Hundreds rally at abortion rights protests across Florida after overturn of Roe v. Wade

Across the state, crowds of people with signs that read "Bans Off Our Bodies" and "We Won't Go Back," chanted refrains of "my body, my choice," giving voice to their anger, shock and fear. In 24 cities across Florida, including Miami, Orlando, Gainesville, Pensacola, Naples and West Palm Beach, protestors gathered at courthouses and in public parks to denounce the Supreme Court's landmark decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

The 1973 decision had established a constitutional right to abortion, and nearly 50 years later that legal responsibility has been returned to the states, leaving many Floridians wondering what's next.

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From Tampa to Tallahassee, protestors — and some celebrators — joined emotional crowds around the country, publicly grappling with the historic ruling.

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Abortion rights advocates protest, others 'relieved' in Sarasota about Roe v. Wade reversal

A mix of organizations, community leaders, families, and abortion-rights and reproductive freedom advocates braved scattered showers Friday night during a 12-hour "We Dissent" protest in downtown Sarasota following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn the historic abortion-rights case, Roe v. Wade.

Around 200 demonstrators gathered near Selby Public Library in Five Points Park at 7 p.m. beginning their hours-long protest that denounced the high court's ruling that abortion care is not a constitutional right.

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More than 200 abortion rights advocates protest at Florida Capitol

More than 200 abortion rights advocates turned out at the Florida Historic Capitol Friday. More than a dozen local groups helped organize the event, including the FAMU and FSU chapters of Students for a Democratic Society, the Tallahassee Community Action Committee and Tallahassee Planned Parenthood.

Speakers reminded participants the reversal will affect people of color and low-income groups disproportionately. They also emphasized the decision will impact groups other than women, including transgender and non-binary individuals.

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Supporters rally in Jacksonville for abortion rights

"Bans off our bodies, hands off our bodies," speakers told a cheering crowd at the Duval County Courthouse on Friday. The rally followed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, creating a patchwork of access across the country.

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In Palm Beach County: 'Here we go again'

In West Palm Beach, a gathering of about 80 women and men, some with tattoos and pink dyed hair and others with gardening hats and grandchildren, met on the Great Lawn at Clematis Street and Flagler Drive Friday to grieve the overturning of the landmark case that, for nearly 50 years, ensured a constitutional right to abortion.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel stood in the center of the circle and squinted into the crowd. She held a megaphone to her mouth.

“The sun is bright, but this is a dark day in our history,” she said.

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In Pensacola: 'If you don't support abortion, don't get one'

In the Panhandle, dozens of abortion rights supporters gathered outside the federal courthouse in downtown Pensacola. Protestors held signs saying "free yesterday, oppressed today," "defend Roe," and "our daughters deserve choices."

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Polk residents react with thanks, dismay to Roe v. Wade decision

Reflecting the national divide over abortion, Polk County residents shared strikingly disparate reactions to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling nullifying the Roe v. Wade ruling from 1973. The ruling didn’t come as a particular surprise to advocates on either side of the issue, though, after a draft version of the decision was anonymously leaked in early May,

“I think, even as hard as I've prepared, I just didn't really believe a constitutional right could be taken away,” said Bonnie Patterson-James of Lakeland.

Patterson-James, who had an abortion 30 years ago, insisted that the procedure is a personal matter of health care that pregnant people should be free to make without government involvement. Noting that the Supreme Court had affirmed Roe v. Wade in previous rulings, she suggested that the six Supreme Court justices voting in the majority had been motivated by politics rather than a reading of the Constitution.

“The court has changed,” she said. “Nothing else has changed — not the patients, not pregnancy, not conception, not medicine. Nothing changed but the court, and they took away my rights as a woman.”

Overturned: Polk residents react with thanks, dismay to Roe v. Wade decision

Contributors: Chasity Maynard, Tallahassee Democrat; Hannah Phillips, Palm Beach Post; Samantha Gholar and Stefania Lugli, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Gary White, The Lakeland Ledger; USA TODAY NETWORK - Florida

Janessa Hilliard is a digital producer with the USA TODAY NETWORK Florida-Georgia Digital Optimization Team.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Florida abortion rights protests after Roe vs Wade overturned