Roe v. Wade may have been overturned this morning, but the community has a message: this is not over.

A protest is scheduled for tonight at 5:30 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale’s Esplanade Park to speak out against the decision.

“This is an incredibly dark day for our country and no one who has been watching this is surprised,” said Emma Collum, the chairperson for Ruth’s List, which works to recruit and elect pro-choice leaders into office. “But our fight didn’t begin today and it doesn’t end today, so we now know that we’re going to be learning to live in a  post-Roe era.”

Collum said that speakers include abortion providers, community leaders, and abortion storytellers. The protest may turn into a march “because people are feeling passionate and unheard.”

She and her co-organizer, community organizer Jasmen Rogers, previously gathered people at the park in May after a draft of the court’s decision was leaked. The draft sent the country into a frenzy on both sides of the issue and emboldened conservative states to continue scaling back abortion rights.

In April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that banned abortions after 15 weeks, which goes into effect on July 1. Previously, the state’s law allowed abortions for up to 24 weeks. It does not make exceptions for cases of rape or incest, however, it does take into account if the pregnant person’s life is at risk.

Collum fears that in Florida, LGBT, people of color, Indigenous people, and economically disadvantaged people will be disproportionately impacted by the law.

The LGTBQ community is especially fearful that gay marriage is next — and it’s not unfounded. In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court should reexamine three past decisions: Griswold v. Connecticut (right of married couples to access contraceptives); Lawrence v. Texas (right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts); and Obergefell v. Hodges (right to same-sex marriage).

“We have a duty to ‘correct the error,’” he wrote.

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Collum said that should the Sunshine State’s laws become even more narrow, they’ll work to make sure to help transport people who need access to reproductive healthcare to states with broader rules.

And to Florida’s elected officials, she has a message.

“Let me say this: we will be coming for your seats so vote accordingly.”


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