Florida group proposes ballot initiative to outlaw abortion and birth control as first-degree murder.

Florida Group Intends to Outlaw Abortion and Birth Control as First-Degree Murder

Florida Group Intends to Outlaw Abortion and Birth Control as First-Degree Murder

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Sept. 30 2016 5:53 PM

Florida Group Intends to Outlaw Abortion and Birth Control as First-Degree Murder

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An extreme abortion “abolitionist” group is trying to get this on the ballot in 2018.

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A bunch of anti-abortion activists in Florida are sick of incremental laws that restrict how, where, and when women can get abortions. They want to end it altogether.

Christina Cauterucci Christina Cauterucci

Christina Cauterucci is a Slate staff writer.

“The people of Florida murder 72,000 babies every year while the ‘pro life’ politicians we’ve elected to protect them attempt to regulate the practice of child sacrifice as if it were healthcare, instead of addressing it as murder,” states Abolish Abortion Florida on its website. The organization, whose logo is a marlin jumping through an upside-down triangle and clutching a twig in its mouth, has announced plans to put forward a ballot initiative in the 2018 election that would amend the state’s constitution to classify abortion and most forms of contraception as first-degree murder. In Florida, that charge is punishable by death.

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There’s no way this proposed amendment would ever make it onto the ballot—the organization would need to get a massive number of signatures, equal to 15 percent of the last presidential election turnout. This year, that would be more than 683,000 signatures, though that will change after this November’s election. After turning in the signatures by February 2018, the initiative would need 60 percent of the vote that November to become a constitutional amendment.

As dead-end as this proposition is, it’s still both horrifying and hilarious to consider what these people are demanding. “Any person who performs or procures an abortion shall be guilty of premeditated murder in the first degree, and any person who attempts to perform or procure an abortion shall be guilty of felony attempted murder,” the amendment reads.

It defines “abortion” as “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device, to intentionally kill an unborn human being”; it defines “unborn human being” as “the offspring of human beings, from the moment of fertilization of the ovum of a female individual by the sperm of a male individual until either live birth or natural death, whether conceived and/or located inside or outside the body of a human female.” This would mean that anyone who destroyed unused frozen embryos made through IVF, took emergency contraception, or used hormonal birth control could be prosecuted for first-degree murder and possibly executed.

The extremist Abolish Abortion Florida group believes that anti-abortion legislation like TRAP laws actually work in favor of reproductive rights advocates. Its website mocks current popular abortion regulations like so: “A preborn baby may only be murdered by an assassin who has admitting privileges at a local hospital.” The group has also made a wonderful video of a guy attempting to prove that TRAP laws have made abortion clinics more attractive to women seeking care. At an abandoned old Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, he gasps at the peeling stickers on its signs and the ugliness of its parking lot. So gross! When that clinic shut down due to new regulations, the man says, a new, better one opened in its stead. This one is a huge, state-of-the-art facility—“very clean, very clinical … almost like a hospital”—where protesters have to stand further away because of a long driveway. “It meets all the killing requirements of Texas pro-life laws,” he says.

So Abolish Abortion Florida, part of the Christian evangelical Abolish Human Abortion network, is trying to move anti-abortion lawmakers and activists away from unconstitutional regulations, like many TRAP laws, and into unconstitutional abortion bans. “We are not pro-lifers—we are abolitionists,” the group writes. “The Supreme Court cannot make murder legal. Pro-life politicians have passed incremental regulations for decades, but it's time to abolish abortion by recognizing it for what it is—cold-blooded murder—and prosecuting it accordingly.”