Downtown Gainesville Groups Get Together To Fight Florida’s Six-week Ban

Downtown Gainesville Groups Get Together To Fight Florida's Six-week Ban

Around fifty people came together in the Gainesville City Hall Plaza on East University Avenue on April 6 at 1:00 p.m. to protest the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to ban abortions for six weeks starting May 1. There was traffic in downtown Gainesville, and the sun was shining.

On April 1, Florida’s highest court upheld the state’s 15-week abortion rule, which led to a six-week ban. In a different decision, the court will, however, give people a chance to vote in November on whether or not the Constitution protects abortion.

Because of the decision, the Sunshine State is now one of the hardest places in the country to get an abortion. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, there have been direct votes on abortion rights in several states, including Michigan and Ohio. Florida will now join those states.

Some of the groups in charge of the downtown protest were the National Women’s Liberation, the Gainesville Radical Reproductive Rights Network, the League of Women Voters, and Planned Parenthood Generation Action.

At the protest, people spoke to the crowd in turns, telling their stories, making comments, and expressing worries and dreams.

Mariah McGovern is an activist who is 32 years old and really cares about abortion problems. She said that because she had five younger sisters, she grew up with women.

McGovern says that everyone should use their voice in any way they can because she thinks that any amount of participation can make a difference.

She said, “Getting out there and even just going to a meeting is really so powerful.”

Casey Willits, the commissioner for District 3, went to the protest and told people to vote and fight against the ban.

He said, “That’s how democracy works.” “Talk to one person at a time, knock on one door.”

Willits talked to the crowd about his worries about the school system in the city.

He said that doctors might not want to study at UF if they can’t get reproductive health care, which would hurt the school’s academic life.

Ashari Brianna Oswalt, who is 20 years old, is the president of the Planned Parenthood Generation Action group at Santa Fe College. As someone who has been sexually abused and had a miscarriage, Oswalt said she will never be comfortable and will always fight for other women who have been through the same things.

“It doesn’t need to be known across the state what I do with my own body and life,” she asked.

Oswalt said that one way to advocate is to learn more about the problem. He suggested that reading neutral publications or law trackers as a starting point.

Amy Trask is running for the Florida House District 22. Her son, Jacob Brouard, is a campaigner and 10 years old.

The two people went to the event to show support for the neighborhood.

He said, “My mom and I really like petitioning and working for women’s rights.”

People were given pamphlets with more medical and legal information and were urged to join the Yes on 4 campaign, which is working to protect abortions in the Sunshine State.

The groups are planning more protests. On April 13, they will be in Orlando, and on April 20, they will be in Gainesville at the Civic Media Center on South Main Street.

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