Tampa: International Women’s Day protest opposes attacks on reproductive freedom
Tampa, FL – In light of the continuing attacks on reproductive and women’s rights, both here in Florida and across the country, members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), and other organizations in the Tampa area held a rally this past Saturday, March 5 on the corner of Bearss and Florida Avenues.
Florida’s abortion ban, just passed by the legislature, would ban people from seeking abortions after 15 weeks, and makes no exception for survivors of assault, incest or trafficking. Protesters shouted chants of, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay: GOP go away” and, “Pro-life, that’s a lie, they don’t care if people die.” The rally also marked that International Women’s Day, observed March 8, has its origins in the socialist movement, and speakers highlighted this history, when the German socialist leader Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day in 1910.
A speaker from Tampa Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) had this to say, “This just goes to show that they know the people don’t want this and they know that this bill will negatively affect the working class, but are still abusing their power to pass this bill. Over 70% of Florida does not want this abortion ban yet it still passed. People in power seek to silence and repress our voices.” SDS members have previously been active in opposing this bill at the state capitol, eventually being forcibly ejected and trespassed from the grounds in a profoundly anti-democratic display.
Speakers discussed the fact that International Women’s Day should not be confined to historical study, but has real life implications today, for millions of women, primarily for oppressed nationality folks who have less access to abortion services, and who will predominately feel the effect of undemocratic attacks on reproductive freedoms. Speakers made special mention of two African American women, Tammy Jackson and Erica Thompson, who were forced to give birth alone, resulting in a miscarriage for Tammy and the death of Erica’s daughter Ava. Florida’s response to these tragic attacks is to put more women in jail for having the audacity to want bodily autonomy.
“This International Women’s Day, it’s important to take a stand against a major attack on reproductive rights: abortion bans. The history of the women’s movement empowers us to struggle even harder to defend the right to choose,” said a member of the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee.
Abortion bans do nothing to improve infant or maternal mortality rates, and that the real purpose of these laws is control over people’s bodies, primarily oppressed nationality women, both cis and trans, as well as non-binary people. The people demand basic freedoms of autonomy and privacy, not the religious controls that the state of Florida is imposing on them.