Democratic politicians Lauren Book, Nikki Fried arrested in abortion rights demonstration
Lauren Book gets booked. Image via Claire Van Susteren.

book arrested
A crowd of about 50 to 100 protesters gathered Monday evening to protest the Senate passage that rolled back abortion rights.

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book and Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried were among 11 reproductive rights protesters arrested and cuffed outside Tallahassee City Hall Monday night.

A spokeswoman for the group involved in the protest, Progress Florida, says the arrested protesters were seated in a circle when “15 to 20” Tallahassee police officers came out of City Hall and pulled protesters to their feet just after 8 p.m. They had been warned to leave an area that was barricaded earlier, said Amy Weintraub, a reproductive rights program coordinator for Progress Florida.

“It was a very peaceful protest,” said Weintraub, who said she was there as the arrests happened, but didn’t get arrested herself.

Before the arrest, Book, Fried and others addressed the group, according to Reagan McCarthy of WFSU. Fried said protests are just one way to fight against restrictive policies. She said voting is another.

“We are going to hold accountable every single elected official who votes for an all-out — because that’s what this is — abortion ban,” Fried said. “That reckoning is going to come in ’24.”

Earlier on the Senate floor, Book said she believes the battle for access to abortion care is just beginning.

“No one is going to save us but ourselves. So we must stand up and we must unite. We must donate to abortion funds and support clinic escorts and healthcare professionals and we must work to make things different because abortion is healthcare,” Book said.

The protest followed a vote on the proposed six-week abortion ban in the Senate earlier in the day. After outbursts from the public during the often emotional debate, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo cleared the chamber’s public viewing area.

Passidomo directed the Sergeant to clear the gallery as Sen. Alexis Calatayud seemed to speak in favor of the measure even as she announced she would vote against it. She said her decision is based on the promises she made to her constituents.

“I told them they had my word I would advocate for exceptions for rape, incest and human trafficking. Because of the leadership of Senator Grall and President Passidomo, we have that exception. I gave them my word that I would support Florida’s current law of 15 weeks. Because I am a woman of my commitment to my community I will be voting no on this policy,” Calatayud said.

A news release from the Tallahassee police said protesters were allowed to use the property during “normal operating hours” and told to leave. When the 11 people who had been sitting in a circle refused to leave, they were charged with trespassing.

“TPD encourages individuals exercising their First Amendment right of peaceful assembly to do so in accordance with the law,” a statement from Tallahassee police read. “TPD supports non-disruptive demonstrations and works diligently to protect and uphold the rights of citizens every day.”

Book was seen handing her jewelry over to an aide as she was being cuffed.

Palm Beach County Sen. Lori Berman was part of a group of about 50 to 100 people who were gathered in reaction to the Senate’s passage of legislation (SB 300) that bans abortion after six weeks gestation, except if the pregnancy is the result of rape, incest or sex-trafficking. A similar measure awaits its second reading in the House.

The legislation is seen as a measure similar to an outright abortion ban because it comes before many women realize they are pregnant. The bill also allows for abortion in the case of certain medical complications.

Berman said she moved along upon the police warning, but said the arrests were unnecessary.

“There weren’t rioters,” Berman said. “They were not blocking any traffic. They were just sitting, holding signs and singing songs.”

The arrests spurred condemnation from Ruth’s List Florida, an organization dedicated to getting female abortion rights politicians elected.

“The arrest of our Democratic leaders and other peaceful protestors is the latest disgraceful assault on our civil liberties,” said Christina Diamond, interim CEO of the organization. “It’s not enough for Florida Republicans to take away our bodily autonomy, now they’re trampling on our rights of free speech and assembly.”


Florida Politics reporter Christine Jordan Sexton contributed to this report.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Richard Bruce

    April 3, 2023 at 11:00 pm

    Now she can’t run for President.

    • Donna Shelley

      April 4, 2023 at 9:16 am

      I doubt that it is a felony. 80% of Baby Boomers would have been locked up forever long ago if peacefully protesting were a felony.

  • Billy the Bamboozler McFraud

    April 3, 2023 at 11:12 pm

    Republicans rule with the Bible and the sword. Ban the Bible. Ban the sword. Lock up hyper capitalist pig and whacko sex pervert Donald Trump.

    • Gary

      April 4, 2023 at 1:10 am

      Oh I’m sorry, did the police interrupt their little drum circle? They were asked to leave, and were told they’d be arrested if they didn’t. How did they think that was going to turn out? Fried should know better and should have set the example by encouraging their group to relocate to another spot where they wouldn’t be trespassing. That’s what a real leader does. They don’t dig their heels in like an errant teenager and practically dare police to arrest them. Idiots.

      • Tisha Green

        April 4, 2023 at 4:29 am

        This is what happens when the vegan cafe down the road limits their Groupon to 10 guests.

        • Sally That Girl

          April 4, 2023 at 5:03 am

          No Tisha-this is what happens when auditions for “RENT” are mistakenly advertised by the FSU Thespian Society as taking place in front of “City Hall” instead of “Salley Hall.”

      • Bill McClown

        April 4, 2023 at 7:19 am

        @Gary: Police asked Ashli Babbitt to leave as well. Also many other terrorists on 9-11 2.0.

        • Gary

          April 4, 2023 at 7:42 am

          Those people were not lawmakers who took an oath to uphold the law. Fried and Book claim to be qualified to hold public office. What they did was just open defiance for the sake of being defiant (and getting attention). I’m not saying it equates to terrorism but they deserved to be arrested and should be held accountable for openly disrespecting law enforcement the way they did. It was immature and in my opinion, shows how unfit they both are to hold any kind of public office.

          • Anna Davis

            April 4, 2023 at 8:12 am

            @Gary I can’t say I disagree with you on this. I am a democrat and I can’t stand Ron DeSantis or that stupid abortion bill. But I am pretty disappointed with Fried and Book. The videos really show how little respect they showed to those officers. While mostly everyone else left the area as requested, the Fried and Book just sat there and looked right at the cops, then started singing louder and holding their hands up higher. That’s troubling to me. I don’t even know what to make of that. It’s like watching a group of college kids protest against a dry campus policy. They just acted so immature and disrespectful to those cops. The Democratic Party has a hard enough time being seen as a party that respects the police. We don’t need this crap.

