FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - South Floridians are reacting to the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Hours after the unprecedented leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion, pro-choice advocates in Miami and in Fort Lauderdale said the abortion rights landscapes already changing in Florida could become unrecognizable.
“We’ve known that this was gonna happen a long time ago,” said a woman.
“I’m just angry that, here we are 50 years later, that my children and my granddaughters are going to have less rights than I do,” said Debby Miller, a protester.
“The draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, it was leaked to the press last night, was a window into a potentially dark future,” said Weston U.S. Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz (D.-Fla).
“We have to stand united,” said Nikki Fried, democratic candidate for governor. “We have to make sure that our voices are heard.”
The wounds are fresh for Florida democrats who lost the fight against a 15-week abortion ban during the 2022 session.
“I think that we have always been talking about it and believing that this was something that could happen and what we have been alerting people too all along,” said democratic Plantation Florida Rep. Lauren Book.
“This is not where we should be, fighting this fight our grandparents fought for already,” said democratic Tamarac U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick.
“I wanted my pregnancy, but when I found out that there were fetal abnormalities, I was faced with a choice. You want to know who was in that room? My husband, my doctor, me and my God. Politicians do not belong in that room,” said democratic Weston state Rep. Robin Bartleman.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s bill in mid-April, the law modeled after Mississippi’s 15-week ban, and that is the law at play in the Supreme Court, and the case that may ultimately erase the constitutional right and throw the question back to the states.
A handful of counter protesters appeared at the Fort Lauderdale rally. The exchanges were heated.
“I wanted to come out here and defend the innocent pre-born babies and their moms who were often pressured into abortion, because we care about the mom and the baby,” said pro-life demonstrator Michael Ray.
“This is a deeply personal, painful decision that women must make with their families, and there is no place at the table for any elected official,” said Bartleman.
“This is not a culture war issue, this is about health care. This is our bodies, this is us being able to decide our futures and our destinies,” Orlando democratic Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani.
Pro-choice activists said the focus now needs to be on the ballot box.
“We need to really look at who we’re voting for and not just vote for pro-choice candidates but candidates that will be active in passing legislation that is protective of reproductive freedom,” said Monica Skoko Rodriguez from Women’s Emergency Network.
One counter-protester, however, is in favor of the gutting of Roe v. Wade.
“This is the right thing for the Supreme Court to do. It’s disgusting that this thing was leaked, but you know what? Let’s give it back to the states,” said the protester.
Despite his voice being vastly outnumbered, a few others who agreed with him showed up.
During the abortion debate in Tallahassee, many of the lawmakers against the proposed abortion ban said this is something that they feared, that eventually we would see more abortion legislation that would be more restrictive, and it looks like something like that, at least at this point would be allowed under the U.S. Constitution, if this decision actually is rendered the way that this draft opinion appears to be.
Many of the demonstrators on the pro-choice side, including the elected officials, said the next place this battle needs to be fought is the ballot box.
Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.