'We're not going backwards': Hundreds attend 'Bans Off Our Bodies' rally in Viera
VIERA — Cries of "our bodies, our choice" could be heard throughout the blistering afternoon heat in Viera on Saturday as a large crowd of pro-abortion rights supporters gathered to voice their discontent with a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision.
The rally was one of hundreds across the country in which thousands of protesters spoke out against a draft Supreme Court opinion that would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The court's decision, leaked earlier this month, would eliminate the consitutional right to an abortion that has been in place for nearly 50 years.
Hundreds of protesters carried signs outside the Viera courthouse decrying the decision.
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Women carried handmade poster boards with strong slogans such as: "I will not go quietly back to the 1950s" and "Ban Viagra: If pregnancy is God's will, so is impotence."
Pam Castellana, chair of the Brevard Democratic Executive Committee, said "we are out here today because democracy is worth fighting for."
"We saw the Supreme Court leak the possibility of overturning one of our most basic health-care rights and Brevard County is showing up to say that is not acceptable," Castellana said. "That is why we're here."
Seeta Begui, a Democratic activist, was one of the speakers at Saturday's rally. As one of 18 children, Begui spoke on her first-hand knowledge of the importance of reproductive rights.
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"We're still fighting for reproductive rights. We cannot allow hate and ignorance and disinformation to win," she said. "We're not going backwards."
Begui said one of the formative experiences of her childhood is when a family member died in Trinidad and Tobago after a "backstreet" abortion. She remembered seeing the family member's two young children lose their mother prematurely.
"I was devastating. I remember asking myself, why did she have to die?" Begui said. "We cannot allow that to happen."
One of the demonstrators at the rally, Natasha Groden, said she comes from "generations of women who have fought for their rights."
"They always instilled in me that you need to make sure your voice is heard," she said. "I'm here for myself, my nieces and my daughter."
The leaked Supreme Court draft comes as many states across the country consider various restrictions and bans on abortions. Leaks of those drafts are highly uncommon, but the drafts themselves are a part of the court's process. Votes can often change and the court's final decision is not expected until June or July.
Polling conducted late last year showed broad support nationally for maintaining Roe v. Wade's constitutionally guaranteed right to abortion.
The poll, conducted Nov. 7-10, found 60% of Americans believe Roe should be upheld, versus 27% who believe the high court should overturn that landmark decision.
Activists like those at Saturday's rally believe they have the support to pressure politicians to maintain the right to abortion guaranteed Roe v. Wade.