Orange County community members plan to rally for abortion rights during the anniversary of America.
In an event advertised anonymously on Facebook by first-time organizers, advocates plan to take their fight for abortion to the steps of the Orange County Courthouse on Monday, the Fourth of July. They will protest the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and call for the protection of abortions in Florida.
“Founded on the principles of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, this 4th of July America is driven by the demands for bodily autonomy, for accessible reproductive healthcare, and for leaders who will fight FOR abortion access, NOT threaten our independence,” according to the Facebook listing. “The Supreme Court has eliminated our constitutional right to abortion, causing immediate and devastating threats to gender equity and public health.”
The protest is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., with speeches slated for 11 a.m. Speakers include Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, Orange County Property Appraiser and former Rep. Amy Mercado, QLatinx organizer Italia Rico, House District 39 candidate Tiffany Hughes and House District 40 candidate LaVon Bracy Davis.
The event comes less than after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which became the inspiration for Florida’s legislation. In upholding Mississippi’s law, the Court negated half a century of federal abortion precedent by overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, eliminating the federal right to an abortion.
On Thursday, Judge John Cooper in the Leon County Circuit Court ruled against Florida’s 15 week abortion ban. He ruled that the right to privacy stated in the Florida Constitution protects the right to an abortion. However, Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to appeal Cooper’s formal order, which will be handed down no earlier than Tuesday.
Eskamani, who previously worked in Planned Parenthood’s organization, told Florida Politics the Supreme Court ruling has inspired individuals and spawned organizations in Central Florida to protect abortion rights. Similar events have been and will be held this weekend in Brevard County and Altamonte Springs.
In the case of Monday’s event, the organizers are a group of Orlando women who are first-time organizers.
The message of Independence Day, which is generally a celebration of freedom, isn’t representing the situation many Americans currently face, she continued.
“The call for protests is probably one of the most patriotic things anyone can do, because there’s a commitment to ensure that this country upholds its values of freedom for all” Eskamani said. “This past week has been a huge step backwards.”