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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Anti-abortion demonstration held on Plaza of the Americas

<p><span>Exactly 2,537 flags were placed in Plaza of the Americas by UF Young Americans for Freedom chapter to represent the average number of abortions performed in the United States each day. </span></p>

Exactly 2,537 flags were placed in Plaza of the Americas by UF Young Americans for Freedom chapter to represent the average number of abortions performed in the United States each day. 

A sea of more than 2,500 fuschia flags covered Plaza of the Americas from dawn to dusk Tuesday.

The 25 students who set up the display are members of UF’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, said Sarah Long, the chapter president. The purpose of the display was to represent the average number of abortions given each day in the U.S., she said.

The number of daily abortions came from the Young America’s Foundation, but it is unclear how the foundation found that data.

“It is heartbreaking and inhumane for this many unborn children to be killed,” the 20-year-old UF economics junior said. “Denying a baby the right to life should never be a choice.”

Long declined to comment on the cost of the display.

The display is one of the activism events that members of the group have created to draw awareness for causes they believe are important, Long said. Previously, the chapter created another flag display with nearly 3,000 flags to honor each of the victims who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This is the second time the group has held the display against abortion, Long said. The first one was held last Spring and used toothpicks.

The group chose to use pink flags to garner more attention, Long said.

“Not only is bright pink a catchy color, it also represents innocence and reminds us how important it is for us to protect the most vulnerable among us,” Long said.

Group members took turns watching the display to make sure it was not vandalized, Long said. Other students kicked down the display last year.

Dylan Finucan, a 19-year-old UF political science sophomore, saw the display and said he believes women have the right to choose whether to have an abortion.

“Abortions will happen whether or not abortion remains legal from a federal level,” Finucan said. “This is why it’s so important to keep safe options open for women who decide to have one.”

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As the leader of the anti-abortion rights committee within the group, Philip Smith, a 21-year-old UF mechanical engineering junior, said he helped design the project and guarded it for the majority of the day.

“This is a message that needs to be seen, and I wasn’t going to let intolerant students stifle our freedom to share it,” Smith said.

Maxine Yeakle, a 20-year-old UF political science sophomore, said she sees both sides of the issue but believes women have the right to make decisions regarding their own bodies.

“I am pro-choice because I am pro-freedom,” Yeakle said.

Contact Taylor Roth at troth@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @Taylor__Roth.

Exactly 2,537 flags were placed in Plaza of the Americas by UF Young Americans for Freedom chapter to represent the average number of abortions performed in the United States each day. 

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