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Florida lawsuit seeks revised abortion 'statement'

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CBS News Miami Live

TALLAHASSEE - After two Florida Supreme Court rulings last week, backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to ensure abortion rights have filed a lawsuit over a "financial impact statement" that would be presented to voters.

Such financial impact statements appear with ballot initiatives to provide estimated effects of the measures on government revenues and the state budget.

A state panel issued a financial impact statement for the abortion measure before last week's Supreme Court rulings. That statement included caveats about litigation surrounding state abortion laws and concluded, "Because there are several possible outcomes related to this litigation that differ widely in their effects, the impact of the proposed amendment on state and local government revenues and costs, if any, cannot be determined."

But the Supreme Court last week rejected a challenge to a 15-week abortion limit that lawmakers passed in 2022. That ruling also effectively will allow a six-week abortion limit to take effect May 1. Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature approved the six-week limit in 2023.

The Supreme Court also ruled last week that the abortion rights proposal, known as Amendment 4, can go on the November ballot.

In the lawsuit filed Friday in Leon County circuit court, the Floridians for Protecting Freedom political committee said a new financial impact statement is needed because the statement approved by the panel is no longer accurate. The lawsuit, in part, said the panel's financial impact statement "largely presents outdated information about the legality of abortion under statutes and litigation unrelated to Amendment 4" and that "the inclusion of such information renders it confusing, ambiguous and misleading."

Floridians Protecting Freedom has spearheaded the ballot initiative.

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