Amendment 6: Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions ...

Published: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 12:59 a.m.

A look at the constitutional amendments on the Nov. 6 ballot from the League of Women Voters of Florida Education Fund:

Amendment 6: Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights

Synopsis: Federal law prohibits the expenditure of federal funds for most abortions (exceptions include rape, incest and threats to a mother's life). If passed, Amendment 6 would enshrine those prohibitions in the state constitution. Because Florida law already prohibits public funds from being spent on abortion, this would not change current abortion funding practices. Rather, passage would show a majority of the state's voters support existing federal restrictions. There is another provision in the amendment, however, that would affect abortion law in Florida. That provision concerns a privacy right in the state Constitution that is sometimes used to thwart anti-abortion measures in Florida. In 1980, Florida voters passed an amendment that says, in part: “Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life…” This privacy clause has been cited when defending abortion rights in Florida. If passed, Amendment 6 would prevent courts from concluding in abortion cases that the right to privacy in Florida is broader in scope than the right to privacy afforded in the U.S. Constitution. Supporters say this amendment puts the state on even footing with the federal government. Opponents say it is a pre-emptive strike on a woman's right to make her own health care choices.

A vote YES on Amendment 6 would:

- Mean that Florida's constitutional right to privacy is not applicable to abortion-related issues

- Allow more restrictive abortion laws to be found constitutional by Florida courts

- Restate in the Florida Constitution federal and state law that prohibits public funds from being used for abortion or health insurance coverage of abortion

A vote NO on Amendment 6 would:

- Continue to allow Florida's constitutional right to privacy to include abortion-related issues

- Continue to extend Florida's constitutional right to privacy to any future attempts to restrict abortion

- Not place language in the Florida Constitution that prohibits public funding of abortion where it would be difficult to modify or remove

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