          • cassandra

            April 4, 2023 at 12:48 pm

            Anna Davis: How do I know you are a FAKE? Your poor word choice. Referring to an abortion ban as “stupid”. Unusual for English speakers among the Pro-choice Majority or the Forced-Birth Minority. Your entire comment comes across as fake. I’m guessing written by Christina Pushaw.

      • cassandra

        April 4, 2023 at 2:12 pm

        They did relocate. Originally the permit was for Kleman Plaza, then reassigned to a second location at City Hall. On Friday the city revoked their permit completely. (Who knows the real reason. My educated guess: a command from governor or legislators to limit NATIONAL attention to DeSantis’ extreme ban on women’s rights.)

        Next, they were told they could use the area around city hall.
        At the third location cops harassed and threatened the protesters throughout the day.(See cops admitting that they warned the protesters multiple times.)

        Crazed Male Anti-Abortionists were invited to the legislature to actually WRITE Anti-Women’s Rights legislation—But WOMEN and GIRLS—the only people the law will affect—-have their First Amendment Rights taken away at sunset?

        They were right to peacefully protest. Hopefully we will see much more from these brave leaders.

        • Anna

          April 4, 2023 at 8:49 pm

          Well this exchange took a strange turn. Perhaps I should have just called the protesters “stupid” instead of the bill. Although I think all are equally devoid of reason and rational thought. Turn off the Lifetime Channel and soap operas, Cassandra. Your hyper fixation on word choice is a tad hysterical and there is really no need to show your estrogen on here.

    • K

      April 4, 2023 at 9:23 am


  • Carla

    April 4, 2023 at 12:10 am

    There is nothing “peaceful” about trespassing. When a sign is posted and you’ve been given multiple warnings by law enforcement, refusing to leave is the point where the “protesting” becomes hostile. They all deserved to be arrested.

  • Darling Nikki

    April 4, 2023 at 1:50 am

    The 6-week ban is stupid. The arrests were stupid. But I agree with these comments. Trespassing=breaking the law.
    It’s not exactly the Riemann Hypothesis.
    I guess when you aren’t effective inside the State Capitol, you’ve gotta find a way to be effective outside of it. I hope they have another plan – Preferably one that doesn’t end with mugshots or women with hairy armpits and megaphones standing in front of city hall yelling “Shame!” while the rest of us just want to get to Andrew’s for a drink.

  • Senorita Margarita

    April 4, 2023 at 2:57 am

    Far Left comedy is the BEST!
    Nice work, girls

  • Doug H

    April 4, 2023 at 3:43 am

    It’s hard not to notice that there were only 11 people refusing to leave by the time cops pulled out the handcuffs. Everyone else listened and followed the law. And whoever that silly blonde Senator is should be censured and thrown out of office. She seems mentally unstable and has no business making the law when she can’t even follow it.

  • Oliver Twist

    April 4, 2023 at 8:43 am

    I’m confused. What does sitting in a circle and chanting in front of an empty building do for women’s rights? Like what was the point they were trying to make? That white females get arrested too when they openly rebel against law enforcement?

  • JD

    April 4, 2023 at 8:57 am

    Why is everyone acting like this is some great slight? It’s tame compared to the stuff the FLGOP is doing.

    And isn’t that the point of a peaceful protest? To make news and bring to light about whatever you are protesting?

    As far as the reports go, it was a peaceful one. It’s sad that a member of congress had to resort to this to be listened too. You all should be ashamed for siding with the other side, but I guess you like your wife or female partner’s body to be the property of s few politicians while you’re a cuckold.

    Expect more I suspect. This is the beginning reaction to the overreach of the legislation. They’ve gone way too far.

    “It’s not the heat. It’s the Stupidity.”

    • Mary

      April 4, 2023 at 9:04 am

      Ok Jason

    • Heather

      April 4, 2023 at 9:09 am

      I think it’s a bigger deal because two lawmakers basically just disrespected law enforcement while on camera, and while they are supposed to be upholding the law and setting a better example. Not a good look.

      • JD

        April 4, 2023 at 9:37 am

        “Peaceful protest”.

        And how did they disrespect law enforcement?

        What the video. They had their hands up the entire time and put them behind their back when the officers came over to cuff them.

        All they disrespected was the abortion law itself – which is everyone’s right.

        The trespass charge is the tradeoff. So be it.

        They will pay the fine to make the point. Maybe they should get some women crying crocodile tears asking for money for their defense?

        Good for Book and Fried.

        • JD

          April 4, 2023 at 9:38 am

          *Watch the video*

          • Mary

            April 4, 2023 at 9:44 am

            We have all watched that embarrassing video. They start singing louder and putting hands in the air when police approach and tell them they are trespassing. Like they are some kind of martyrs for looking police in the eye and ignoring their instructions to leave. They aren’t.

        • Freddie H.

          April 4, 2023 at 9:56 am

          From what I’ve read, Fried and Book are perfectly capable of crying their own crocodile tears.

          • JD

            April 4, 2023 at 9:58 am

            I’ve not read where they’re asking for money to get them out of legal peril. If you have, please share where.

      • Damien

        April 4, 2023 at 9:40 am

        100% this. Getting arrested after basically taunting police on video should have more serious consequences when you’re an elected official. It’s not ok.

        • JD

          April 4, 2023 at 9:56 am

          How dare you vilify these women for not wanting their bodies made into property of the state? Where is that FREEDOM?

          It’s OK for a bias congress and governor to punitively pass laws and punish corporations that don’t agree with their ideology?

          No, as an elected official they should stand up for the injustice as they see it, and if that’s not able to be done in the chambers of law, then on the street in protest.

          So people notice after the draconian laws being passed by this ridiculous legislature.

          Shameful to even side against them.

          • Heather

            April 4, 2023 at 10:17 am

            Pretty sure there were plenty of women (including Senator Berman who is mentioned in the story) who were able to protest within the limits of the law. There were only 11 who ignored police and decided to stay right where they were. Two of those people happen to be public officials who should know better. They looked those police in the eye and ignored them just to get a little attention. Pathetic.

          • JD

            April 4, 2023 at 10:25 am

            It seems like you and many others have given them a lot of attention (as was probably their point of doing so). Keep responding, it drives traffic to the site, driving more attention.

