Florida’s abortion obstacle course 

Forty years after Roe v. Wade, women seeking abortions still face many hurdles.

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Walking through Ybor City with her grandmother, Janet Cruz says she pointed out the house where female cigar workers would go for backroom abortions.

“She remembered the exact house,” Cruz said.

Such stories are often told in hushed tones, long after the events occurred. Some never get told.

“We have this anniversary, but we don’t hear the struggle of women who had back alley abortions, who dealt with judgments and violence from their families,” Hunt said. “It’s another kind of coming out, and hearing their stories grounds us in what literally just happened.”

Proponents and opponents of abortion agree that the battle wages on.

Cruz says the Legislature is a numbers game: get the votes you need or nothing at all. Right now, Republicans make up two-thirds of the Legislature. Democrats picked up five seats in the last election, for a total of 44 seats.

“Democrats and Republicans are in lockstep against each other,” she adds. “On abortion, I don’t think we’ll ever compromise.”

Dupree has no illusions about the opposition.

“Opponents of the services we provide have stated their goal is to ban abortion. In [their] perfect world women wouldn’t have access to this procedure.”

Pro-life activist Chris Gladu can confirm that.

“Yes, I think abortion should be illegal,” says Gladu, who also rejects contraception and the use of condoms. “Society says you’ve done something great, but what you really did was kill your baby.”

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