TEMPLE TERRACE ― Emotions remained raw as hundreds took to a commercial corner near the University of South Florida to march in support of abortion rights a day after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Chants of “pro-life, that’s a lie,” and “f--k the state and legislators, people are not incubators” were met by honks of support as protesters marched along E. Fowler Avenue near N. 56th Street.
Those making speeches expressed frustration with a two-party political system. They called on local leaders and institutions to commit to protecting abortion, which remains legal in Florida up to 15 weeks after conception after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation to limit the time period in April. More than 300 people had gathered.
Chrisley Carpio, 30, with Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, said she spent the last day demoralized. The group organized the protest along with the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee.
“We read about it in history books,” Carpio said. “Never did we think we’d see these rights gone.
Carpio said she left the event feeling invigorated, seeing people turn out to fight for abortion rights.
Bill Aiman, 27, with the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee, said that polls show the majority of Americans support abortion rights.
“We live under a dictatorship of the rich and the bigoted,” he said.
One protester wore a costume fashioned after those worn in the streaming adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which depicts a society in which women serve as vessels of reproduction for their male masters. Wendy Carlos, 26, brought a coat hanger.
“This is what they used to use,” she said. “It’s not going to stop anything obviously, it’s just not going to be safe. Who would’ve thought we’d end up here again?”
Dave Coleman, 68, said he remembers what it was like before Roe v. Wade.
He remembers the talk his mom gave him when he was 12. She told him to be careful because a woman could end up “in the most horrible situation you couldn’t even imagine.”
In the 70s, he said, everyone knew someone who had an illegal abortion.
“We can’t go back 50 years,” he said. “I’d like to see the wisdom of rule of law. The last three people appointed (to the Supreme Court) brought their politics with them.”
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Victoria Hinckley, 20, said she worried about the effect overturning Roe could have.
“I don’t plan on getting pregnant anytime soon and I don’t plan on needing an abortion, but you never know until you’re in that situation, and it’s so important to have that access, especially for people who can’t necessarily afford health care because it’s already so restricted. It’s just being in control of your own body and knowing that the government that is supposed to represent you is infringing on your own body.”
Taylor Cook, 22, found out about the ruling while at work on Friday and continued a shift that she said felt surreal.
“It’s so weird to be like, ‘Oh yes, what would you like to eat today? What can I get for you?’” she said. “And no one is saying anything. It’s makes you wonder if you’re going crazy. Like did this actually happen?”
Cook rallied in Tallahassee against the 15-week abortion bill, and came out again today.
“We’re going to make them listen.”
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