Bans Off Our Bodies rally draws thousands, including candidates, to Miami-Dade park

A couple thousand people demonstrated at Ives Estates Park in North Miami-Dade on Saturday to protest the Supreme Court’s possible reversal of Roe v. Wade. The showing was part of a nationwide Bans Off Our Bodies movement. Chanting “Abortion rights now!” amid signs and clothing decorated with pins and messages in support of a woman’s right to choose, the event drew activists as well as candidates for higher office come mid-term elections in November. Earlier this month a draft majority opinion was published by Politico and revealed that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito argued that “Roe should be overturned because it was wrongly decided 50 years ago.”

The leak galvanized pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates alike. Saturday’s Bans Off Our Bodies Miami grassroots coalition of Miami local activists and organizations included Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equity, Miami National Organization for Women and Blue Wave Coalition Miami Dade.

“You’re seeing democracy all across our state and across our country going into action that people are frustrated,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried told the Miami Herald at the park. Fried has announced she is running against Gov. Ron DeSantis as a Democrat. At the event she said “people are frustrated that a Supreme Court would take away rights and what is next on the chopping block? Whether it is Roe v. Wade and other reproductive rights, It’s also segregation, gay marriage. So many things are on the line and people are understanding it, and this is how they are going to show their frustrations by voting them all out of office.” That’s the message organizer Kat Duesterhaus had touched upon in a media release on Friday that stated organizers’ goals for the demonstration. “The coalition fears that overturning Roe v. Wade is only the beginning,” Duesterhaus said. Other rights like same sex marriage or interracial marriages could be overturned, too, the organizers fear.

The groups cited Florida’s recent passage of House Bill 5 that bans most abortions after 15 weeks and contains the strictest prohibition passed in the state since Roe v. Wade became law in January 1973. The bill, signed by DeSantis, does not come with exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of rape, incest or human trafficking but only if a woman’s health is threatened or if their baby has a “fatal fetal abnormality.” READ MORE: Abortion ruling resets Florida landscape Bans Off Our Bodies Miami is part of a nationwide call to action put out by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Women’s March, MoveOn, and UltraViolet. The Miami-Dade rally featured speakers from Southern Birth Justice Network, Women With Broken Heels.

Fried’s message at the rally? She would “use the power of the governorship to do everything possible” to help women choose what they want to do with their bodies. “This is a pivotal moment in our society and we need men and women across our state and across our country to organize and to feel the energy and people in elected office need to see that people are angry, people are frustrated and we’re not going to take it lying down,” Fried told reporters.

“I am outraged that men like Justices Atila and Kavanaugh want to strip our bodily autonomy,” said Miami NOW Co-Chair Columba Yebaile in a statement. “Members of the Latinx community already face disproportionate barriers in accessing healthcare including abortion. Roe is the minimum, and to have that removed is absolutely unacceptable to me. As a Latina and a mother, I am ready to fight for the rights of my community and future generations.” “We will not go back, and we will not be silenced,” Duesterhaus, Board Member of Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equity, said in a statement. “We’re sending a clear message that the majority in this country support abortion and that all people deserve access to abortion care when they need it, on the timeline they choose, and in the community they trust.”

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