            Not seeing the wrong of the legislation protested and vilifying the peaceful protestors is the pathetic part. It borders on fascism.

            “It’s not the heat. It’s the stupidity”

          • Allison

            April 4, 2023 at 10:38 am

            I think most people are just siding with law enforcement, not the bill. It’s not ok for anyone who is supposed to set an example and uphold the dignity of lawmakers to publicly disrespect police the way they did. I definitely have a problem with that. It doesn’t make the pro-choice messaging any more credible when the messengers make spectacles of themselves and display rebellion toward police.

      • Tjb

        April 4, 2023 at 4:05 pm

        Why was their permit to gather peacefully revoked on the day of this protest? Do you think DeSantis or his staff knows a.

  • Erika

    April 4, 2023 at 10:07 am

    I think everyone is totally missing the fact that these women found an entire patch of concrete on Adams Street with no human fecal matter. Outstanding!

  • It's Complicated

    April 4, 2023 at 10:38 am

    Book and Fried are both in the Leon County Sheriffs Office Daily Booking report this morning… sans photos. Trespass After Warning is a misdemeanor. The rest of the people arrested in this protest exercise all have their photos posted.

  • cassandra

    April 4, 2023 at 12:16 pm

    Good for these protesters!

    The arrests are a violation of Americans’ Constitutional Free Speech and Protest rights. It is no less so when armed police warn citizens nicely that they are going to violate their First Amendment Rights at sundown.

    Of course MISOGYNISTS will attempt to trivialise and ridicule these arrests because they are infringements on the rights of WOMEN. And the PATHOLOGICALLY OBEDIENT will be threatened by anyone daring to question authority or willing to be jailed for demanding human rights. We need more politicians bravely joining them.

    • Tjb

      April 4, 2023 at 4:09 pm

      Looks like free speech is not allowed in DeSantis’s FREE state. You are not free if you can only do what he dictates

    • Anna

      April 4, 2023 at 9:12 pm

      Gotta love the ALL CAPS replies. Your comments are really giving off an “Old Testament” kind of vibe, but without the prophetic context or enduring message.
      It’s ok, Cassandra. Let it all out. I’m sure you’re a nice person when you’re medicated.

      • cassandra

        April 5, 2023 at 12:06 am

        The comments here about Fried and Book are just distractions from the real questions: Who ordered the city to cancel the group’s permit? And who ordered the police to chase the protesters off at sunset?

        When the first permit was issued the protesters were scheduled to stay well past 8pm. Why was that permit canceled? Why was the second permit revoked just hours before the planned protest?

        Who wanted to keep his extreme abortion ban out of national news? Who wants us focusing on Fried and Book? Which politician is panicking right now?

        • Anna

          April 5, 2023 at 12:50 am

          I’m sure if you watch another LifeTime special, your imagination will breed a solid conspiracy theory to answer the question.
          While we’re solving the world’s problems, let’s also protest legislation that prohibits dog owners from allowing pets to enjoy fresh air from the comfort of a car window.

    • Nick Ireland

      April 5, 2023 at 11:59 am

      Then Lauren Book is a misogynist. She helped pass the DeSantis anti-protest legislation. See CS/HB1571 (2022)

      • cassandra

        April 5, 2023 at 2:05 pm

        Not seeing how this makes Book a misogynist?
        Voting yes on that legislation was inexcusable. I lost a LOT of respect for her and anyone else who voted for it. I’m opposed to all their ‘self-interest’ legislation.

        • Nick Ireland

          April 5, 2023 at 10:11 pm

          You made it aound like only “misogynists” voted to ban protesting. That’s why i made the respinse that I did.

          • cassandra

            April 6, 2023 at 9:38 am

            Oh, I just meant the ridiculing and trivialization of the protests and arrests of WOMEN. Men’s protesting is generally taken much more seriously. Added bonus for men: they don’t need to fix their hair or shave their legs to get some respect!!

    • Matthew Lusk

      April 6, 2023 at 1:29 pm

      True, in today’s age, misogyny and misandry are rising. Pretty much it is equal in both sex. Bad parents are roll models and treat both boys and girls bad, who in turn grow up to ape Mom or Dad’s bad behaviors. The banking cartel’s funding of degenerate culture propaganda helps to conquer and divide Americans for their benefit. Corporations and inside controllers win, people lose. Men don’t want to marry a slut and women don’t want to marry a slob and a drunk. Yet far too many women are openly fornicating with their children’s knowledge and far too many men are getting drunk and fat in front of their children. Too many bad encounters with bad people confuses weak minds who can’t discern or make moral judgements accurately. They end up hating the other sex. They become a slave to a false pride and mental anguish.

  • John Dough

    April 5, 2023 at 1:11 am

    Speaking of dogs.
    You know who didn’t get arrested for protesting an abortion ban?
    Answer: beautiful women.
    Look at the mug shots from those arrests. I can’t tell if those are booking photos or humane society ads. Not one beautiful woman to be seen at that protest. Why do the ugly ones think they need access to abortions so badly? Who is trying to impregnate them? Shrek?
    Think about it. Has anyone ever seen a beautiful woman at an event like the one these trespassers got put in the slammer for?

    • JD

      April 5, 2023 at 7:22 am

      There’s always that one that pulls out the “ugly” comment when they haven’t got anything else.

      I guess you like being the FLGOP’s cuckold and them owning your “Beautiful” partner’s body?


      “It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity.”

      • John Dough

        April 5, 2023 at 8:10 am

        Nobody “owns” my wife’s body. She is in control and that won’t change because of some ban on her having an abortion after 6 weeks. You know why?
        1. She still has a choice to have sex, or abstain.
        2. She still has a choice of various birth control methods (which she uses).
        3. She still has a choice to monitor or ignore her cycle and its timing with respect to our sex life.
        4. God forbid, but if she had neither 1 or 2 above, she still would have the option to terminate the pregnancy under the new law after 6 weeks if she just makes an effort to document what happened to her.
        If there’s a woman out there who has a problem reporting a rape, but no problem killing a baby once it has a heartbeat, I would seriously question her mental health and humanity. That’s just insane. Women still have a choice. Just because it’s not as convenient to terminate pregnancy under the bill, doesn’t mean it’s not still available. It will just require women to be more responsible with the choices they still have. Stop acting like there is some constitutional “right” to have abortions. There is no such thing.
        When your actions affect another human life, your constitutional rights only permit those actions to the extent they respect, and do not impede, the rights of that other human life. Stop acting like there’s some license to kill babies conferred on women by the constitution. That’s just not accurate.

