DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The debate over abortions and restrictive laws regulating a woman’s right to choose will bring crowds to the streets Saturday Washington, D.C., and across our nation.
More than 650 protests are scheduled for Saturday at least six in our area from Delray Beach to Fort Pierce. The protests are fueled by the Texas Heartbeat Act which bans most abortions in the state once cardiac activity is detected. On Sept. 22, similar legislation was introduced in Florida.
Mikki Royce remembers living in Boston juggling college and taking to the streets for what would become The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion in 1973.
”It was about women coming into their own and saying, ‘hey, you know what I don’t need a man to make a decision for me. I’ll make my own decisions thank you very much,” said Royce.
She’s one of thousands of women and men taking to the streets on Saturday dissatisfied with the decisions of some state politicians.
”It’s a feeling of futility,” Royce added.
Sentiments echoed by Women’s March Treasure Coast organizer Emily Fingerhut. A first-time organizer like so many behind a mounting grassroots opposition. ”The more it gets circulated the better. It is not just for this one individual topic but women’s rights in general,” Fingerhut said. “Terrible things are being called out immediately through social media.”
There’s a growing list of men activated by the conversation.
”Politicians need to stick to policy that helps people and not play doctor,” said Allan Hendricks, Equality South Florida organizer. “It’s just stirring a pot for people to be fighting against each other.”
Hendricks is referring to the state’s who following the Texas Heartbeat Act passed similar laws that ban abortion within the early weeks of pregnancy. Florida’s House Bill 167 changes the word fetus to “unborn child.”
It would also ban doctors from performing an abortion after cardiac activity is detected. And there’s also a $10,000 civil award for people who successfully sue for violations. Read more here.
”It’s vigilante justice. We usually don’t allow private citizens to enforce the law. That’s usually not the way things work in America," said Mindy Koch, who plans to attend Delray’s Women’s March.
It’s this enforcement that’s has opponents from Delray Beach to Fort Pierce protesting their concerns about the proposed bill’s future and the future of Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.
”When it comes to Florida, we will determine how this bill rolls out based on who we vote for in the 2022 elections,” Koch said.
There’s a lot of discussion and steps to make this bill a reality. The Florida Legislature’s session doesn’t resume until January 2022. In the meantime, organizers say they’ll voice their concerns in the streets and online.
And here are the six events happening on Saturday in our area:
Women's March Treasure Coast
Alto Lee Adams, Sr. U.S. Courthouse, 101 South U.S. Highway 1, Fort Pierce
Women's March for Reproductive Rights
Roosevelt Bridge, Stuart
March to Defend Women's Rights Starts
2 p.m. Lake Worth City Hall. 7 North Dixie Highway, Lake Worth
Ruth Sent Us Women's March South Florida
Hurricane Grill,1500 Gateway Blvd., Boynton Beach Rally For Reproductive Rights
Old School Square. 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
Using this map you can find others and RSVP to attend: https://map.womensmarch.com
More information can be found here.
Rally for Reproductive Justice Palm Beach County
(this event is not in ZIP code listing)
West Palm Beach Waterfront