the way for Floridians to vote YES this November and protect abortion access in our State Constitution, they also overturned precedent by ruling that abortion is not enshrined in Florida’s right to privacy. This means a 6-week abortion ban will soon be the law of the land — effectively outlawing abortion altogether in 30 days time. This is one issue where Democrats, Republicans, and Independents agree: our private medical decisions are none of the government’s business. Our freedom is on the line, and the situation has never been more urgent. Help reinstate reproductive rights this November by making sure over 60% of Florida voters support Amendment 4. It’s up to us.” 

— Florida House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell: “Because of extremist politicians, the young women of Florida today have fewer freedoms than their mothers and grandmothers. In 30 days, Florida will ban abortions after six weeks. That’s before many women even know they’re pregnant, and before a lot of tests for fetal health and viability can be done. Out-of-touch politicians have spoken loud and clear: they think they know better than us, and they should control our personal freedoms. They want to make personal health care decisions for us that they have no business making. They don’t care what we want. They don’t care what our doctors say we need. They don’t care about what’s right for our faith or our families. They don’t care that the majority of Floridians want to secure and protect access to safe, legal abortions. Floridians want, and deserve, the freedom to be healthy, prosperous, and safe. They deserve the freedom to make their own deeply personal health care decisions without interference from Tallahassee politicians. This ruling shows how critical it is that Floridians pass Amendment 4 this November, because it will protect abortion access in Florida’s constitution. An overwhelming majority of Floridians already think we should all have the freedom to make our own health care decisions.  We must take the power away from out-of-touch extremist politicians and claim our rights ourselves come November. Extremist politicians and activist judges have been attacking our rights to make our own health care decisions, and that’s why it is so important that we enshrine abortion access as a stand-alone right in our state constitution. We must speak up and draw a bright line under what should be a personal and private decision made without government interference. We owe this to everyone in Florida’s past, present, and future. Floridians deserve the right and ability to make their own decisions on when, how, and if they have children. I look forward to Floridians making their voices heard on Election Day. I believe the people will come out in force to say loudly and clearly that this decision must stay between women and their doctors.” 

— Democratic state Sen. Lori Berman: “I commend the Florida Supreme Court for recognizing the will of the more than 1.2 million Floridians who want to preserve abortion access in Florida’s Constitution. This is not just a victory for women’s reproductive rights, but also a crucial step towards upholding the principles established Roe. v. Wade. Floridians want the right to make decisions about one’s own body without government interference. It is fundamental to individual autonomy and dignity. Reproductive choices such as abortion are decisions between a woman and her physician. And now in November, Floridians will choose to enshrine that fundamental right in the Constitution.   — Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones: “Abortion IS healthcare, and every Floridian should be able to access the care they need without government interference. I applaud the organizers and advocates who gathered over 900,000 signatures to reach this moment and get this important measure on the ballot. This decision belongs with the people of Florida — not politicians. Extreme, draconian laws that limit or ban access to reproductive healthcare endanger the health and lives of Floridians and belong nowhere near our books. I look forward to working with the campaign team to mobilize voters across the state between now and November as we defend the fundamental right to bodily autonomy. “ 

— Democratic state Sen. Linda Stewart: “Yes on 4 Florida has worked hard to get this amendment on the ballot, and they fought harder against those who would like to see women’s freedom and autonomy taken away from them. I am glad the Supreme Court of Florida ruled in favor of taking the initiative to the people, and I hope to see further protections for women’s rights. There is nothing unclear about the choice being given to Floridians this upcoming November. Now is the time to register to vote and ensure our rights in the state’s constitution.” 

— Democratic state Rep. Kristen Arrington: “Wow! I kinda can’t believe it. The Florida Supreme Court just ruled the Reproductive Freedom ballot initiative is CONSTITUTIONAL and will appear on the ballot this November. This is a BIG DEAL, but our hard work is just beginning. Not only does this initiative need to receive more than 60% of the vote this November, but we know the Republican majority in Tallahassee will never stop trying to strip reproductive freedom away from Floridians. The initiative will be won at the ballot box, but that’s not enough… we MUST elect legislators who stand-up to these bullies who want to take away your choice and your voice. We have to not only break the Republican supermajority, but also unelect the Republicans who work every day to take away your rights.” 

— Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani: “The implementation of the 6 week abortion ban will be devastating, and is another example of extreme far-right Republican politicians who will stop at nothing to strip us away of our bodily autonomy and personal decision making. For everyday Floridians, regardless of party affiliation, there is overwhelmingly agreement that decisions around one’s pregnancy are personal and private. While we navigate the dangerous and life-risking consequences of this six week abortion ban I feel confident that the tide will turn in Florida come November.” 

— Democratic state Rep. Tom Keen: “I’m glad the Florida Supreme Court has cleared the way for this important ballot initiative to move forward, and I urge my fellow Floridians to make sure they are ready to vote in November.” 

— Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: “The Supreme Court’s decision to endanger the lives of millions of women in Florida by banning abortion before most women know they’re pregnant is outrageous and dangerous,” Mucarsel-Powell said. “Yet Rick Scott proudly stated he would have signed this ban — a ban with hardly any exceptions — into law if he were governor. Floridians are tired of extreme politicians who want to take away our freedoms. It has never been more important for us to show up this November to put an end to government interference, vote to protect abortion rights in Florida, and stop Rick Scott from passing a national abortion ban.” 