        • JD

          April 5, 2023 at 9:21 am

          Read up on how the law is written for your number 4.

          The restriction placed on the doctor’s along with the 24-hour waiting period between to agreeing to the abortion procedure and receiving it makes it a de-facto ban. Most agencies administering them are booked well in advance and after waiting out that 24 hours period and getting an appointment scheduled puts most beyond the 6-week mark.

          And the bottom half of your entire argument hinges on what is considered the point of the beginning of a “human life”.

          Stop acting like politicians are qualified to do that when science hasn’t had a true ruling. It’s not like our laws, much less our moralities, have kept time with our scientific advances since the start of the 20th century.

          And since you brought the constitution into the mix, where does it say an embryo is afforded rights in the constitution? Federal or Florida’s State?

          Abortion needs to be looked at as a public health issue and not a moral issue. Stop acting like this is a just law. It’s draconian, the exceptions are not implementable and merely something the lawmakers can point to – oh look we have exceptions.

          The law needs to be retooled with people in the field as a public health measure, not some false flag religious endeavor. That’s the true “Ugly” part.

          • Matthew Lusk

            April 6, 2023 at 1:07 pm

            Dr Science himself, El Falsie, flipped and flopped, flipped and flopped.

  • Nick Ireland

    April 5, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Lauren Book deserves to be treated like every other accused criminal. Oh how ironic that Lauren Book, who spent YEARS filing SLAPP suits against critics, and who voted in favor of the DeSantis anti-protest bill because she could not handle free speech, gets arrested for the very thing SHE helped criminalize.

    She made her own bed. Let her LIE in it.

  • cassandra

    April 5, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    LOL..You really expected to find medical procedures listed in the Constitution?

    No, the Founders expected us to have at least average reading comprehension and the ability to locate the 9th Amendment. LOL..that’s the amendment that protects the right to things such as: 18th century home remedies, modern organ transplants, contraceptives, ED pills, and abortion.

    How do we know abortion was accepted? Benjamin Franklin published an abortion recipe in his popular math textbook that women and girls had—and used—in their own homes. Midwives and medical practitioners freely advertised abortifacient pills and concoctions in newspapers.

    PS..At six weeks the embryo (not “baby”), does not even have a heart, so no “heartbeat”. It’s electrical activity only.

    Accusing women of “killing a baby” is anti-woman hate speech. It is just as offensive as racial or religious hate and lies. It is similar to lies about Jews drinking babies’ blood. NAZIs still tell this abhorrent lie.

    You say: “…constitutional rights only permit those actions to the extent they respect, and do not impede, the rights of that other human life..” This supports a woman’s reproductive rights unless you—like the FL legislature—consider the woman to be not fully a human being.

    Ownership? What do you call it when powerful men dictate what you are allowed to do with your own body, when they breed you like livestock and use you as a public utility, when they have given themselves decision-making rights over your life? Sure, they do not actually buy you..They just take what they want—with the force of the state behind them. What is this if not ownership?

    PSS, I’m not saying any of this in a critical or mean way. Just trying to provide information and a different perspective. Peace

    • John Dough

      April 5, 2023 at 7:02 pm

      Even under anonymity, I can tell you are a female with serious challenges having no connection to the abortion ban. Please get help.
      I can also tell you aren’t a lawyer (your apparent inability to regulate your emotions even in print is a dead giveaway, combined with your poor grammar and uneducated arguments). So my responsive comments would not be constructive to a hypersensitive non-lawyer such as yourself. At the end of the day, we’ll have plenty of lawyers litigating the issue and the legislation will be decided by men and women in black robes.
      In the meantime I’d suggest taking some medication to resolve issues your morning after pills can’t cure.

      • cassandra

        April 6, 2023 at 8:31 am

        You have nothing logical or of substance to say so you resort to petty ad hominem attacks. But you are wrong. The only emotions in my comment were mild amusement that you would expect to find medical treatments in the U.S. Constitution, and less mild disappointment that you fail to understand the purpose of the Ninth Amendment.

        You go on to deride what you refer to as my: “uneducated arguments”. Yet you provide no examples or evidence of any inaccuracies. Please support your assessment.

  • cassandra

    April 5, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    1) Who ordered the city to shut the protest down? DeSantis?
    2) Who wanted (but failed) to keep the protesters out of national news?
    3) And who is trying to convince readers that public opinion is against exercising their First Amendment Rights?

  • Donna Tella

    April 5, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    After watching Lauren Book read her entire speech about this bill from a three-ring binder the other day, I was surprised to learn she was arrested after verbalizing any message without reading it from a piece of paper. Nobody else had to read their speeches from a binder. It really seemed disingenuous that a woman who was later arrested for “protesting” wouldn’t even have spoken from the heart on the Senate floor. She read straight from paper.

    Being a female myself, I had such high hopes for Nikki Fried and Book when they got elected. Fried more so than Book, as I’ve never thought Book would have gotten elected without her lobbyist dad’s money and influence. I also don’t respect her perpetual “victim” persona. It’s not how women want to be represented.

    As I researched Fried’s stance on reproductive issues, I found no evidence of her doing anything but criticizing Republicans and blaming them for current laws. I see no evidence of her ever trying to run for legislative office or putting any petition drives together to get a constitutional amendment passed dealing with the policy. She’s all “talk”, and now the only action we’ve seen is her being arrested for doing more of that. I’m not impressed.

    As far as Book, I also don’t see evidence of her doing anything more than criticizing and blaming Republicans. No effort to start a petition drive. No effort to form a non-profit that helps women get faster access to reproductive care, nothing other than filing a few amendments to bills she didn’t like.

    So while some comments are defending Fried and Book, I just hope they keep in mind that both of those women have had ample opportunities to fight back effectively. And neither of them have. Instead of making real strides for women they just keep setting us back by their crazy antics such as this -which amounts to all talk, and no real action whatsoever.

    Remember that the next time you get a chance to vote for either of them.

