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Abortion rights group to rally on Roe v. Wade anniversary in St. Pete

The group wants lawmakers to protect – not attack – abortion rights in Florida.

A coalition of community leaders and activists and women’s groups will rally for safe access to abortions Tuesday morning on the 46th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision making abortion legal.

The group includes local community leaders and advocates from the Pinellas Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg and Progress Florida.

“We must continue taking action against state legislation that chips away access to safe and legal abortion for women,” said Amy Weintraub, Reproductive Rights Program Director at Progress Florida. “We are just a few weeks away from the start of the Florida legislative session and we must send a strong message that the rights of Florida women are to be protected.”

The rally is at the intersection of Central Avenue and 3rd Street in downtown St. Pete from noon till 1.

Roe v. Wade was a landmark federal ruling in 1973 that struck down laws t–hat criminalized or restricted access to abortion finding instead that women had a right to privacy under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution to determine whether or not to have an abortion.

The ruling balanced concerns about human life with those of a woman’s right to choose by not extending the same finding to the third trimester.

Since that ruling, individual states including Florida have passed or attempted to pass legislation that dwindles protections under the Roe v. Wade ruling like requiring waiting periods for abortions or strict rules on abortion providers that cause many to close, limiting access.

Pro-choice activists continue to fight back against various attempts to undermine abortion access at the state and federal level.

Planned Parenthood, which will attend the rally, is consistently the target of Congressional Republicans and other pro-life lawmakers trying to defund its operations because it provides abortions, even though the facilities also provide life-saving care for women who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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