Tuesday rallies planned to oppose abortion bans

Pro-choice rally
Pro-choice rally in St. Petersburg. By Sean Kinane / WMNF News (22 January 2016).
Amy Weintraub Progress Florida
Women’s groups don The Handmaid’s Tale garb to protest what they call a “fake clinic.” By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (23 Aug. 2018).

Now that states like Alabama and Georgia have made it illegal for women to get an abortion in most cases, pro-choice activists are fighting back against the bans. There are several rallies planned for Tuesday using the hashtag #StopTheBans.

Amy Weintraub is the reproductive rights program director at the Progress Florida Education Institute. She’s also with the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg area. Those groups are helping to organize a rally in St. Petersburg.

“The rally is called stop the ban, and it’s referring, of course, to the abortion ban, that have been passed in several states in the last few weeks. We’re asking that reproductive rights supporters from all over Tampa Bay to come together on Tuesday, that’s tomorrow, May 21, in Downtown St Pete at 12 noon. So, for St. Pete workers, it could be a convenient lunch hour action to take. And we’ll be at the St Pete Judicial Building, which is 545 1st Avenue North.”

So 1st Avenue North, between 5th Street and 6th Street.

“Correct, it’s right near Mirror Lake.”

About a block south of Mirror Lake.

We’ll get to all the other bans around the country first, but I do want to talk about what happened in the Florida Legislature this session.

So in the recently completed legislative session in Tallahassee, a bill that was nicknamed the ‘fetal heartbeat bill’ failed, and so did a bill that would have required minors to get a parent’s consent, or a judicial order waving that consent before an abortion.

The fetal heartbeat bill would have forbidden physicians from performing abortions once cardiac activity had been detected. That could be in about 6 weeks of pregnancy and that’s before most women even know they are pregnant. So we’ll get to a lot of things about those. But first, your reaction to those two items failing in the Florida Legislature.

“It was very interesting, because the conservative Republicans do have the lion-share of power in the legislature and, we are, of course, thrilled that those didn’t get passed, that they didn’t get more traction.

“Why that happened, it is possible that the leadership of both houses of the legislature saw that there were so many more important things that needed the energy and the time of the elected officials, and so they chose not to really prioritize those bills this year.

“In the meantime, our movement, the reproductive rights movement, we are at unprecedented levels of organization and more and more of people are identifying as abortion rights supporters and are willing to be mobilized, and so we were able to get a lot of energy in Tallahassee over the course of the two months of the session.

“And, perhaps that spoke to the legislators, reminding them that 7 out of 10 Floridians want abortion to stay safe and legal. And that this is not really something that has popular support, restrictions, that is.”

Listen to the full show here.


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