    • Gladys

      April 5, 2023 at 11:17 pm

      This is the most accurate comment I’ve seen yet. This is what happens when women are represented by other women with a “victim” mentality. Things happen “to” them. Never “because of” them.
      Enough is enough. Elect women who can be effective for women.

    • cassandra

      April 6, 2023 at 12:15 pm

      Fried and Book are doing something brave and effective NOW. Looks like your “high hopes” were justified. As were those of the majority of women—-Republicans, Democrats, Independents—- who are angry that men are passing DeSantis’ religious abortion bans that control women’s and little girls’ bodies and lives.

      I don’t know of much more that Book could be doing legislatively with the majority Republican legislature intent on passing extreme bills that further DeSantis’ Christian nationalist agenda: banning abortion, banning books, and actually attacking our children.

      The problem I think most women will have with your comment is your callous use of the term “victim” in describing Book. Book was physically and sexually victimized for six years. She is a strong abuse survivor, and has been instrumental in preventing and stopping victimization of children; including by creating an excellent children’s curriculum. Casually using “victim” is inappropriate and cruel.

      We don’t know what Book and Fried have been doing to protect women’s rights quietly behind the scenes all this time.

      Women appreciate that these leaders are leading NOW on abortion rights and are being seen—and respected nationally.

      • Donna Tella

        April 6, 2023 at 10:05 pm

        @Cassandra- Now that it’s plainly obvious you are Lauren Book-I’ll tell you something most women think about you right now. Whatever you might have been doing “quietly” or “behind the scenes” has allowed women’s rights to be eroded ever since you assumed office. Your legacy as a lawmaker is nothing but a cascade effect of playing the “victim” of men, at the expense of playing the “defender” of women.

        You can blame the “Republican majority” all you want. But look back to 2010, 2011, 2012, etc., -before daddy got you elected- and look at what democrats were able to do with only 12 democrats in the chamber. They killed similar legislation as what just passed with your pathetic “leadership” at the helm.
        Kindly pound sand. From what I’ve seen in your debates, temper tantrums and pouting like a frivolous child are two of your strengths. Presumably ones your lobbyist dad enabled.
        Don’t let the Chamber door hit you in the ass on your way out next year.

        • cassandra

          April 8, 2023 at 1:01 pm

          Since several commenters seem to be stuck on the term “victim”, I googled “Lauren Book victim”. What I found: Senator Book is an internationally respected child advocate, educator, and author.—-“

          Far from being a “victim”, Book uses her creative talents, personal experiences, and strength to fight against child sexual abuse and sex trafficking. Both of which affect women and girls at a disproportionate rate.

          I also found that Book (alongside Fried) is bringing national attention to DeSantis’ extreme religious ban on abortion rights. Book’s leadership during the protest is an example of her standing up for the rights of women and girls, although a noisy few here seem to be trying to use this FP comments section to silence protesters through irrelevant criticisms and public shaming.

          What I did not find was any reference to—-or evidence of—-Book “playing the “victim” of men”. Please provide citations.

  • Donna Tella

    April 7, 2023 at 9:56 am

    That’s a lot of detail very few people would know other than Lauren Book herself.
    So Lauren, now that we all know you are “Cassandra” I’ll take this opportunity to tell you that whatever you may have been “quietly” doing “behind the scenes” all this time, has clearly been ineffective. Women’s rights have eroded significantly ever since daddy got you elected.

    And if you want to blame the “Republican majority” which is not surprising, as it’s consistent with the same mentality we have all been commenting about, I’d suggest you call former Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich and ask her how, even with just 12 democrats which is what you have now, she managed to fight back and prevent passage of bills that hurt women’s rights. The answer is, Nan Rich was a better leader, negotiator, and fighter. I believe that you probably try very hard, but you just do not have what it takes to be effective.

    That much is plainly obvious in light of bills such as SB 300, that have passed under your watch. So as far as I’m concerned, you have no business being in the Legislature or any other public office. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear end on your way out next year.

    • JD

      April 7, 2023 at 10:15 am

      The information Cassandra wrote about Book has been in multiple news outlets (including FP) or could have been extrapolated from such. It doesn’t prove this moniker is Book or not.

      And please tell us how she would have stopped the bill give the super majority of FLGOP in the Senate?

      And to bring in Nan Rich is a misnomer in attempt to make a mangoes to oranges strawman comparison. She was term limited in 2012 from the Senate and the FLGOP was moderates back then and willing to work across the aisle.

      Today it’s their extreme way or the highway.

      • Donna Tella

        April 7, 2023 at 10:45 am

        Why don’t you let Cassandra respond and fight her own battles, JD. I’m sure she can handle herself.

        • JD

          April 7, 2023 at 11:25 am

          It’s a free country (at least so far) so I will express my thought just as you. I’m tired of the dog pile on the few that tried to stand up to the unjust law within the legislature.

          All you and others have done is attempted character assassination of the only few people in the house that seem to care without looking at the law itself. I don’t think anyone has looked at the law outside “it’s abortion. They’re killing babies.” Rhetoric.

          There are little implementable “exceptions” for a subject that’s so critically needs to be a public health measure vs. it being turned into a false flag religious morality bill. The subject is not as black and white as it is portrayed.

          Had this law been in effect when my wife and I lost our twin girls, I would not have had the opportunity to attempt to save them and could have lost my wife as well (and never mind never having the opportunity to have our other two children).

          And these two women stood up to be listened too when they and others were so clearly ignored. So, forgive me if I seem to want to step into the fray and defend their actions. And I will continue to do so.

          • Donna Tella

            April 7, 2023 at 2:22 pm

            No, they did not “stand up to be listened to” in any meaningful way. They simply plopped down on a street corner to sing songs after the bill had already passed. I am not impressed by that.

          • JD

            April 7, 2023 at 3:44 pm

            No disrespect, but If you are against the bill, get behind them because they are all you got right now. There’s not room left for pearl clutching and perfectionism in that arena.

            If you are for the bill, then your argument is moot.

  • Donna Tella

    April 7, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    No disrespect to you, but I’m entitled to my opinions as well and I don’t agree that Fried or Book have been effective on behalf of women. “Pearl clutching” is not the issue. Your comment in that regard is baffling.
    As far as “perfectionism” I agree with you that Florida is experiencing the opposite.
    What we don’t have room for is more of the same ineffective politicians claiming to be defending women’s rights by singing on a corner after dark.
    Florida deserves better.
    The End.

