Manatee County Commissioner James Satcher raised the idea of tightening local abortion restrictions at a June commission meeting.
Dozens of protesters voiced opposition to the possibility of tighter abortion restrictions in Manatee County at Tuesday's commission meeting.
Many of them spoke directly to commissioners during a public comment session at about 9:30 a.m. before stepping outside the front of the building and chanting in protest for about an hour leading into an 11 a.m. press conference.
Kate Danehy-Samitz, co-founder of Women's Voices of South West Florida, said protesters planned to return to commission meetings "as often as they need to" in order to make their voices heard.
Commissioner James Satcher raised the idea of tightening local abortion restrictions in Manatee County at a June 8 commission meeting and received unanimous approval from commissioners to use county resources to research a proposal and contact stakeholders.
There are no abortion clinics in Manatee County, and Satcher said his proposal would aim to keep it that way. Danehy-Samitz said further restrictions of abortion would be an attack on women's rights. She suggested the efforts of anti-abortion activists should be redirected to children in the county's foster care system.
"It's a waste of taxpayer money to pursue this in a county with no abortion clinics," Danehy-Samitz said.
In addition to further abortion restrictions, Satcher said he wanted to create incentives for women in crisis pregnancy situations to give birth.
Abortion is legal in Florida before the third trimester. After 24 weeks, it is only allowed if deemed necessary to save a pregnant woman from possible death or serious impairment, according to state statute.
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