Michele Rayner launches abortion rally tour through CD 13

Michele Rayner is taking her congressional campaign on an abortion rally tour through Florida’s 13th Congressional District this month.

Rayner, who is running to fill the seat being vacated by gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, jumped into action hours after a draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to POLITICO. Rayner organized a rally outside the Pinellas County Courthouse in St. Petersburg. The rally drew about 200 supporters of reproductive rights including Crist and her fellow Democratic Primary opponents Ben Diamond and Eric Lynn.

Rayner told a fiery crowd it was time to bring the battle to the ballot box.

“We’ve got to make sure we vote like never before. Because our very lives depend on who we vote for,” Rayner told the crowd. “We must vote. The Republicans have shown us time and time again they care not about us. They care not about our bodies. They care not about the constitution.

“So, what are we gonna do?” She asked the crowd.

“Vote” they shouted back, launching into a call and response volley that increased in pressure and tension like rising mercury.

On Friday, Rayner announced on Twitter and in a news release that Tuesday was just the beginning. The rally is as much a push to mobilize voters as it is to call on lawmakers to codify the protections offered to women in the Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions. Most polling shows Americans support abortion access. And October 2020 Quinnipiac poll found that 68% of voters agreed with the Roe decision while 23% disagreed.

“This time, we’re going to make sure it’s permanent. When the SCOTUS draft opinion was leaked to the public, it was a shock to an already overburdened society,” Rayner said. “That is why we’re coming together, especially in this critical district which we must hold on to, to make our voices heard and make sure that the right-wing onslaught on our rights does not go any further.”

The tour kicked off with a stop in Clearwater’s Crest Lake Park Saturday. Next, it will go to:

Dunedin City Hall Monday at 6 p.m.; the Palm Harbor Library Wednesday at 5 p.m.; The Tarpon Springs Cultural Center Friday and 5 p.m.; Philippe Park in Safety Harbor on May 14 at 10 a.m.; the Indian Rocks Beach Library on May 15 at 5 p.m.; Bear Creek Park in St. Petersburg on May 17 at 6 p.m.; and Pinellas Park City Hall May 18 at 5:30 p.m.

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