— Republican congressional candidate Anthony Sabatini: “The members of the Florida Supreme Court that voted to allow the ambiguous pro-abortion amendment to be put on the ballot should be impeached & also NOT retained in the next election” 

— Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried: “Today’s rulings prove exactly what is at stake at the ballot box,” Fried said. “Florida is now home to one of the strictest abortion bans in the country — a ban so extreme that most women won’t even know they’re pregnant before they pass the cutoff date. This November, it’s not just access to safe, legal abortion that’s on the line — it’s access to emergency medical care, medication abortion and contraception for the millions of women who depend on it each year. Reproductive rights initiatives have won on every ballot since Donald Trump paved the way for the fall of Roe v. Wade, because the majority of Americans agree that doctors should decide what’s best for their patients — not the government. Over one million Floridians signed the petition to get Amendment 4 on the ballot, and that same politically diverse coalition will ensure Florida remains a beacon of freedom in the South. Florida voters understand that voting yes on Amendment 4 in November is our last line of defense.” 

— Republican Party of Florida Chair Evan Power: “We are very disappointed that a deceptively worded pro-abortion amendment is allowed to appear on Florida’s ballot in November. If passed, it will allow abortions up to 6 months of pregnancy and, thanks to a loophole, even to point of birth. Florida will become the most pro-abortion state in the southern U.S. That is NOT what Florida wants, and the Republican Party of Florida will fight to inform voters on the dangers of this amendment. It is of no surprise that Nikki Fried and the Florida Democrats will be celebrating this radical pro-abortion amendment on the ballot because their extreme agenda knows no bounds. FL Dem Chair Fried was even afraid to truthfully answer the simple question of whether a man could get an abortion. Florida voters know better and they will reject the radical agenda being pushed by FL Dems this November.” 

— Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: “Now Florida women are facing an even stricter abortion ban, and their right to make their own health care decisions will literally be on the ballot this November. The fight against these new restrictions on access to abortion will shine a brighter spotlight on Rick Scott’s long, dangerous record of supporting draconian abortion bans. In November, Florida voters will stand up for women’s freedom to make their most personal medical decisions by rejecting this abortion ban and firing Rick Scott from the Senate.” 

— Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: “Today’s news is a serious blow for anti-abortion extremists Anna Paulina Luna and María Elvira Salazar. There’s no question that when abortion rights are on the ballot, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike turn out to vote to protect their freedoms. Floridians know that Luna and Salazar can’t be trusted to defend their rights. While voters were mourning the loss of Roe v. Wade, Luna and Salazar were celebrating the decision that has now led to chaos and heartbreaking stories across the country. However, Luna and Salazar certainly aren’t celebrating today — they know they’ll be held accountable for their anti-abortion records in November.” 

— Yes on 4 Florida, which sponsored the proposed referendum: “Today the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Amendment 4 meets the requirements for this year’s ballot. Floridians WILL get a chance to vote to reject government interference with abortion. Celebrate by joining us on April 13th in Orlando!” 

— League of Women Voters co-president Cecile M. Scoon: “This issue is critical to the League because without the ability to make reproductive decisions for one’s own body, one cannot participate equally in our democracy,” Scoon said. “Florida’s six-week ban goes against the will of Floridians across the political spectrum. Now, it’s up to us as, advocates and citizens, to ensure our personal medical decisions are ours and ours alone to make. Women’s rights are human rights! The League will continue efforts to educate citizens and motivate them to vote yes on Amendment 4 to ensure the fundamental rights of women to control their bodies. Such control ensures that women can participate fully in our precious democracy.” 

— EMILY’s List: “The stakes for protecting reproductive freedom in Florida have never been higher. With a near-total abortion ban set to go into effect in 30 days, essential health care will be pushed out of the hands of millions because of this Florida Supreme Court decision. But Floridians have the opportunity to fight back against this Republican law that strips them of their bodily autonomy just like voters have in every other abortion ballot initiative across the country. Make no mistake: abortion is on the ballot this November when Floridians have the opportunity to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution and elect Democratic pro-choice women up and down the ballot who will protect their fundamental freedoms, like Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-SEN) and Lucia Báez-Geller (FL-27).” 

— Laura Goodhue, Executive Director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates: “We’re thrilled the Court has let the voters decide the fate of abortion access in Florida by approving Amendment 4 for November’s ballot, putting Floridians one step closer on the path to reclaiming their bodily autonomy from political interference. This comes at the same time they have allowed a 6 week ban to go into effect, making this initiative more important than ever. When politicians ban or restrict abortion, it does nothing to protect anyone’s health or safety. At Planned Parenthood, the doctors and nurses have seen firsthand the devastating impact abortion restrictions have had on patients in Florida and across the country. Lawmakers should focus on helping ensure greater access to care and healthier outcomes for patients, rather than interfering in Floridians’ personal medical decisions and attacking health care professionals. The extraordinary groundswell of grassroots support Amendment 4 has received is no surprise to us. Today’s decision paves the way for Florida voters to stop these ridiculous abortion bans once and for all. We now look forward to voters enshrining Amendment 4 in our state constitution this November, and returning these decisions back where they belong: in the hands of patients and those they trust, rather than meddling politicians.”