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Hundreds march in Tampa in defense of reproductive rights, Roe v. Wade

By Chrisley Carpio

Tampa protest against attacks on reproductive rights.

Tampa, FL – Over 250 people marched on July 2, in downtown Tampa from Curtis Hixon Park to City Hall in protest of the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, which overturned a person's constitutional right to an abortion as determined by Roe v. Wade. Speakers called it a slap in the face of all women and people who can get pregnant, taking to the streets with their demands. They demanded a reversal of this ruling and federal protections for women's rights, reproductive rights, and the right to get a safe, legal abortion.

Many groups were represented among the speakers, such as the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee, the Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Tampa branch of the Democratic Socialists of America, the Tampa Party for Socialism and Liberation, and more.

Speakers pointed out that the ruling would disproportionately affect Black, Chicana and many other oppressed women who already face many barriers to health care and economic stability. They would suffer the most from unplanned pregnancies and are at the highest risk of pregnancy-related deaths and legal retaliation in states where abortions are now illegal.

Ariana Petrocky from the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee talked about the significance of reproductive rights and what it means for women. “This is about more than just bodily autonomy, although it is certainly also about that. In the Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, it was recognized that the ability for a woman to participate equally in society and the economy was facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive life. The right to an abortion means the right to life, to the highest standard of mental and physical health, the right to benefit from scientific progress, the right to be able to decide the number of children, the right to be free from pregnancy-related health risks, pain, torture and death. And they won't go back.”

Meanwhile, from Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, the student Jeena Patel drew attention to the Republican legislators waiting in the wings in several states to pass abortion ban bills that are now green-lighted by this ruling. Despite litigation, the Florida abortion ban, House Bill 5, went into effect on Friday, July 1. “This is a decades long battle that the GOP won, through incredibly corrupt means, and we as the people have to fight back. The majority of this country supports abortion, and we will not let the minority opinion reign supreme.”

Laura Rodriguez from the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee ended the rally on a hopeful note. They gave the crowd a reminder of the huge protests of the last few days, and that people are visibly ready to win back the right to an abortion the way they won it, through protests, struggle, and direct action.

“After the murder of George Floyd,” Rodriguez said, “people realized how many Black people were being murdered by killer cops in their cities. And they fought back. Now with Roe repealed, people realized that the government do not care about our realities and hardships. What they care about is control over our communities, including our bodies, so they can work us to death to fill their pockets. We know that if they gave a damn about us, we would not have to fight for our lives in the streets. Now here we are, taking time off from work to fight for our rights while they sit in their shiny home thinking about what rights they can take away to stay in office, to make even more money. But we won't let them. We're going to fight, and we're going to win!”

#TampaFL #RoeVWade #reproductiveRights #AbortionRights