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St. Petersburg among the cities holding protests against the abortion ruling

crowd of people holding signs and chanting in protest
Octavio Jones
WUSF Public Media
Haile Raybuck, left, and her sister, Karlie Hardick, attend the "We Won't Go Back" rally Friday in St. Petersburg, where several hundred people marched to protest the U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

About 500 people marched Friday afternoon around Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg.

Friday’s Supreme Court decision on abortion led to multiple protests in the greater Tampa Bay region.

The group Bans Off Our Bodies organized events in St. Petersburg, Lakeland and Sarasota. In St. Petersburg, about 500 attended the protest. WUSF spoke to a few of those attending and asked why they decided to speak up.

Ruth and Jim Barrens
Robert Williams
Alexandra Brightwell

Ruth and Jim Barrens

Ruth: I’m Jewish, he’s Catholic, and we both believe in a woman's right to choose and a woman's right to an abortion. And it's an area that's dear to us because we have a daughter and a stepdaughter, and they are of reproductive age, and it's their right to their own bodies and their own health care choices.

Jim: Well, we're lurching toward a theocracy here. And the recent decision on abortion but also the decision on providing public funds for religious schools is, is lurched toward theocracy. And we have a minority of the people, three Supreme Court judges in particular, we have minority of the people who are setting a theological basis, and taking their views and trying to force him upon the rest of the country. And I think it's a very dangerous time. We've never been in a situation in America where a theocracy might take over. And if we're not there now, is close.

Robert Williams

Roe V Wade has been established precedent for decades and here we are, for the first time ever going back on constitutional rights. I have my wife, I have five sisters, you know, three nieces that are female. This is not fair for them. So I'm here to fight for a better future for them.

Alexandra Brightwell

It's just really, really scary. And I think that the government is stripping rights away from women, because one man can have sex with 100 women in a year and, you know, that's 100 children. But a woman can only carry one child to term. So…if it's really about the children, then men should be getting a vasectomy. It's really coming down to, I really think, it's just a war on women. And I hate it and I just don't agree with it.

I’m Octavio Jones, a frequent contributor to WUSF, and native of Washington D.C. I’ve also spent an extensive time of my life in North Carolina.