Saturday, October 2 more than 600 Women’s Rights Marches around the nation rallied in protest of recent restrictive abortion laws. In St. Petersburg, residents and officials marched at the Bans Off Our Bodies Rally at Vinoy Park.
The event was one of many shadowing the fifth Women’s March in Washington, D.C. that same day, with protesters responding to the Supreme Court’s decision not to block the recent Texas abortion law that prevents women from having abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Opponents of the law say that many women are not aware they are pregnant in that time period. Abortion restrictions are on the table in at least 47 states, according to NPR.
In addition to an enormous crowd of sign-waving protesters, officials from St. Petersburg and the state, as well as Gulfport councilmembers April Thanos and Paul Ray, got on stage at Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Dr NE, in support of women’s choice.
“I can’t believe I’m still protesting abortion issues,” Thanos said at the event, “whether I’m here as a councilmember or here as a woman.”
Said protester Sina Zeinelawdin, “It’s so empowering to be here. It should be our choice, right?”
Heading the march, St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin spoke with passion in a pair of hot pink combat boots.
“As many of you know, I am the deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, but I’m not here in that capacity…I stand here today with you as a woman, as a sister,” Tomalin said. “This is the exact right place for this gathering. It’s not unique to us, but it is the St. Pete way.”
Among the notable attendees were Florida Representative Charlie Crist and Caprice Edmond – the Pinellas School Board Member who is fighting for masks in schools.
“Let us be clear: Keep your bans off our bodies!” Tomalin said at the end of her speech. The crowd erupted.