Voters approved a ballot initiative in 1980 for a right to privacy

Updated: Nov 13

DeSantis and his enablers want the government to control private personal medical decisions. DeSantis' enablers have a majority in the House and Senate. That's unfortunate as that gives them a lot of power to do a lot of damage.

Will the right to privacy enshrined in Florida's Constitution protect us from DeSantis and his enablers?

Ballot initiatives come from the legislature, citizens, and the CRC.

Ballotpedia has a list of all of them:

https://ballotpedia.org/List_of_Florida_ballot_measures

A few of the important ones:

  • Amendment 6 (1998)--adequately fund public education-- passed by 71%

  • Amendment 9 (2018) ban off shore drilling--passed by 69%

  • Amendment 12 (2018) Lobbying Restrictions -- passed by 79%

  • Amendment 2 (2020) increase minimum wage--passed by 61%

  • Amendment 2 (2016) legalize medical cannabis--passed by 71%

  • Amendment 2 (1980) right to privacy--passed by 61%

Amendment 2 (1980) added a new section, Section 23, to the Florida Constitution to establish a constitutional right of privacy. The following underlined text was added[4]

SECTION 23. Right of Privacy. —Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life except as otherwise provided herein. This section shall not be construed to limit the public's right of access to public records and meetings as provided by law. [5]



More about the Right to Privacy

In re T.W., a Minor (1989)

The Florida Supreme Court decided the case In re T.W., a Minor in 1989, holding that Amendment 2 included a right to abortion before viability. The state Supreme Court's ruling said that Amendment 2, which established a state constitutional right to privacy, "is clearly implicated in a woman's decision of whether or not to continue her pregnancy."[1]

 

In 2011, the state legislature referred Amendment 6 to the ballot for November 6, 2012. Amendment 6 contained a provision that stated, "This constitution may not be interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those contained in the United States Constitution."[3] Voters rejected Amendment 6.

 

In 2004, the Florida State Legislature referred Amendment 1, which required parental notification for a minor to receive an abortion, to the ballot.[2] Amendment 1 exempted the notification from the constitutional right to privacy. Voters approved Amendment 1.

The ballot title for Amendment 1 was as follows:

The Legislature shall not limit or deny the privacy right guaranteed to a minor under the United States Constitution as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court. Notwithstanding a minor’s right of privacy provided in Section 23 of Article I, the Legislature is authorized to require by general law for notification to a parent or guardian of a minor before the termination of the minor’s pregnancy. The Legislature shall provide exceptions to such requirement for notification and shall create a process for judicial waiver of the notification.

 
In the fight to protect abortion rights in Florida, House Bill (HB 5) has been at the center of a legal battle with Gov. DeSantis, who continues to ignore the will of Floridians. Filed in July 2022, our legal battle to challenge HB 5 continues in court. Two-thirds of Floridians support the right to abortion, and voters have consistently cast their ballot to ensure that the state constitution provides independent protection for the right to privacy. Those privacy rights have been recognized by the Florida Supreme Court for decades. Yet, this law was passed without regard to those constitutional protections–and on the basis of claims that counter medical experts. HB 5 is blatantly unconstitutional under the state constitution. All Floridians should have the right to make private medical care decisions https://www.aclufl.org/en/news/rights-behind-headlines-gov-desantis-resorts-authoritarian-tactics-impose-his-extremist-views
In 1980, Florida voters codified the right to privacy in our own state constitution. It states that every Floridian “be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life.” Florida's Supreme Court determined that this right to privacy included the right to abortion, saying "[w]e can conceive of few more personal or private decisions...." Despite this, DeSantis is asking the Florida Supreme Court to rule that the constitution’s right to privacy does not protect the decision to end a pregnancy. https://www.aclufl.org/en/news/aclu-floridas-right-privacy-under-threat-opinion
Attorneys for abortion clinics and a doctor Wednesday urged the Florida Supreme Court to take up a battle about a new state law that prevents abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The attorneys filed a brief arguing that the Supreme Court should review a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeals that tossed out a temporary injunction against the law (HB 5). The appeals court's decision was based on whether the clinics and the doctor could show "irreparable harm" from the 15-week abortion limit. The appeals court [in a 2-1 decision] concluded that the plaintiffs could not show such harm. But the brief Wednesday disputed that conclusion. https://www.cbsnews.com/miami/news/florida-supreme-court-urged-to-take-up-abortion-law-case/
In her dissent, Kelsey argued that the court should vacate the stay that allowed the abortion limit to remain in effect. She cited that opinion Wednesday as she again dissented. “In the specific context of abortion regulation, the Florida Supreme Court has held that even ‘minimal’ loss of the constitutional right of privacy is per-se irreparable injury,” Kelsey wrote last month, She added, “We are therefore required to presume irreparable harm.” https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/2022/08/25/florida-court-rejects-abortion-law-injunction/


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