TAMPA, Fla. — Abortion rights are still a very contentious issue right here in the Tampa Bay area.
“I believe life starts at conception and that no one has the right to take that from another human being,” said Phyllis Esposito with the Tampa Bay Pro-Life Alliance.
“It’s a very personal decision and one day I want to make the decision out of my own free will, not because a governmental body will tell me that I have to have a child," said Adriana Gonzalez, who marched in a pro-choice rally.
People marched Saturday on the Riverwalk in Tampa and Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg for the “Bans Off Our Bodies” rally. They were protesting Texas’ new abortion law, which prohibits abortions in pregnancies after six weeks. Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant within the first six weeks. The law also deputizes citizens to report if they believe someone has had an abortion.
“A lot of people said that we were overreacting in the last couple of years because we say Roe v. Wade really getting dialed back. We were not overreacting. You can see the legislation. They made it really hard to challenge in the courts and we need to get out there and fight it,” said Christie Hattersley, one of the organizers of the “Bans Off Our Body” rally.
They were also protesting the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Texas’s anti-abortion law to stand. This, 48 years after the Roe v. Wade decision.
“It’s a constitutional right,” said Gonzalez.
However, some believe abortion rights take away from the rights of an unborn baby.
“That baby inside the woman is separate from the woman,” said Esposito.
Now the focus is on Tallahassee. House bill 167 is nearly identical to Texas’s anti-abortion law in that it would ban abortions in Florida once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The only exception is for medical emergencies.
“So, the Tampa Bay Pro-Life Alliance supports the House bill 167, which was written to protect, not only the child but also to better inform women,” said Esposito.
State House Representative, Fentrice Driskell, Democrat from District 3 is vowing to fight against this state bill.
“I want to make sure that we’re out here to demonstrate and tell my fellow lawmakers that we don’t want this in Florida," Driskell said.
People on both sides of the issue will have time to have their voices heard because state lawmakers don’t return to session until January.