    • JD

      April 7, 2023 at 4:31 pm

      If they are ineffective being women politicians, then rise to the occasion or suggest someone in the situation currently to back that was elected.

      Because not backing the few that were elected surely hasn’t helped.

      The “Real” End, mic drop.

      • Donna Tella

        April 7, 2023 at 5:12 pm

        Speaking of the fact that so few were elected last campaign season, who was in charge of the efforts to get democrats elected in to the Senate? Oh my memory escapes me but I’ll think of the name….oh right.
        It was Lauren Book.
        The election cycle Dems lost all those seats to Republicans just happened to be the year Book was at the helm. I’m sure that’s because Book is so effective we don’t even see it in the outcomes that matter.

      • Sam

        April 7, 2023 at 5:32 pm

        Are you really suggesting that we should support politicians who are not effective? Sounds like an argument a democrat would make for sure.

        • JD

          April 7, 2023 at 6:10 pm

          You obviously didn’t read my posts. I never said we should back ineffective politicians. The other poster made that assumption but didn’t back it up with evidence.

          I merely stated they (and the other Democrats and one female Republican) were against that bill and they should get behind them if they were against the bill, because it was all they had for representation of their interests.

          As for effective or ineffective, with a super major by the FLGOP, if the legislators are against the GOP’s bills, they are effectively “ineffective” other than to draw attention to bills and the bills unfairness.

          To conflate the logic, misread and make an assumption based on that incorrect information sounds like something a Republican would do for sure.

    • John Dough

      April 7, 2023 at 4:43 pm

      As ironic as it may be Donna Tella, you can’t convince the “left” that they are anything but “right” on this issue. If they cannot even concede that you might be correct factually, as the differences between Nan Rich and this Lauren Book seem pretty obvious even to an outsider like me, you are wasting your time even engaging with these fools. Let them keep drinking their own vegan Kool-Aid. Until we have better people in office these are the arguments we will all continue to have.
      But if our only options are people like Book and Nikki Fried, God help us all….

      • JD

        April 9, 2023 at 7:34 am

        What makes people think it is the only the “Left” that think a super majority of extremist far right ideological thinking as “Good”?

        Statistically most of the “Right” states turn into dumps and need more Federal aid than they produce (Texas being the exception – but let’s concede their oil gives them the ability to be an anomaly – and FL doesn’t really have much of that).

        And calling opposition to a de-facto rigged system as being ineffective because one is trying to make it sound like a competence or a moral failing makes that person the true fool. It’s like getting angry because their fish cannot climb a tree due to environment (it’s a paraphrase of an Einstein quote geniuses).

        And Nan Rich was in office at a very different time without that super majority. In fact, voter registrations had more Democrats. And while the Republicans have a registration lead now, the NPA’s and Independents are still the deciding factor.

        “It’s not the heat. It’s the stupidity.”

        • John Dough

          April 9, 2023 at 3:48 pm

          Wow bringing up how effective Nan Rich was compared to Lauren Book really struck a nerve, didn’t it? I can’t help but notice how you give no facts to refute the point, in spite of all the excuses you attempt to offer for its truth.

          • JD

            April 9, 2023 at 8:44 pm

            What excuse? What nerve? It’s the truth. Different time, different place, different government makeup.

            Nan Rich was term limited in 2012 (which I mentioned). Meaning anything she did was prior. Voter registration in 2012 and prior was slightly more Democrat and the house and senate were balanced. Meaning there was a bit of debate on the floor instead of this current 1 minute commentary per person and then bulldoze the bills through.

            If you want to see, go pull the voting records, they are of public record as are the voter registration number. I’m not your clerk.

            Whenever someone says, “you didn’t provide any facts”, it usually means I hit the nerve because I did provide facts.

            Peddle your strawman elsewhere. The two are not a valid comparison. You’re trying to make is sound like incompetence or a moral falling and then you’re the one that can’t back up the comparison’s validity. Different time and different place.

            But regale us with your proof and why it’s valid.

            “It’s not the heat. It’s the stupidity.”

        • John Dough

          April 9, 2023 at 9:41 pm

          We need people who can be effective in the current political climate. Since Book and Fried aren’t in the “effective” category while operating in the current political climate, I’d say the answer is the same: they have no business holding public office. Perhaps when we have fewer challenges for them, they could rejoin the circus. Until then we don’t need them for more than the side show they already are.

          • JD

            April 10, 2023 at 4:37 pm

            Democrats and like-minded NPA’s need to circle the wagons and embrace all on the same side. The Republicans and far right conservatives basically initiated a war against them with the voter roll purges and are acting like the mafia of the 1960’s- a united front, all with the same orders and unending loyalty (even at the cost of the common good).

            I will concede ineffective politicians should be sidelined, or better yet, rebuked in private, corrected in action, and sent forth to do the will of their constituents. Who would be doing that rebuke, I’m not sure, but the Democratic party needs to get their stuff together and have a cohesive strategy and be consistent in their marching orders across the board.
            Or we are going to find the game rigged and the definition of “ineffective” will be moot.

    • John Dough

      April 7, 2023 at 4:53 pm

      Notice that “Cassandra” hasn’t replied since you called her out! Ha!

      • cassandra

        April 8, 2023 at 10:13 pm

        Some reasons that Book and Fried are protesting:

        DeSantis vetoed contraceptives for poor women and teenagers because his church told him birth control causes abortion of a fertilized egg.

        Women are being denied cancer treatment because they are not eligible for an abortion. Their doctor and family must watch as the cancer spreads.

        There are women who are pregnant with fetuses that do not have a skull. They cannot get an abortion.

        There is a Florida couple whose baby will die in pain within hours of birth. Doctors are afraid to provide an abortion at 16 weeks because they don’t want to go to prison.

        The anti-abortionist industry does not care about any of these women. When asked, the forced-birthers say the bans are working as hoped for.

        It is not as simple as having six weeks to get a needed abortion.

        • Donna Tella

          April 9, 2023 at 9:38 am

          Thank you for explaining yourself further, Lauren. Consider writing fewer comments on this article and maybe you can get some real work done this week.

