Students rally to demand abortion rights (includes video story)

Dozens of protesters walked through Florida International University’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus alongside busy traffic yesterday chanting in outrage against the overturn of Roe v. Wade. 

“My body, my choice,” the group chanted. 

The protest was organized by FIU students who are part of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA). Starting at 6 p.m., protesters gathered on the campus’s Graham Center lawn wearing green in solidarity with the International Women’s Movement. 

After the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, state lawmakers were left to regulate abortion laws and anti-abortion activists celebrated in the streets. Protestors across the country claimed the decision stripped away the rights of anyone with a uterus. 

During the rally, FIU Sophomore Hurma Aziz recalled how she felt when she first heard the news that Roe v. Wade had been overturned. 

“I was, and I still am, very upset,” she said. “I’m angry. I’m sad. I feel powerless.” 

Among those who attended, there was a shared sentiment of concern, fear and anger. As they did during a previous protest in Wynwood, attendees questioned why the Supreme Court had overturned a law that has been in place for 50 years. 

“Women deserve their rights to choose what they wanna do for their bodies,” said Marisa Valdes, a student who came from Miami Dade College to join the protest. “It is something so simple that it shouldn’t have been up for discussion or overturned.”

Police safely escorted the movement around campus grounds and made sure there was no confrontation between the YDSA protest and another group that gathered in favor of abortion bans. 

The FIU Catholic Panthers gathered on the other side of Graham Center lawns to pray in thanksgiving for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The small group that attended made it clear their intention was not to counter-protest.

“We are here just to celebrate and extend our solidarity to women,” said Emily Chaffins, pro-life chair and one of the organizers. “The pro-life movement from the beginning has been supporting women.” 

The new Florida abortion ban that is supposed to go into effect this Friday restricts abortion after 15 weeks with no exceptions in cases of rape, incest and human trafficking. After hearing arguments from Planned Parenthood to block the new ban, Leon Circuit Judge John C. Cooper is expected to issue a decision by Thursday. 

The pro-choice protest ended around 9 p.m. after marching around campus twice. Alex Franzblau, a rising senior, YDSA member and one of the event organizers spoke of the importance of student involvement in the country’s politics. He believes that this generation is responsible to fix this world and leave it a better place for generations to come. 

“If we don’t, then who else will?” he questioned.

Story by Rachel Costa. Video by Samantha Gutierrez and Esteban Rodriguez.

Esteban Rodriguez is a freshman majoring in TV/Broadcast media. He hopes to work in late-night entertainment, Filmmaking, sports journalism, and/or broadcast television. 

 

Samantha Gutierrez is a Latina freshman majoring in Digital Communication and Media. She is bilingual and enjoys covering stories about the environment and local events. She is passionate about broadcasting and aspires to pursue a career in anchoring.

Rachel Costa is a student at Florida International University majoring in Digital
Journalism and Communications. She was born and raised in Brazil, and enjoys reading
and writing. In the future, she hopes to work in the publishing industry.