Lawmakers, advocates address anti-abortion agenda

Rep. Anna Eskamani speaking at rally. Photo by Jamal Sharp

A rally against an anti-abortion proposal took place before noon Tuesday  on the fourth floor of the Capitol building.  Planned Parenthood organized the rally along with youth advocates and lawmakers who wanted to say why they are opposed to House Bill 265, which forces parental consent for abortion.

This brief press conference/rally happened just moments before the bill was to be heard in the House Health and Human Services Committee meeting.

The primary speaker, Representative Anna Eskamani, a 29-year-old Democrat from Orange County, spoke with determination and motivation every time she stepped to the lectern to address the issue at hand.  Eskamani spoke on how some minors have absent parents and consent is nearly impossible to get, some minors may face physical abuse as they already do, and at risk youth are even more in danger.

Eskamani believes this is not about young people. “It is known that Florida already has parental notification laws in place which was through about amendment process because prior legislation has tried this parental consent and it was knocked down by the courts,” Eskamani said.  “We are seeing this same book played again right now, but the biggest difference is a totally different Florida who is in court.”

Eskamani introduced Michelle Stern, youth advocate and president of the FSU Chapter of Generation Action, to address the audience.

“I was raised as an advocate for a woman’s right to choose and I have been doing so for years now,” said Stern.  “Proponents of this legislation may tell you it’s about making other people safe, but that’s just not true.  We know that passing this bill is really just the first part of disturbing the plan to have our constitutional right to privacy reinterpreted to no longer safeguard access to abortion.”

A group of individuals, male and female, stood behind the speakers holding signs that read, “Stop the Anti-Abortion Agenda” and “Protect Our Privacy, Stop HB 265/SB 404”

Tori Terrell, president of the FAMU chapter of Generation Action, became emotional while speaking. She clearly felt strongly about the subject.  Terrell’s approach was to work together with lawmakers to find solutions to work for each person and family.

“Instead of using young people as pawns in a political agenda, let’s work together so we have all the information, healthcare, and services that support strong families and communities,” said Terrell.  “As we continue to speak out, these policies that endanger young people and jeopardize our health will not pass and will not prevail.”

Satisfied with the turnout, Eskamani said, “We came together today to express opposition to efforts to restrict access to a safe abortion in the state of Florida”

The House Health and Human Services Committee is expected to make a decision soon.