Hundreds to thousands of demonstrators protest against abortion bans Saturday, including Floridians

By: - May 14, 2022 3:56 pm

Demonstrators held signs at the Saturday abortion ban protest in Tallahassee, with one sign referencing U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Samuel Alito (wearing red-devil horns), who wrote a draft ruling that could overturn Roe v. Wade. May 14, 2022. Credit: Diane Rado

With a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling looming on the fate of the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion case, hundreds of demonstrators in Florida’s capital chanted, sang, held signs and marched around the state Capitol complex area on Saturday, including at the Florida Supreme Court building.

It was not an isolated protest.

Demonstrations were scheduled from Tallahassee to Miami and other Florida communities and states across the country, as the nation waits to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down the nearly 50-year-old case that legalized abortion.

A protest sign in Tallahassee on May 14, 2022: “Don’t Muzzle Women’s Rights.” Credit: Diane Rado.

The decision could come within weeks, and several states are expected to outright eliminate abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to the Guttmacher Institute. However, the institute’s assessment for Florida is different: It’s one of the additional four states “that have political composition, history, and other indicators — such as recent actions to limit access to abortion — that show they are likely to ban abortion as soon as possible without federal protections in place.”

At the Florida Historic Capitol in Tallahassee, State Sen. Loranne Ausley spoke to the crowd, saying she’s sad and angry about the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court turning the clock back on five decades of abortion access. (Her Senate district includes a string of North Florida counties.)

If that happens, “utter chaos” would ensue, she believes. She added: “This has to stop. This has to stop.”

Demonstrators also chanted loudly: “Yes we can. Stop the ban.” “Our Bodies Our Choice.” “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, abortion bans have got to go.”

And the Capitol grounds showed a kaleidoscope of colorful signs, from neon green to yellow to black and white.

The words on the signs included: “Ban off our Bodies.” “The hardest choice a woman can make isn’t yours.” “Ban Viagra.”

Demonstrators march towards Florida Supreme Court building during protests over abortion bans. May 14, 2022. Credit: Diane Rado

Another sign showed red-devil horns on the head of U.S. Supreme Court associate justice Samuel Alito. It was Alito who wrote a recent draft ruling that was leaked and indicates the high court would overturn Roe v. Wade.

The demonstrators moved from the Florida Historic Capitol steps and continued to march on the sidewalks encompassing the Capitol complex, which included the Florida Supreme Court building.

While the U.S. Supreme Court will rule soon on a Mississippi abortion ban that could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade, the conservative Florida Supreme Court could also get involved over abortion bans.

The Florida Legislature in the 2022 regular session approved a 15-week abortion ban backed by GOP lawmakers. HB 5, entitled “Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality,” was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, without any exceptions for rape or incest.

The law goes into effect July 1.

 

 

 

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.

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