A campaign to protect a woman’s right to have an abortion has gathered more than enough signatures to appear on the Florida ballot on Nov. 5, provided the state supreme court approves the wording. CONTRIBUTED

Florida voters could have the chance on Nov. 5 to protect a woman’s right to have an abortion by approving a change, or amendment, to the state constitution.

A statewide campaign led by Floridians Protecting Freedom spent nearly a year gathering the required number of valid signatures, which is the first step to changing the Florida Constitution. If enough signatures are collected to show support for a proposed change, then it can be added to an upcoming state election ballot. 

Floridians Protecting Freedom collected 996,512 signatures — more than 100,000 more than the 891,523 that were needed by Feb. 1.

Now what?

Now, the Florida Supreme Court, which has gotten increasingly more conservative since Gov, Ron DeSantis appointed most of the justices, must determine whether the proposed wording of the ballot language “describes the chief purpose of the amendment or revision in clear and unambiguous language” and addresses a single subject, according to the Florida Constitution.

The justices are not supposed to consider the merits of the case or the proposal, just the proposed ballot wording.

The state Supreme Court on Feb. 7 heard arguments from both sides  of the issue — Floridians Protecting Freedom and Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody, who opposes abortion. 

The court’s ruling on the Amendment 4 ballot initiative is due by April 1. 

If approved, then all Florida voters will be asked whether they support the following amendment to the state constitution: “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.”

Mandy Miles
Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.