Credit: Imani Thomas.
Florida lawmakers and hundreds of activists on Tuesday rallied to raise their voices in the fight for reproductive freedom, chanting “Ban off our Bodies” as the Legislature gets closer to a final vote on a 15-week abortion ban.
The group carried signs and the speakers crowded into the Capitol complex area, near the Florida Senate building. The group was heavily supportive of abortion rights and there didn’t appear to be any anti-abortion groups at the Capitol on Tuesday.
The state House has already passed the legislation to prohibit abortions after 15 weeks, and the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday approved the bill as well, leading to a full vote in the Senate as soon as Wednesday.
If the Senate approves the legislation unamended, it would go to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his consideration.
At the rally Tuesday, State Sen. Lori Berman, who represents part of Palm Beach County, was clearly upset about what’s happening on the abortion front.
“Watching this play out in Florida’s Capitol has had me sick to my stomach,” Berman said. “We know this is a copycat of the Mississippi bill. Why would Florida want to copy a state that has the highest per capita of COVID deaths in the nation,” Berman said.
(CDC figures show Mississippi at the top of the list for deaths per capita, but New York City and New York state combined would be considered higher than Mississippi’s number.)
Berman also was referring to the 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that is under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Activist Sarah Parker was critical about Republican lawmakers who are supporting the ban.
“I believe that the legislators have forgotten one thing: This Capitol is the people’s Capitol and being a representative and a senator is not an honor, it is a privilege,” Parker said.
Some male legislators attended, to support the fight for reproductive freedom and let the women of Florida know that they are not alone.
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist also was in attendance. He is a former Republican governor and now a Democrat in Congress. He is a candidate in the Florida gubernatorial race in the Democratic primary.
“Florida is the battleground for the fight to protect women’s freedom. We stand strong and committed fighting to protect a woman’s right over their bodies,” Crist said.
State Sen. Shevrin Jones, representing part of Broward and Miami-Dade counties, said:
“We keep hearing that Florida is a free state, (but) let’s be clear: It is only free for heterosexual white males…Florida doesn’t care about our black children or our gay children and definitely doesn’t care about women,” Jones said.
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