St. Petersburg Protestors Rally Against Abortion Bans

May 21, 2019

Protestors rallied in downtown St. Petersburg Tuesday as part of a National Day of Action against strict anti-abortion laws passed in several states. Florida lawmakers considered similar bills this year, but none of them passed.

Amy Weintraub of Progress Florida said activists need to keep pressure on Gov. Ron DeSantis and the legislature's Republican majority.

"Please, let's keep Florida as a state that allows the full spectrum of reproductive health care that allows abortion access," Weintraub told reporters before the protest. 

Florida already requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. Plans on the state's health insurance exchange only cover the procedure if the mother's life is at risk.

Supporters of Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, and other groups chanted "stop the bans" and waved signs in front of the Pinellas County Judicial Center on 1st Avenue North. 

Speakers implored those in attendance to call their state lawmakers, including Republicans, and urge them not to follow the path of their GOP colleagues in Alabama, Georgia, and other states.

Rep. Jennifer Webb (D-St. Petersburg) said such legislation would break the spirit of bipartisanship in Tallahassee.

"They know that issues like infringing on a woman's right to chose or on our health care decisions absolutely create an atmosphere where people don't want to work together," Webb said. 

Florida conservatives will likely try again next year. But the abortion bills passed in other states will likely face challenges in the federal courts.