In a publicity stunt to portray themselves as both heroes and victims, several Florida Democrat leaders were arrested Monday night while protesting against a pro-life bill in Tallahassee.
News Channel 8 reports police arrested 11 pro-abortion activists, including Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried and state Senate Democratic Minority Leader Lauren Book after telling them to leave numerous times.
Posts on social media from the Planned Parenthood abortion chain and other leftist groups portrayed Fried and Book as heroes for refusing to comply with police.
The protest took place after the Florida Senate passed a heartbeat bill, which could protect tens of thousands of unborn babies from abortion every year. Along with banning most elective abortions after the baby’s heartbeat is detectable, the bill also provides funds to help pregnant and parenting mothers.
After the vote, Book and several other pro-abortion lawmakers joined abortion activists to protest the pro-life bill in front of the Tallahassee City Hall, located near the state Capitol. According to Florida Politics, about 50 people participated in the protest, and most left once the permitted time ended.
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The Tallahassee Police Department said the city allowed protesters to use the property during “normal operating hours” before telling them to leave. Police said they issued numerous warnings before arresting 11 people who refused to obey orders. They were charged with trespassing.
Here’s more from News Channel 8:
City officials said they had been working with protest organizers for more than a week, however, they didn’t allow the group to camp overnight due to their size. Officials said the group could use the property during normal operating hours.
City officials said they warned the protesters multiple times throughout the day. They said the protestors acknowledged that if they refused to leave at sundown, they would be subject to arrest.
Abortion activists filmed their arrests, and Florida Planned Parenthood Action shared the video on Twitter. The abortion group described the protesters as “peaceful” and the killing of unborn babies in elective abortions as “health care.”
Ruth’s List Florida, a pro-abortion group that works to elect pro-abortion women lawmakers, slammed the arrests as “disgraceful” in a statement to Florida Politics.
“The arrest of our Democratic leaders and other peaceful protesters is the latest disgraceful assault on our civil liberties,” said Christina Diamond, interim CEO of the group. “It’s not enough for Florida Republicans to take away our bodily autonomy, now they’re trampling on our rights of free speech and assembly.”
However, abortion activists tried to quash free speech on the state Senate floor earlier Monday when they attempted to shout down lawmakers’ debate. After several disruptions, the sergeant at arms escorted them from the gallery so that the session could continue, according to local news reports.
The heartbeat bill would protect unborn babies by banning most abortions once their heartbeat is detectable, which occurs at about six weeks of pregnancy. It also includes a number of exceptions, including for victims of rape and incest and cases when the mother’s life or health is at risk “of substantial and irreversible physical impairment.”
The legislation, which appears likely to pass, has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives every year in Florida. There were 82,192 abortions reported in 2022, according to state health statistics.
The pro-life legislation also would provide $25 million to help pregnancy centers expand resources to pregnant and parenting families in need. An additional $5 million would go to the state family planning program to provide contraception to low-income individuals.
Republicans control the state legislature, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, a pro-life Republican, has promised to support legislation to restrict abortions and protect babies in the womb.
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