ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Big crowds formed in St. Petersburg Tuesday, with local leaders promising to stand tough against a possible reversal on Roe v. Wade and Florida’s new abortion law.
One group rallied for abortion rights outside the Pinellas County courthouse. Another group marched up and down the streets of St. Petersburg.
Their message was loud and clear: Keep abortion legal.
Kitty Hahn-Campanella was one of hundreds saying enough is enough.
“You don’t make a difference if you don’t say what you believe,” Hahn-Campanella said. “I was carrying this sign with this slogan 30 years ago, and I was pregnant at the time.”
She’s angry, confused and upset, a day after a leaked draft document suggests the U.S. Supreme Court will vote to overturn the right to an abortion.
“Makes me so sad because we’ve seen the evidence of how powerful it has been for women to have freedom,” Hahn-Campanella said.
State Representative Michele Rayner organized the rally outside the courthouse, hoping to give people a space to express their frustration.
Rayner said Tuesday was also a call to action, urging people to talk to their senators, get involved and vote.
“Sick because I know it’s not just going to stop at Roe, I know the rest of our Democratic values are in peril,” Rayner said. “It’s concerning on all fronts whether you identify as a man or woman.”
About 100 or so people marched down Central Avenue, blocking a lane of traffic. St. Petersburg Police moved the peaceful protestors out the street and onto the sidewalk.
John Stemberger is the president of Florida Family Policy Council, a pro-life organization in the state. He said the draft document from the Supreme Court is overdue.
“This could be the moment we’ve waited for,” Stemberger said. “I think we’re going to look back on abortion like we look back on slavery, how could we have ever done this.”
He said the potential decision doesn’t mean the end of abortions in America, but individual states could decide whether to restrict or ban abortions.
“We want to create a culture of life and help women understand we can love your baby,” Stemberger said.
Many like Hahn-Campanella know this is a fight that won’t end anytime soon.
“To take away this right women have to make a safe choice for their bodies is a sad thing to think about reversing,” Hahn-Campanella said.