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Monday, April 22, 2024
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Opinions generic

If you have a uterus, or care about someone who does, please read this.

Florida’s current abortion ban only prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, but make no mistake, the Florida Republican Party will work for a complete ban. They’re hoping you won’t pay attention. They’re counting on you doubting that the worst can happen. But pay attention, because it very well might. If Florida Republicans win big in November, they will double down on denying your right of bodily autonomy the first chance they get. 

That chance is quickly approaching. 

They won’t stop at eliminating abortion. Contraception is next. Around the country, Republicans are supporting candidates and incumbents on the state and federal levels who believe contraception should be strictly controlled or outlawed altogether. We all see Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempts to “out-extreme” other Republican governors around the country: If others implement restrictions to contraception, he’ll want an outright ban.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but they don’t want to just force you to give birth, they want to force you to get pregnant. Even if it threatens your health or your life. Even when a pregnancy is not viable. Even if you’re only 12 years old. 

The only way to stop them is to vote them out of office. 

In our area of Florida, protect your rights by voting for Democratic candidates. All of them have voiced strong support to protect reproductive rights. This is contrary to Florida Republicans, who have vowed to further erode your right to make decisions about your body. 

The Democrats who will be on your ballot in November include: Val Demings for U.S. Senate, Danielle Hawk for Congress, Charlie Crist for governor,Yvonne Hinson for Florida House District 20, Brandon Peters for Florida House District 21 and Rodney Long for Florida Senate District 9. Be proactive by contacting the campaigns of any of these candidates to ask how you can help.

Get registered to vote and make a plan to vote. You can request a vote-by-mail ballot from the Supervisor of Elections. It’ll arrive about a month before Election Day, so you have plenty of time to review it, make your choices and mail it back (no stamp is needed because postage is prepaid). Your second option is early voting, which is held two weeks prior to Election Day. There will be seven early voting sites in the county, including one at the Reitz Union. 

Another option is to vote on Election Day, Nov. 8, but only at your polling precinct. Be sure to check where your polling precinct is now, instead of waiting until the last minute. Details for all three of these options can be found at the Supervisor of Elections website.

Finally, get your friends registered to vote. Educate them on the importance of voting Democratic. Then make sure they vote: whether early, by mail or on Nov. 8. 

Our rights are on the line and we all have a responsibility to protect them — for ourselves and the people we care about.

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Susan Bottcher is a Precinct Committeewoman representing the Alachua County Democratic Executive Committee.

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