roe v. wade
Opinion

Roe v. Wade Down. We Stand Up.

Ever since a POLITICO leak revealed the draft majority opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, many knew what was coming. However, few could have truly predicted the scale of the disappointment and anger it would incite across the nation.

Even before Roe was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, Florida’s political climate toward abortion had been restrictive of reproductive rights. In the 2022 legislation session, the Florida Legislature passed HB 5 — a bill entitled Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality — which bans abortion after 15 weeks and offers no exceptions for rape or incest. 

The overturning of this landmark Supreme Court case means decisions on abortion are left to a state-by-state basis. As a result of trigger laws, which have already begun to take effect in other states, Florida is viewed as a “safe haven” compared to other states. 

Yes, you heard that right. The same state that just heavily restricted abortion is seen as a safe haven. 

Here in Gainesville, the community showed up for the Bans Off Our Bodies March & Rally just last month. Last Friday, the community returned to fight harder.

People all across the country rallied in front of courthouses at 5 p.m. on June 24. There was a sense of comfort knowing that in the other 49 states around the country, people were showing the same anger as here in Florida.

The groups in attendance at last Friday’s protest included National Women’s Liberation, Indivisible, Moms Demand Action, Florida Forward, Danielle Hawk for Congress, UF College Democrats and UF Generation Action. 

A whirlwind of emotions was present at the Gainesville rally. Some organizers who would normally be in attendance did not come because the weight of Roe being overturned was too crushing. The rainy and gloomy day seemed to reflect the way many were feeling. 

There were young voices who showed up to air their grievances. There was a megaphone for anyone who felt they needed an outlet to speak. 

Leah Weiser, a 14-year-old student, stated, “It’s scary to think well, what happens if something happens to me and I want an abortion when I’m older.”

She described her emotions as “very angry and confused.”

“We need to protect the woman’s right to abortion every day,” said Jasper Anderson, a 14-year-old student from Gainesville High School.

He continued, “If women do not have regular access to abortions, and do not have the means to travel, they will have unsafe ones.” 

Jasper’s sign read: “This man supports abortion rights.”

Margaret Wolf, a 21-year-old UF health science major, brought up the issues of ectopic pregnancy, septic uterus and miscarriage all being treated through abortion. 

She stated, “Banning abortions means also sentencing them to death.” 

“As someone who is pre-med and who looks forward to taking care of my patients, these patients include women who will possibly have these unfortunate conditions,” She added.

On June 25, there was another rally at the Stephan P. Mickle Criminal Courthouse at 2 p.m., with a higher turnout as there was more time to organize. 

One popular chant from the crowd was “Down with DeSantis.” The crowd also chanted vulgar words for the Supreme Court, encapsulating the feelings of anger and frustration felt by many. 

There was no time to obtain a permit to march, but the protestors marched on Main Street. 

The street was filled with a mosaic of signs. Some signs were poster boards, others were simply on paper. People even used cardboard boxes. These different mediums of protest were almost a symbol of the intersectionality necessary in this fight for reproductive rights. 

One of the most eye-catching signs from an individual was in the shape of two pills. They invited people to draw a colored dot with a marker if they too had an abortion at one point. There was a large number of dots on the sign. 

When six people who you did not elect make these life-altering decisions, you can feel powerless. But, taking to the streets was one way of regaining that power for a moment.

Anger was the prevailing emotion felt by the Gainesville community. 

So the real question is, what can we do to take back our power, for good?

Vote. Volunteer. Donate. 

Vote for progressive local, state and federal representatives. Volunteer on progressive campaigns. Donate to these progressive campaigns. Also, donate to abortion funds. 

Some abortion funds include Florida Access Network, Women’s Emergency Network, Tampa Bay Abortion Fund and National Network for Abortion Funds.

With the midterm elections coming up, we must show up. State politics matter. Roe v. Wade is on the ballot this November. 

As Marnie Wiss from Moms Demand Action stated, “Let’s stay really angry.” 

The Supreme Court has unleashed a beast. 

Organizers, activists and everyone really must use their anger to create an output to protect safe and legal abortions. It is without a doubt that young people are showing up. 

Former President Donald Trump reportedly told friends and advisers privately the ruling would be “bad for Republicans.”

So, let’s prove him right. Let’s stay angry. 

Check out other recent articles from the Florida Political Review here.

Featured image: March against the overturning of Roe v. Wade in downtown Gainesville on June 25, 2022. (Photo by Paulina Trujillo)

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