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Common Dreams

Reproductive Rights 2012

Ballot Issues We're Watching

Common Dreams staff

Only two states—Florida and Montana—will take up questions about abortion this November, although the issue remains a controversial question for candidates everywhere.

Voters in Florida and Montana will decide on election day whether to weaken reproductive rights in those states, and — in Florida — pave the way for even stronger restrictions in the future.

Montana's referendum would require parental consent for abortion for anyone younger than 16, while a constitutional amendment in Florida will determine if public funds can be spent on abortion or health coverage that includes abortion — and could pave the way for future parental consent efforts.

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

"This proposed amendment provides that public funds may not be expended for any abortion or for health-benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion. This prohibition does not apply to an expenditure required by federal law, a case in which a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would place her in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, or a case of rape or incest. This proposed amendment provides that the State Constitution may not be interpreted to create broader rights to an abortion than those contained in the United States Constitution. With respect to abortion, this proposed amendment overrules court decisions which conclude that the right of privacy under Article I, Section 23 of the State Constitution is broader in scope than that of the United States Constitution."




The Basics

Florida's Amendment 6 would prohibit public funds for abortion or for health coverage that includes coverage of abortion. It would amend the state constitution to prevent state courts from interpreting the Florida Constitution’s right to privacy to provide any rights to choice that are broader than provided under the federal Constitution, and which forbids the use of any state funds for abortion except as required by federal law (i.e., in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother).

The Florida state constitution includes a right to privacy that in 1989 led to a court ruling blocking a law requiring parental consent for abortions, but narrowing the definition of privacy could help possible future efforts to restrict abortion rights, such as parental consent.

No on 6

  • Nix-Six is one of several campaigns to defeat Amendment 6 and keep public funds flowing for abortion and health coverage that includes coverage for abortion, and to maintain the current definition of privacy in the state's constitution.
  • Opponents of Amendment 6 say the Republican-controlled Legislature proposed the amendment to pave the way for Roe vs. Wade to be overturned by limiting abortion rights and narrowing the state's definition of privacy, which currently guarantees every person "the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person's private life." That right protects the right to an abortion.
  • Opponents include: Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
  • The No on 6 campaign has been endorsed by groups including the Vote No on 6 Committee, the Vote No Committee, I Am Choice and the League of Women Voters of Florida.
  • The No on 6 campaign has raised $3.2 million.

Yes on 6

  • Yes on 6 is the campaign to pass the amendment that prohibit public funds for abortion or for health coverage that includes coverage of abortion, and redefine privacy in the state constitution.
  • Proponents argue that Amendment 6 would "strengthen parental rights" by paving the way for future legislation to require parental consent for abortion.
  • Supporters include: Florida Right to Life, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops and Citizens for Protecting Taxpayers and Parental Rights.
  • Donors include: the Knights of Columbus, the Archdiocese of Miami and the Diocese of St. Petersburg.
  • The Yes on 6 campaign has raised $409,411.

Public Polling on Florida Amendment 6

9/27-9/30 Suffolk Univ/WSVN-TV 44% 40% 5%




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Montana Referendum 120
Parental Notice of Abortion Act

"LR-120 prohibits a physician from performing an abortion on a minor under 16 years of age unless a physician notifies a parent or legal guardian of the minor at least 48 hours prior to the procedure. Notice is not required if: (1) there is a medical emergency; (2) it is waived by a youth court in a sealed proceeding; or (3) it is waived by the parent or guardian. A person who performs an abortion in violation of the act, or who coerces a minor to have an abortion, is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability."

FOR requiring parental notification prior to abortion for a minor, providing for judicial waiver of notification, repealing prior statutes, and providing penalties.

AGAINST requiring parental notification prior to abortion for a minor, providing for judicial waiver of notification, repealing prior statutes, and providing penalties.

The Basics

Montana's Referendum 120 seeks to change the existing law to require anyone younger than 16 to notify at least one parent at least 48 hours before the procedure, if she plans to have an abortion, and would make it a crime for a physician to perform an abortion on anyone under 16 without parental notification except in a medical emergency or when a youth court, parent or guardian waives the requirement.

No on 120

  • No on 120 is the campaign working to maintain the existing Montana law that does not require parental notification for anyone under 16 to obtain an abortion. Opponents say requiring consent could "impose necessary obstacles, delays and health risks," and note that some teens "have good reason to fear telling their parents they are pregnant — such as psychological or physical abuse. NARAL Pro-Choice Montana says the referendum is "dangerous," and that "the government cannot mandate healthy family communication where it does not already exist."
  • No on 120 has been endorsed by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the ACLU of Montana, the League of Women Voters, NARAL Pro-Choice Montana and the Montana Human Rights Network.
  • The No on 120 Facebook Page is here. To donate, click here.
  • Information on campaign donations was not available.

Yes on 120

  • Vote for 120 is the capaign seeking to require parental consent for abortion for those younger than 16. Proponents argue that parental consent is necessary because parents "cannot do their job when the law keeps them in the dark, and government intrudes in the relationship they have with their child."
  • Supporters include: Montanans for Parental Rights and the Montana Family Foundation.
  • Campaign finance information was not available.

Public Polling on Montana Amendment 120                                  

9/27-9/30 Montana State University 70.3% 21.5% 8.2%
9/17-9/19 Mason Dixon Polling & Research 65% 28% 7%





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