10 hours of protests in downtown Fort Myers over abortion bill

Reporter: Taylor Wirtz Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

The Florida House of Representatives is expected to take up a bill this week that would prevent most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. On Monday night, people held signs and chanted in a 10-hour-long protest against the bill in downtown Fort Myers.

It’s a joint effort between Lee County and the Women’s March Fort Myers.

There was an open mic where people voiced their concerns over the bill and what the fallout would be.

Protests in downtown Fort Myers over abortion bill. CREDIT: WINK News

Protesters stood resolutely outside the old Lee County Courthouse on Monday for ten hours. They held signs hoping to make their voice heard when it matters the most.

“We lived through pre-Roe v Wade times and thought we had achieved some level of dignity and respect and control over our own bodies. And, yet, we’ve got young women here who are seeing those same rights, that their moms had just disappear,” Vice President of Lee County NOW, Kathy Mayo said.

Young women like Caitlin Turner and Daniela Pepe, both FGCU students, showed up to the protest in downtown Fort Myers.

“It’s scary, ” Turner said.

“I’m just scared. Like… my mom’s from Venezuela, where abortion’s incredibly illegal. And she tells me about situations of people having to get illegal abortions, and like unsafe clinics…it’s just scary, because I see that myself and the women around me and just the people around me who have the ability to get pregnant, and we’re all just really, really scared,” Pepe said.

The location wasn’t chosen at random. The local office of representative Jenna Persons-Mulicka, a sponsor of House Bill 7, lies just inside the building. That bill moving through the Florida Legislature, along with Senate Bill 300, would establish a near-total ban on abortions after six weeks. But critics said it might not work as intended.

“People are going to do whatever they need to do to stay in the situation that they need,” Turner said. “And if they need to do something unsafe, that is going to hurt their bodies because of this legislation. They will. So Fight, fight for the right for safe laws and for safe health care.”

Protests didn’t just happen in Fort Myers either. People chanted and held signs up in Tallahassee too. These bills make exceptions for abortions in cases of rape and incest or where the mother’s life and physical health are at serious risk.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is trying to appeal a judge’s ruling suspending FDA approval for the abortion pill known as Mifepristone.

Protests broke out over the weekend as a result of the block.

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