Even many Republicans in Florida don’t want the state’s restrictive abortion ban, with thousands of conservative voters signing on in support of a constitutional amendment that would enshrine the right to abortion in the Sunshine State.
The petition proposes ensuring abortion access until the point of viability—roughly 24 weeks into pregnancy. That’s four and a half months longer than the state’s impending six-week abortion ban. So far, the petition has garnered 753,305 valid signatures, according to the Florida Division of Elections website, up from 687,000 last week. And more than 150,000 of those signatures come from Republicans.
The measure must receive at least 891,523 valid signatures within the state before a February 1 deadline to get on the November 2024 ballot.
“The vast majority of Floridians don’t support an abortion ban,” Anna Hochkammer, executive director of the bipartisan Florida Women’s Freedom Coalition, told The Guardian. “In the past, we’ve been protected by the explicit right to privacy contained in the state constitution, but we want specific language in the constitution that prohibits government interference with access to abortion.”
The Amendment to Limit Government Interference With Abortion reads, in part, 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.”
“How can my party be so vigorous in its defense of the right to bear arms yet not defend a woman’s right to make decisions about her own health care?” one Florida Republican, Carlos Lacasa, told the outlet. “I believe in small government, and morality cannot be legislated without an overwhelming consensus of the governed—and there is no such consensus on this issue.”
It’s another sign that Republican officials are out of touch with their bases. On Thursday, several Republican legislators slammed the Supreme Court for picking up a case threatening access to a drug called mifepristone, which comprises one-half of the abortion pill, fearing that a prohibitive ruling could put them at risk in the next election.