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WUSF Public Media is focused on empowering your participation in democracy this election season. We’ve created places where you can ask questions about the election process, the issues and candidates. That feedback will inform the reporting you see here. We’re listening.

Abortion rights are top of mind for some young Florida voters

Young woman stands in front of a fountain outside
Stephanie Colombini
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WUSF Public Media
Zoe McClure, 18, plans to support candidates who pledge to fight for abortion rights when she votes for the first time on Election Day.

Some people who filled out WUSF's Citizens Agenda say they will vote for candidates pledging to protect access to abortion and other forms of health care.

Some voters in the greater Tampa Bay region say preserving abortion rights is their top priority this election season. They filled out WUSF's Citizen's Agenda, where we invited our audience to share issues that are important to them.

Zoe McClure, 18, is preparing to vote for the first time. She says she's sad to see some states restrict abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this year and is concerned contraception could be next.

The college freshman is pursuing a career in communications and says she wants to choose when and if she has a child.

“What if I need [to visit] Planned Parenthood one day, what if I do need an abortion one day?” said McClure. “I need to know that I have those rights accessible to me, especially as a young college student.”

She and Wishy Kane, 28, say they oppose Florida's new ban on abortions after 15 weeks and will be voting for candidates who share their views.

woman stands in front of a tree in a park
Stephanie Colombini
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WUSF Public Media
Wishy Kane, 28, considers herself a mother by choice, for choice. She's concerned overturning Roe v. Wade could have consequences beyond abortion and says upcoming elections are critical.

Kane has two kids of her own.

“When I had my first daughter, I didn't find out until I was almost five months, I was about 19 weeks,” said Kane. “I wasn't showing and I have some health issues so I just ... I didn't know.”

She fears 15 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest, could just be the beginning.

“I think that they're [lawmakers] getting very comfortable and they may pull it back to six weeks or five weeks, and that’s only one or two weeks late,” said Kane. “That's normal to have even for people who don't have health issues, to just go, ‘It’s [their menstrual period] late, I'm stressed,’ and they don't know and then they're past the window and they have no choice anymore.”

Kane said she was grateful to have family support and financial resources as a young parent but knows many women, nonbinary and transgender people won't have the same privilege.

young man stands up against a tree
Courtesy of Malcolm Rosebud
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Malcolm Rosebud, 18, says not everyone who gets pregnant is in a position to be able to give birth and support a child. He says people should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies.

That was on Malcolm Rosebud’s mind when he said abortion is influencing his vote even though as a cisgender man he can't get pregnant.

“If women want to get an abortion they should be able to because not all women are able to sustain a child,” said Rosebud, 18. “We should decide what we do with our bodies instead of having others decide that.”

A recent Spectrum News/Siena College poll found 57% of likely Florida voters opposed overturning Roe versus Wade. But only 21% said abortion was the top issue affecting their vote, third after threats to democracy (27%) and economic issues (58%).

The three young residents interviewed for this story say they are not single-issue voters, and will also weigh candidates' stances on the economy and LGBTQ rights.

I cover health care for WUSF and the statewide journalism collaborative Health News Florida. I’m passionate about highlighting community efforts to improve the quality of care in our state and make it more accessible to all Floridians. I’m also committed to holding those in power accountable when they fail to prioritize the health needs of the people they serve.