Florida Voters Defeat A Republican-Backed Amendment To Restrict Abortion Rights

After they could not pass stringent abortion restrictions in the state legislature, Florida Republicans added an amendment to the ballot that represented an unprecedented push to limit abortion access. The measure would have curtailed insurance coverage and privacy protections for women:

Flustered by their inability to pass stronger abortion restrictions, lawmakers put Amendment 6 on the ballot — which would have prohibited state funding of abortion services or insurance coverage that covered abortions, and also removed the privacy protection in the constitution that had prevented stronger parental-consent laws from surviving legal challenges.

But voters in the state confirmed their support for women’s reproductive freedom and rejected Amendment 6 yesterday. The restrictive measure lost with only about 45 percent of the vote when it needed 60 percent to pass. Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said that Floridians “sent a clear message” to politicians that they have no place making medical decisions for women. “Whether assaults on women’s health are made at the ballot box, in the legislature or in court, the time has come to say enough is enough. Women deserve better,” she said.

At the same time as Florida voters successfully defeated an attack on women’s access to abortion, however, Montana approved a parental notification law that will require abortion providers to notify parents at least 48 hours before performing the procedure on women under 16 years old. Two-thirds of voters cast their ballots in favor of the measure. But doctors will not have to notify a patient’s parents in situations where a youth court waives notification or in cases of medical emergency.