When Florida voters go to the polls, they will not just vote on key races of president, Congress and state officials. They will also consider Amendment 6, a ballot proposal designed to limit taxpayer funding for abortion.
The pro-life measure would also limit the so-called right to abortion under the state constitution, making it easier for pro-life laws, that have reduced abortions by as much as 50 percent in some states, to stand up in court.
A new poll by Suffolk University/7NEWS finds the measure has the support of a plurality of voters, but not the 60 percent necessary to approve it. The survey included 600 registered voters and was conducted from Sept. 27 to Sept. 30. The results indicate 44 percent of voters said they support the measure, while 40% oppose it. Fifteen percent said they were undecided and 2% did not state an opinion.
Supporters say that would create an opening to push for broader parental-consent laws for minors seeking abortions in Florida, an effort overturned in 1989 because of the state’s constitutional language. The amendment would not ban expenditures for abortions in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is threatened, conforming with federal law.
However, the Orlando Sentinel reports on how the pro-abortion side, including Planned Parenthood, is working overtime to make it so Florida residents must continue paying for abortions.
The critics may have a secret weapon: unpopular Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who has been a vocal supporter of legislation to reduce the number of abortions.
In Web banner ads that started popping up online last week, a group called “Vote No on 6” tries to link Scott to the amendment, depicting a woman in a hospital gown who looks like she’s preparing to have a gynecological exam with the headline “Does Rick Scott belong here?”
Another has check-mark images of a female doctor, Scott and a cat.
“Who do you trust with your most personal health-care decisions?” it asks.
The banner ads are the first salvo in paid media from the Vote No on 6 group, which has raised more than $1.9 million, mostly from Planned Parenthood affiliates spanning the country from California and Hawaii to Montana and Virginia. The Sarasota Planned Parenthood chapter kicked in $250,000 two weeks ago, according to the latest campaign reports. Most Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida do not perform abortions.
No on 6 has also purchased $1 million in television ad time to hit during the final days before the Nov. 6 election.
But Jim Frankowiak, the head of the group sponsoring the ballot measure, Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights, told the paper: “Government should not pay for abortion. National surveys keep telling us that, whether you’re pro-life, pro-choice and other. It’s kind of amazing what they’re saying and how much money they’re spending.”
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The state constitution states: “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life … .”
Amendment 6 would clear the way for legislation requiring parental consent for a minor’s abortion. The conservative Legislature passed such a requirement in 1999, but the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional because of the state’s privacy language.
“Our focus is, no government dollars for abortion – that we want to be aligned with federal law – and we want to open the door to future legislation that will bring back parental consent for the abortion of a minor female,” said Frankowiak.