By Alex Leader and Beth H., National Women’s Liberation, Gainesville
Thank you for helping to put abortion rights on the ballot, Alachua County!
The following organizations and individuals are being recognized to celebrate their leadership, but also to encourage Iguana readers to join up with these organizations in the fight that still lies ahead to place protection for abortion rights in Florida on the November 2024 ballot through a voter ballot initiative. If successful, this voter initiative will win a state constitutional amendment to protect and expand abortion rights.
The campaign’s petition collection phase led by the state-level organization Floridians Protecting Freedom is DONE. We have exceeded the goal of 891,523 petitions signed by registered Florida voters and verified by Florida county Supervisors of Elections, and we have exceeded the requirement for 14 congressional districts with 8% of registered voters signing petitions (presently we have reached this goal in 17 congressional districts and counting!).
Now the petition language will go in front of the State Supreme Court on February 7. If the ballot language passes successfully through the court, the next phase is voter registration, renewing people’s vote-by-mail status, and continuing to organize folks to be aware of this referendum so that they will turn out and vote for it in the November 2024 election.
If you are already working with a local social justice organization, that’s right where you need to be. But if you haven’t joined up yet with your time and your dues to support these grassroots-based groups, now is the time to do so.
The 2024 Florida legislative session lies ahead of us, as do the next phases of the abortion ballot initiative campaign. And any day now the Florida Supreme Court will rule on the 15-week abortion limit law in Florida. If that law is upheld, a 6-week abortion limitation will go into effect 30 days later. The ballot initiative campaign gives us a chance to move forward, rather than being forced to continually defend our human rights in Florida.
Your time, energy, and dues are needed to build a sustained, organized social justice movement that has the power to go on the offensive to win the things we need.
Alachua County organizations:
There are too many amazing individuals to name in our community, so huge thanks to the hard work put in by members of:
- Alachua County Labor Coalition
- UF College Democrats
- Democratic Women’s Club of Alachua County
- the Gainesville Radical Reproductive Rights Network (the GRRR Network)
- League of Women Voters of Alachua County
- National Women’s Liberation – Gainesville, FL chapter
- Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida
- Santa Fe College Planned Parenthood Generation Action
- Planned Parenthood Generation Action at UF
- Temple Shir Shalom in conjunction with RAC – Florida (Union of Reform Judaism, Religious Action Center)
- Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville – Social Justice Committee, and
- UF Young Democratic Socialists of America.
Thank you to Kai Christmas, former organizer for PPSENFL, for laying down the initial organizational framework for petition collection in Gainesville, and to Peggy Bowie for collecting petitions at local farmers’ markets every week since the campaign began in May 2023, and to Jim and Patricia Funk for making thousands of petition mailer packets which they distributed to voters at events throughout Alachua County.
Thank you to the almost 20 local businesses that served as petition collection points, and all the unaffiliated volunteers or groups we missed that provided leadership and worked their hearts out on this campaign.
And thank you to the Gainesville Iguana for consistently promoting this campaign.
Alachua County hubs: Thank you to these folks who ran centralized hub operations to sort and mail tens of thousands of petitions from Alachua County to the Floridians Protecting Freedom petition collection office in Sarasota:
- Gaby Gross, Riley Moon, Bryn Taylor, Roni Militello, and Mariah McGovern with the Civic Media Center,
- Jenn Hartz with Studio T/M Pottery and Clay,
- Bobby Mermer, coordinator for the Alachua County Labor Coalition, and
- Shayna Rich with the League of Women Voters of Alachua County.
For more information on what comes next, check out “Florida clears hurdle to vote on abortion amendment. What’s next?” at https://gainesvilleiguana.org/2024/articles/florida-clears-hurdle-to-vote-on-abortion-amendment-whats-next/