"Bans Off Our Bodies!" — Hundreds rally for abortion rights in downtown West Palm Beach
Updated: May 16
THEIR ANGRY VOICES were loud. The signs they carried were even louder.
Nearly 1,000 abortion rights supporters rallied in downtown West Palm Beach on Saturday as part of a nationwide day of protests over fears the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide will be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
An hourlong rally at the Meyer Amphitheatre was followed by a peaceful march downtown punctuated by shouts of "Bans Off Our Bodies.'' West Palm Beach police helped provide safe passage for the marchers, who briefly blocked vehicular traffic on Olive Avenue, Banyan Boulevard and Flagler Drive.
Speakers at the rally included U.S. Congresswoman and former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, State Sen. Lori Berman and State Rep. Jervonte Edmonds. State Sen. Bobby Powell and State Rep. Matt Willhite made appearances.
Other protests were held Saturday from New York and Washington to Chicago and Los Angeles, some attracting opposition protesters. In South Florida, rallies were held in Delray Beach and Stuart.
No counter protesters showed up at the West Palm Beach rally, but one man on the sidewalk on Banyan Boulevard held a rosary and prayed as marchers passed him.
The protests are the start of what organizers said would be "a summer of rage" in response to the May 2 leak of a draft opinion showing the court's conservative majority ready to reverse the 1973 landmark decision that established a federal constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.
On a Facebook post, Planned Parenthood Action said more than 1 million people rallied Saturday at over 450 abortion-right events nationwide and around the world.
At the West Palm Beach protest, the mood was a mix of anger, hope and determination. But many participants were disappointed the turnout wasn't higher. Informal crowd estimates ranged from 500 to more than 1,000.
Those who did attend brought an array of provocative signs that pulled no punches.
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Joe Capozzi is an award-winning reporter based in Lake Worth Beach. He spent more than 30 years in the newspaper business, mostly at The Palm Beach Post, where he wrote about the opioid scourge, invasive pythons, the birth of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Palm Beach County government. For 15 years, he covered the Miami Marlins baseball team. Joe left The Post in December 2020. View all posts by Joe Capozzi.