    • cassandra

      April 8, 2023 at 9:54 pm

      It is interesting that someone who accuses Book of being ineffective and doing nothing becomes quite hostile when Book actually does something visible and effective.

      Yes, Protest and Free Speech work. DeSantis backed off as a result of public outrage over his scheme to track teenage athletes’ reproductive functions. Recall the *INTERNATIONAL* outrage over DeSantis’ plan to register bloggers. Again, DeSantis was shut-down.

      Little doubt that anyone who attempts to silence effective dissent is one of two things:1) ignorant of the power of our First Amendment or 2) eager to help DeSantis turn back the clock so that our daughters have fewer rights than their grandmothers had.

      • Donna Tella

        April 9, 2023 at 9:25 am

        See my below response to your comments.

  • Roger That

    April 7, 2023 at 6:17 pm

    Wow this article is still running strong after almost a week. Guys, gals, guy/gals, non-guy/gals, whatever you all are- it’s Good Friday. Doesn’t your family deserve the time and attention that this comment thread is taking from you? Be classy. Just put the laptops and iPhones away for Easter weekend. Go live your best lives, knowing you did your very best to prove points and disagree with each other. This anonymous banter really is beneath such brilliant minds as yours. Just put the devices down. Please. Do it for Jesus.

  • Donna Tella

    April 9, 2023 at 9:15 am

    You posted those comments late on a Saturday night? You might want to consider getting a life. As far as your comments go, I’ve made my point and you still have not pointed to one thing you have done to actually be effective. I maintain my opinion on your ineffectiveness because your legislative and campaign records speak for themselves.
    You haven’t persuaded anyone that you are suddenly some champion of the people or for women because you got arrested for a minor trespass violation after sitting in a drum circle during happy hour, as the abortion ban made its way closer to Governor’s desk.
    Nobody is hostile either. I am just hoping others with an opportunity to make a real difference don’t follow in your footsteps, because we need legislators who can fight back against the far-right chest thumpers and who can be effective at not only getting more democrats and moderates elected but also working effectively- on the front lines, not just “quietly…behind the scenes” -to keep bad policy from becoming law.
    But until people like you are out of office, that won’t happen. All we’re getting with you is another entitled politician who has never known what real work is, and never will. If you want to persuade anyone that your stunt with Fried last week was effective, tell us all how it stopped the bill from becoming law. Or tell us all what impact it had on any provision of the bill. Were amendments filed to make it less burdensome to women? Did you negotiate with others to ensure Gov priorities don’t get by the legislature until he agrees to veto it? Or did you secure a commitment from someone in power that the bill will be repealed next year? Or a pledge from the legal community to represent women’s interests on this issue? Have you secured an agreement by the Attorney General to give an advisory opinion on this issue that favors women’s rights? Or do you have a plan to get this in front of a court soon so they can issue an injunction and prevent enforcement of the new law? And if so, please tell us all how those outcomes – if any have been produced – are the result of your decision to sit on a corner to sing in front of an empty city hall.
    Those material facts are missing from your autobiography above.

    • cassandra

      April 9, 2023 at 11:50 pm

      You haven’t made your point, Donna Tella. You haven’t even provided a citation for your repeated “victim” accusations against Book.

      You say Book has done nothing; then you criticise her when she does something visible and effective. First Amendment Rights have already been used to force DeSantis to back off on tracking girls’ bodies and registering bloggers. Our rights are effective. It is time to use them.

      In fact, organized protest is one of the few actions available to us that is likely to have much effect in the near term. Voting and legislation are essential but require time. “Plopping” and “singing” (as you put it) outside government buildings keeps DeSantis’ extreme religious abortion ban on the television and it encourages others to get and stay involved.

      Since you keep bringing up the legislature, let me remind you how naive it is for us to think that the Republicans will compromise. They have already promised not to. Their only purpose is to advance DeSantis’ Christian nationalist agenda.

      Criticising our elected officials is our right. It’s our responsibility. But meaningless and frequently hostile tangents—which appear in many cases to be taken only to divert attention from what we can actually be doing right now—benefit only DeSantis.

      Personal vendettas carried to the point where one confuses FP commenters with public figures like Lauren Book aren’t of much use either. And since you apparently fail to understand the term “behind the scenes”, it can mean many things including providing abortion funds, transportation, childcare, etc. All necessary.

      A few here even seem to be trying very hard to distract from the real issues: the extreme abortion ban, the protest itself, and the First Amendment violations, including the arrests of peaceful protesters.

      Fried and Book are right to protest. They must continue. It’s about women’s bodily autonomy and keeping the government and someone else’s religion out of our bodies and lives.

      • Donna Tella

        April 10, 2023 at 6:57 am

        You really should get to work, Lauren. We will all wait to see some results of your self-described efforts. Not to worry-we won’t be holding our breath.

        • cassandra

          April 10, 2023 at 11:14 am

          What’s your opinion on the extreme abortion ban itself? I mean, how much are you thinking it’s going to harm women and girls if DeSantis signs it?

  • Donna Tella

    April 10, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    I think my prior comments made clear that I do not agree with the 6-week ban, but I’ll elaborate on why. The precedent that will be established by the bill’s policy of intrusion concerns me, not just as a woman but as a person who does not want the government intruding on my private decisions or upon my right to determine how, when, in what capacity, and to what extent I seek medical care. Pregnancy is a private matter that is none of the government’s business.

    As far as the precedent I am talking about, the road ahead looks dangerous once there is a policy in place that allows the government to regulate private healthcare decisions without any compelling interest in doing so. If the government can insert itself into the health care setting for pregnancy-related matters, what’s next? Intrusion on other aspects of our prenatal experience?

    Will the Legislature enact a requirement that women submit to routine ovulation monitoring so the state will know for sure if we’ve been honest about the timing of our last period when seeking out confirmation of a pregnancy? Because as it stands, there is no way for the government or our doctors to confirm that and for all they know, plenty of women will still be having abortions after the 6-week mark if they simply lie about their last period.

