FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the supreme court overturning Roe VS. Wade it gives states the authority on abortion access or restrictions, so now the focus is to see how each state will react.
One group, The Southwest Florida Red Cloaks held a protest in Downtown Fort Myers on the steps of the Old Courthouse after Friday’s court ruling.
The steps of the old courthouse, filled on Friday evening with people chanting, “my body my choice” and some saying nothing at all.
Deborah Hopkins, one of the core members of the SWFL Red Cloaks said this was like scary for women and the LGBTQ+ community around the country, “I am so discouraged, I am depressed, I am angry.”
Tom Cabral, a devout Christian, says he was there to preach the word of the Lord, “I was elated, it puts us back on a live playing field now,” about the overturn.
These were two very different reactions, to Friday’s U.S. supreme court decision to overturn Roe VS. Wade, the case which provided a constitutional right to abortion.
Amanda Peterson, an organizer with the SWFL red cloaks says this is a decision they’re not going to accept and they’re making sure their voices are heard, with their impact display of silence.
“Making women second-class citizens in this nation is not acceptable and we’re going to resist,” over 15 women, standing in silence on the Old Courthouse Steps dawned long red cloaks and white bonnets, a play off of, “The Handmaid’s Tale” a book written by Margaret Atwood and now a popular Hulu series.
The ruling means, in Florida, on July 1st, a new law already signed by the Governor, bans most abortions in the state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Peterson says no one knows why a woman seeks a medical abortion, “and it’s none of our business quite frankly, it’s hers and her families and her providers alone,” Peterson goes on to say that it’s not right to impose one belief’s onto someone else.
The SWFL Red Cloaks have made it clear, that they believe a women’s right to choose what they do with their body and it’s a natural human right, which is why Peterson says they gathered.
But tom Cabral, who said he was excited about the ruling, says this is something he and others he agrees with have been waiting for, “That’s our hope, that Christians will continue to gather together and stand together to promote life.”
Cabral, who was at the rally by himself was met with opposing chants as well as others who drove by and honked in solidarity with him.
Hopkins, who vividly remembers being there for the Roe VS. Wade ruling in 1973 says there was more unity among people, from all walks of life, who believed differently, she offered this viewpoint.
“I support the right of you, or any other women to have an abortion, although I do not choose it for myself and that was respected within the ranks of the women’s rights movement,” Hopkins said.
Demonstrators stayed in front of the courthouse for several hours with signs as others drove by honking in support and others in opposition.