‘It really is unbelievable’: Abortion ruling draws protests in Orlando

Activists, doctors speak out after historic ruling

Protests and praise followed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Protests and praise followed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.

At a rally Friday evening for abortion rights in Orlando, organizers called to protect abortion care access in Florida. People in attendance at the event hosted at the Renaissance Theatre Company on Princeton Street told News 6 they feel anger and frustration.

“I feel like we’ve been going backwards,” Danielle Mathis said. “It really is unbelievable.”

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“Even though I expected it, it was still incredible to have a right we’ve had for 50 years overturned,” said Debbie Deland with the Greater Orlando National Organization for Women. “I don’t think it’s a decision that our government, mostly white men, can make for women. It’s just wrong.”

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The Supreme Court on Friday stripped away women’s constitutional protections for abortion, a fundamental and deeply personal change for Americans’ lives after nearly a half-century under Roe v. Wade. The court’s overturning of the landmark court ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

Outside a Planned Parenthood clinic on University Boulevard, a group of anti-abortion advocates voiced victory.

“I’m so thankful,” said Michele Herzog, who came from Volusia County. “You know, 49 years, crying and pleading for this to be overturned.”

Michele Herzog says she had an abortion in the late 70s. It’s a decision she says she regrets.

“My life was destroyed for many, many, years,” Herzog said.

She now encourages families to seek other options, like adoption.

Doctors at Planned Parenthood say their clinics remain focused on helping women access abortion care in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“Make no mistake: peoples’ health care and lives are on the line,” said Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran, the chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.

Dr. Sujatha Prabhakaran is part of a group of physicians in Florida now calling for change. The Committee to Protect Health Care hosted a virtual press conference with the group, who denounced the ruling Friday.

“As doctors, we are horrified by this unprecedented ruling. We feel obligated to stand up for patients who should be able to make their own decisions,” said Dr. Cecilia Grande, an OB-GYN in Miami.

Planned Parenthood expects people will travel from other southeastern states to Florida for abortion care. They are now preparing to help those patients, saying in a statement Friday they expect some people will travel hundreds of miles to Florida.


About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.