NewsCovering Florida


Floridians Protecting Freedom vow 'all-gas, no-breaks' campaign to support abortion amendment

Confidence comes as new poll shows abortion protection effort lacks support needed in November
Posted at 8:08 PM, Apr 11, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — New polling suggests advocates don't yet have the votes needed in November to return Florida's abortion laws to about 24 weeks.

That's as the campaign backing the ballot initiative readies to officially launch this weekend.

It's only been a week and a half since Florida's Supreme Court agreed to put Amendment Four on the ballot. If voters approve, the Sunshine State would allow abortions up to the point of viability, about 24 weeks, with health exceptions as determined by a "patient’s healthcare provider."

Those behind the effort, Floridians Protecting Freedom, already firing off fundraising emails, printing up yard signs and planning to officially kick off the "Yes on Four" campaign this Saturday in Orlando.

"It is an all-gas, no-breaks campaign, as I like to say with our team," Taylor Aguilera, Floridians Protecting Freedom's organizing director, said. "We plan on running through the finish tape."

Aguilera said to expect a robust statewide effort and was confident in victory. She said Thursday her group planned to run like it was 10 points behind and felt Florida's six-week abortion ban, coming online in May, would help.

"When people hear of their loved ones that are having to experience leaving the state, or worse, having to stay and risk their lives to carry a pregnancy — I think it's going to change a lot of perspectives," Aguilera said.

Her optimism comes as new polling from Emerson College suggested Thursday Yes on Four was about 20 points behind. Of the 1,000 registered Florida voters surveyed this week, 42% said they'd vote yes on Amendment 4. That's well short of the at least 60% support needed. And while only 25% planned to vote no, 32% were undecided.

Florida's governor stands among the Republican leaders in the state amping up rhetoric to sway voters against the amendment. They're painting it as sweeping — and dangerous, knocking out almost all of the state's current abortion regulations.

During a news conference last Thursday, he predicted Amendment Four, and an effort to legalize recreational weed, would end in defeat.

"Once voters figure out how radical those are, they're going to fail," he said.

Others, like Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, said the forthcoming effort to defeat Amendment Four would focus on moderate voters — even those that might consider themselves "pro-choice."

"The effort really will be focused on those in the middle in Florida," Renner said. "When you dig into this amendment, they would find it to be far, far more extreme than, really, anything else in the country and even around the world."

National anti-abortion groups are also planning to help, including Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, though officials weren't ready to say exactly how, just yet.

"We are engaged to defeat the Florida ballot measure that would enshrine painful, late-term abortions," Kelsey Pritchard, director of state public affairs, said, "but don't have details to share at this time."