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Florida voters will decide on abortion rights this fall. Here's what some are saying

ORLANDO, Fla. – Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court released two decisions that could significantly change abortion rights in the state.

Justices triggered a 6-week abortion ban to take effect May 1 by upholding the state's 15-week restrictions. The same day, justices ruled that Amendment 4, which would protect abortion up to 24 weeks, can appear before voters on the ballot in November.

If approved, the amendment would add the following language to the state's 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."

Voters on both sides of the issue showed up at a rally in downtown Orlando over the weekend.

"Yes on 4" supporters

Organizers of the "Yes on 4" campaign said about 1,500 people came out to support the amendment, including Gail Quinn.

Gail Quinn and friends from her condo association say they are voting "Yes" on Amendment 4.
Danielle Prieur / Central Florida Public Media
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Central Florida Public Media
Gail Quinn and friends from her condo association say they are voting "Yes" on Amendment 4.

Quinn carried a sign that said, "We Aren't Ovary Acting!!!" and brought a group of women from her condo association who support the amendment.

"They should have the right to determine whether they bring a child into the world or whether they need an abortion for other healthcare reasons," Quinn said about pregnant people.

Anne Pierre drove several hours from Palm Beach County to attend the rally in Central Florida. Her sign read, "Stop Political Interference."

Pierre said she's encouraging everyone in Florida to vote "Yes" on Amendment 4.

Anne Pierre is a "Yes" vote on 4. She drove up from South Florida for the rally.
Danielle Prieur / Central Florida Public Media
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Central Florida Public Media
Anne Pierre is a "Yes" vote on 4. She drove up from South Florida for the rally.

"This is a democratic country where everybody has the right," Pierre said. "No one has the right to make a decision for a woman to know when they should carry a baby or not. At the end of the day, they will be the one taking care of it."

"No on 4" supporters

Wearing white, dozens of counter-protesters were also at the rally. Many held rosaries and crosses and called on voters to reject the amendment.

Alma McCormick held a sign that read "Vote No on 4," and "Amendment 4 = Abortion on Demand."

McCormick said she strongly disagrees with allowing abortion up to 24 weeks and will vote "No" on the amendment.

Alma McCormick said she is voting "No" on Amendment 4.
Danielle Prieur / Central Florida Public Media
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Central Florida Public Media
Alma McCormick said she is voting "No" on Amendment 4.

"It makes me not only sad, but it also makes me feel really bad for humanity. Because human life is for everyone, and the fact that some people don't really respect human life at any stage is really unbelievable at this point," McCormick said.

Christine Crafton also opposes the amendment. She held a sign that said, "Say No, Absolutely Not, to Abortion Amendment 4."

She's worried the amendment would make abortion too readily accessible in the state, well into the second trimester.

"This particular amendment is particularly offensive because it just totally opens up the door to a rather cavalier decision to abort one's child," Crafton said.

Police oversee the rally at Lake Eola Park in Orlando where protesters and counter-protesters engaged in a heated debate over Amendment 4.
Danielle Prieur / Central Florida Public Media
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Central Florida Public Media
Police oversee the rally at Lake Eola Park in Orlando where protesters and counter-protesters engaged in a heated debate over Amendment 4.

Crafton said she wishes the state would do more to educate women on other options, outside of abortion.

Amendments in Florida only pass if 60% or more of voters approve them. That's a higher bar than most other states, including Michigan and Ohio where voters passed amendments enshrining abortion rights in their state constitutions.

If it passes in November, Amendment 4 will overturn both the 15-week and 6-week abortion bans.

Florida is one of about a dozen states with an effort to get abortion rights on the ballot this fall.


Danielle Prieur is a reporter at Central Florida Public Media in Orlando.

Copyright 2024 Central Florida Public Media

Danielle Prieur