Florida’s Catholic Bishops Announce Opposition to Amendment 4

Florida's Catholic bishops have announced their opposition to Amendment 4 - which will be on the ballot this November.

Florida’s Catholic bishops have come out strongly against Amendment 4, an amendment that would codify into the state constitution a measure to protect a woman’s right to an abortion.

The measure comes before votes on the general election ballot on November 5, 2024. 

“This amendment, if passed, would legalize full-term abortion without protections for the preborn child, even when the child is capable of feeling pain,” A release from the Florida Catholic Advocacy Network said. 

The release said 84,000 abortions took place in 2023. 

RELATED: Florida Catholic Bishops Initiate Campaign to Preserve Death Penalty Rule

Why Is This On The Ballot?

The Supreme Court of the United States’ Dobbs decision overturned an earlier decision in Roe v. Wade, which had previously guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion. The decision was a 6-3 ruling by the nation’s highest court. 

Now, each state can make its laws on abortion and access to the procedure. Some 15 states have put significant bans on abortion in their states, most of which are in the southeastern portion of the country. 

Currently, Florida bans abortions after six weeks. Patients must make two trips to a clinic – one for counseling and another at least 24 hours later to get an abortion. Patients must have an ultrasound. 

What Does the Ballot Initiative Say?

The language that will be on the ballot is as follows:

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. This amendment does not change the Legislature’s constitutional authority to require notification to a parent or guardian before a minor has an abortion.”

To vote ‘yes’ on this bill would support establishing a right to an abortion before fetal viability. The National Library of Medicine puts fetal viability at 24 weeks gestational age. 

To vote ‘no’ on this bill would not establish a woman’s right to an abortion before 24 weeks of viability. The current threshold of six weeks would stand. 

A supermajority of 60% of voters must approve the measure on the ballot for it to pass. 

What Will This Ballot Amendment Do?

If the amendment passes with 60% or more of the vote, Florida will enshrine a woman’s right to an abortion in Article I of the Florida Constitution. 

Changes to the Florida Constitution can only be made by a vote of the public with a 60% supermajority. 

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