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Health News Florida

Protesters rally across the Tampa Bay region in support of abortion rights

Women wearing abortion rights T-shirts and carrying posters stand at a rally in St. Petersburg.
Octavio Jones
/
WUSF Public Media
Protesters attend an abortion rights rally in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Dozens of protesters attended a rally in St. Petersburg on Tuesday as others were held in Sarasota and Lakeland.

Abortion rights activists gathered for rallies held across the greater Tampa Bay region on Tuesday, a day after the leak of a draft opinion that suggested the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to strike down Roe v. Wade.

Protests organized by Planned Parenthood took place in St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Lakeland, among other areas around the state.

Alyssa Burchfield was one of dozens in attendance at the Pinellas County Judicial building in St. Petersburg.

Two women hold pink signs with words supporting abortion rights.
Octavio Jones
/
WUSF Public Media
Abortion-rights activists hold a rally in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Burchfield said she is the survivor of a traumatic pregnancy in which she needed a late-term abortion to save her life.

"I'm here today because abortion is absolutely an essential aspect of health care for women and beyond," Burchfield said. "This is something that is absolutely essential and important to show that we respect the rights of women, that we respect women as not just vessels to carry children, but as autonomous beings."

Abortion-rights activist hold signs as the sit on the stairs of the Pinellas County Judicial building in St. Petersburg.
Octavio Jones
/
WUSF Public Media
Abortion rights activists sit gathered on the stairs of the Pinellas County Judicial building during a rally Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

Hilary Rubin said she also attended the rally to fight for women's rights. And the St. Petersburg teacher said she brought her young son to teach him to stand up for those rights.

"We have so many more important things to be fighting for at this point in our world," Rubin said. "As a teacher, I'm seeing huge amounts of vacancies that should be at the forefront of our government's mind. Instead, they're taking away a vital part of a woman's right. We don't stand and let these things happen without having a voice because that's what makes us special. That's what makes us American."

Mitchell Soule attended the St. Petersburg rally to voice his anger with the potential ruling and support his fiancé.

"This just doesn't make any sense, from my perspective," Soule said. "Being out here, especially being a man … this isn't an issue that I think I can stand fully on top of and really tell somebody like her what it is that she can do. And it's just something that I really don't feel like it's my place. And from legal perspective, it also feels wrong."

Abortion-rights activists gather outside the Pinellas County Judicial building to protest on Tuesday.
Octavio Jones
/
WUSF Public Media
Abortion-rights activists gather outside the Pinellas County Judicial building to protest on Tuesday.

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