Activists Rally for Expanded Abortion Access, Urging Support for Amendment 4 Outside City Hall

Activists Rally for Expanded Abortion Access, Urging Support for Amendment 4 Outside City Hall

Yesterday, activists from National Women's Liberation, Gainesville Radical Reproductive Rights Network, Gators for Gender Affirming Care, The Party for Socialism and Liberation, Planned Parenthood Generation Action SF College Chapter, and several other advocacy groups campaigned for increased rights to abortion access and reproductive healthcare in front of Gainesville City Hall.  

Florida’s six-week ban on abortion is set to go into effect on May 1st; however, Floridan voters will have the right to vote on Amendment 4 in November, which would codify increased access to abortion through a state amendment if it reaches at least 60% of the vote.  

Amendment 4 would not constitutionally guarantee the right to an abortion under state law; it would guarantee the right before fetal viability or when a patient’s healthcare provider determines they need an abortion for medical reasons. 

Under the new amendment, the state legislature would maintain the authority to enact a law requiring the parents of a minor to be notified if their child is seeking an abortion. 

The protest promoted a rally being held in Lake Eola Park in Orlando at 12:00 pm next Saturday by the campaign known as Floridans Protecting Freedom. 

A press release by local organizers said this would be followed up by a “Super Saturday” event on April 20th, which is a training campaign being held around the state for local organizers who want to become involved, with Gainesville’s being held at the Civic Media Center at 10:00 am.

Protest leaders offered attendees the opportunity to share how Florida’s recent legislation has been affecting them personally. Among these speakers was Alachua County Commissioner Anna Prizzia. Prizzia said the state was overreaching its power. 

“I already face a constant onslaught of the state coming in and preventing things we’re trying to do locally that our residents are asking us to do... Now they’re coming in and telling me what I can do with my own body. That is completely unacceptable.” 

Commissioner Prizzia speaking to protesters

An organizer with several local activist groups, Roni Militello, said that abortion access is a healthcare issue and affects everyone.

“At some point, everybody, regardless of political affiliation, should be concerned about these things because it's going to impact you regardless. They don't ask you for your voter card when you go get healthcare. There's polarization and staunchness in the GOP, while the tangible impacts on the law that they have are real. More folks are starting to be more aware of how contradictory most of their thinking is and hopefully open up to that.” 

A number of people running for office were at the protest, including Gainesville resident Amy Trask (D), who is running for District 22 of the FL House of Representatives in order to overtake Chuck Clemons’ (R) seat who is terming out. 

Trask is running her campaign on women's rights and education reform, saying that through a background in conflict resolution, she would give Floridan legislators a different perspective to combat laws that would restrict bodily autonomy. 

Trask offered advice to commissioners in the City of Gainesville and Alachua County on how they should respond to Floridan legislators' increasing restrictions on reproductive healthcare. 

“We should be passing a resolution that states that we believe in the fundamental rights that women have. They should make a public stand and a public statement on it.” 

A local organizer with several groups present, Mariah McGovern, says they’re hopeful that Floridans will vote “Yes” but uncertain if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will accept the decision Floridan voters come to. 

“A lot of us are thinking that and nervous about DeSantis’ response to the ballot passing. I’d like to remain hopeful because it's important to be hopeful to get people out to vote ‘Yes’ on the amendment. The reaction to it passing, it's safe to say that it could be aggressive.” 

McGovern went on to detail their beliefs about Gov. DeSantis’ goals. 

"I think he's trying to create a new generation of workers for capitalist America, and specifically, he's trying to do that in the State of Florida."

The President of the Santa Fe College Chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action, Ashari (Brianna) Oswalt, said that our society can't turn a blind eye to each other's problems.

"I made a promise to myself when I was ten years old. If you become blind to other people's issues, you become complacent and compliant with the oppressor. Come out here. Try to fight... Make sure you have your voice out there."  












Jack Walden

Jack Walden

Jack Walden is the creator of Gnvinfo and a 2nd year journalism major at Santa Fe College. From general information, to exposing falsehoods and corruption, Jack seeks to deliver the truth.
Gainesville, FL