    Maybe DeSantis will personally send all of us a weekly reminder to check in with our doctors if we’ve had unprotected sex, or perhaps if we piss him off enough he’ll appoint some governing board to oversee all aspects of how a woman becomes pregnant and what she does to avoid an unwanted or high-risk pregnancy. Maybe he’ll require us to start keeping a diary of our sexual encounters so the government can be 100% certain of when women are actually becoming pregnant. The diary could even be submitted to his office on a regular basis for inspection and authentication purposes….

    But then one might ask, how could DeSantis or the legislature be so sure that women have disclosed ALL of the rampant unprotected sex we might be having before suspecting a pregnancy? Well, if I were a micromanaging DeSantis-style Republican I could think of a few ways. Perhaps DeSantis and the legislature could require women to give a sworn certification of their sex diaries, or of their last period and the date of the rampant unprotected sex at issue,. Maybe that sworn certification could be given upon a woman’s initial visit to an OBGYN. But even that might not be enough, as women can lie or submit to lapses in memory. So we’d need to have the same facts attested to by the man who might have impregnated us as well. Then the government would be much closer to certainty of when a woman became pregnant…

    But even with the man confirming the date of our rampant unprotected sex, how would DeSantis know we aren’t BOTH lying on the sworn statements? Perhaps he could have the legislature pass a bill requiring women to also submit to a lie detector test at the same time we make the essential “menstruation” and “date of rampant sex” certifications. The scientific reliability would be roughly equivalent to the other means of verification the legislature deems relevant to ascertaining gestational age now…

    Where does the government intrusion end?

    If a licensed medical provider can confirm that a medical procedure is still capable of being performed in a way that does not degrade or cause suffering to another human, then I see no compelling interest served by government’s intrusion on our right to obtain that procedure. Today it’s abortion, but tomorrow it can be something else if the government continues down this intrusive road.

    So Ms. Book, I expect you and Fried to step up and do something of substance while you still can to block their path, or to at least make it less leisurely for them to keep interfering with our right to privacy. Women are counting on you. Stop sitting on sidewalks and calling it activism. Action is activism. Let’s see it.

    • John Dough

      April 11, 2023 at 7:38 am

      Government absolutely has a role in the health care setting if it’s necessary to protect human life. How could you possibly not see that as a compelling government interest?

      • cassandra

        April 13, 2023 at 1:47 pm

        Not at the expense of another person. A woman’s right to abortion is the same right that lets you keep your kidney when someone else needs it to live. The loss of abortion rights will lead to other more horrific losses.

        One example would be the state forcing your child to give one of his kidneys to save the life of a politician’s child. I cannot imagine certain governors watching their own kid die when they can force your child to donate. What do you think?Willing to gamble your child’s health and rights on a governor’s morals?

        Forced-Birthers are celebrating the state’s takeover of women’s and girls’ bodies now. Let’s see how happy you are to lose your own bodily autonomy and integrity. That is what you are opening the door to.

  • Donna Tella

    April 11, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    The question is, when is it appropriate for the government to interfere with a person’s fundamental right to make choices for themselves? I’d suggest that it’s when societal welfare and the rights of an individual can no longer be preserved equally without government regulation of a specific activity. In other words, a “compelling government interest” exists when a particular activity threatens societal welfare in such a way, or to such an extent, that makes it necessary for the government to step in and restrict it. A “government interest” does not exist merely because people in government “care about” a particular activity, issue, outcome, class of people, etc., or because they are offended, uncomfortable with, or ticked off by, the choices of another person.
    Even a legitimate “government interest” is not “compelling” unless it is vital to preserving societal welfare. I see no sufficient nexus between the activities restricted by Senate Bill 300 and the welfare of society. You may not agree but from the comments of those supporting the ban, the 6-week gestational “deadline” it imposes is arbitrary in nature. There is no concrete evidence that the 6-week deadline is necessary to prevent human suffering or to preserve human rights. It is a deadline derived from the reliance of a few who believe a heartbeat can be detected as early as 6 weeks into a gestational period.
    As I’ve pointed out, the gestational age relies on a woman’s memory or documentation of certain events taking place with respect to her own body and cannot even be estimated without her offering the correct information to her doctor. If the Legislature deemed the 6-week gestational age of such importance that it was necessary to preserve societal welfare, I imagine we’d see more than just hope that a woman provides accurate information to her doctor. As you may know (since it appears you have a legal education from comments previously made), the arbitrary nature of the regulation also means it is not narrowly-tailored to address whatever threat of harm the government would seek to prevent by it. On the whole, this bill is not necessary to achieve an articulated “compelling government interest” but if you have evidence to the contrary, please correct me.

  • John Dough

    April 12, 2023 at 7:36 am

    I thought the bill prohibits abortions after the point at which a heartbeat is detected in the unborn child. Is that not what the bill does? It just says “6 weeks from the point at which a doctor estimates conception occurred?” No way. I’ve read the bill before. I’m certain it was not as arbitrary as you are characterizing it.

    • Donna Tella

      April 12, 2023 at 9:48 pm

      Final comment, John Dough, then I’ve got to stop replying to these every day.
      The bill prohibits an abortion (with limited exceptions) if the “gestational age” is determined by a physician to be at least 6 weeks. The bill does not account for “fetal age” or require a physician to detect a “heartbeat” prior to refusing the procedure. That’s why it’s arbitrary.
      There is no articulated nexus between the ban and any actual threat of harm justifying the government’s intrusion upon a woman’s fundamental right to make her own healthcare decisions. But as we’ve seen, what DeSantis wants, DeSantis gets. Even women in the Legislature aren’t trying to stop him. This passed overwhelmingly under a female Senate President and a female Senate Minority Leader (Book). It’s sponsored by women in the House and Senate. They pretend they are powerless to stop these blatantly unconstitutional bills, even though they’re the ones writing and voting on them.
      Either they’re all incompetent, or they’re just weak. Thankfully, they’re also replaceable. No one man should have all that power.

    • cassandra

      April 13, 2023 at 2:19 pm

      At six weeks the *EMBRYO* (not “child”) does not have a heart, so there is no “heartbeat”. All that is present is electrical activity; the sound you hear is manufactured by the ultrasound machine.

      The term “unborn child” is anti-woman hate speech created by the Anti-abortionist Industry. It is a fundraising tool. Unfortunately, the term harms actual children by putting them on the same level as a zygote. It is no less offensive than racial or religious hate speech.

Comments are closed.


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