By Brendan Pierson
(Reuters) – Florida’s attorney general urged the state’s highest court on Wednesday to block voters from deciding whether to amend the state constitution to protect abortion, arguing the measure was misleading and unclear .
Nathan Forrester, a lawyer for Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody, told the seven justices of the Florida Supreme Court that the amendment was a “Rorschach test.” He said it would effectively eliminate the state’s power to regulate abortion, but some voters might not realize the extent of the measure.
The proposed amendment, which last month garnered enough signatures to be voted on in November, would ban laws that “prohibit, penalize, delay or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the health of the patient.” , as determined by the patient’s health care. provider.” Abortions are currently illegal after 15 weeks in Florida.
Courtney Brewer, who represents Floridians Protecting Freedom, the group sponsoring the measure, said the language in the amendment and associated summary was clear.
“A reasonable voter gets all the notice they need in this case,” she said.
The judges, all appointed by Republican governors, appeared torn on the issue. Many were skeptical of the state’s argument that the amendment was unclear about its scope.
“Our job is to determine whether this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Judge John Couriel said. “That’s all we have to do.”
Chief Justice Carlos Muniz then called the amendment “a wolf that poses as a wolf.” He said Florida residents “aren’t stupid” and can decide whether they find the law too broad.
However, Muniz said there was another possible problem with the amendment, as the current state constitution could be interpreted to grant rights to fetuses. If the amendment changed those rights, it would need to notify voters of the change, he said.
The state did not raise that argument, although Forrester said he had “potential” when Muniz…