BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – More than 500 marches took place across the U.S. on Saturday and more than 50 across the state of Florida, many pro-choice supporters rallying for reproductive rights.
Tampa Bay organizers planning these marches are in protest of the Texas and Mississippi abortion bans and similar proposed legislation in Florida.
8 On Your Side’s Christine McLarty went to Bradenton Saturday morning where hundreds were marching but some passing by the rally didn’t agree with their message.
Kate Danehy-Samitz and Sarah Parker helped organize the event at Rossi Park to protest the potential abortion ban in Manatee County.
“The ordinance that we found within (Manatee County Commissioner) James Satcher’s email had five key points. The first outlawed abortion at any stage of pregnancy. As soon as it’s confirmed, you’re no longer eligible for an abortion. It also outlawed any abortion-inducing medication, like ‘Plan B,'” said Danehy-Samitz.
She said it allows civil lawsuits at a minimum of $10,000 and if you’re found to have violated any of these terms, you can face a fine of $500 and 60 days in jail.
The group is demanding to end what they call the dangerous and escalating attack on reproductive rights by Manatee County commissioners. They said it’s an overstep of their authority.
“We are ringing the alarm. Our county is burning and is on fire. If they pass this ordinance, even slightly like the one we found in James Satcher’s email, it will not only be more restrictive than Texas, you can expect it to spread across the whole United States of America,” Parker said.
Rhonda Mackin and Penney Robinson are best friends. They were taking a stroll and just so happened to pass the event. They watched the rally from the sidewalk and have different views.
“I’ve had an abortion myself and I was on contraception so obviously that was not in my plan,” Robinson said.
She is pro-choice, while Mackin said she’s pro-life.
“I have always been pro-life, Roe vs. Wade should never have happened. I feel like abortion is murder and that’s all there is to that,” Mackin said matter-of-factly.
However, Mackin said there should be exceptions.
“Okay, now I’m going to backtrack on myself. If the baby is going to be sick or if the mother’s health is in danger (then there should be an exception),” she said.
Rally organizers encourage everyone to make their voice heard.
“We’re going to be the battleground in Florida within counties for abortion. If the state passes it that’s one thing, counties can fight. But if the county passes this, it sets a domino effect for all other counties to do it,” Parker said.
On a local level, advocates from Saturday’s march hope that they’re joining together will encourage lawmakers in Manatee County to uphold reproductive rights.
Meanwhile, the marches happening nationwide are taking place just days prior to the Supreme Court’s return to session on Oct. 4. Advocates around the country hope the pressure from hundreds of marches and rallies will steer lawmakers around the nation to uphold reproductive healthcare.