Florida bill signed banning protests outside of homes

Abortion Protests – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Rena Schild

Protests outside of homes are now officially banned in the Sunshine State after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law banning such demonstrations.

DeSantis, who is both a potential 2024 rival to Donald Trump and a Trump ally, has become a rising star in Republican circles as he continues to court the party’s rightwing base and has his eyes set on a possible White House run. 

Following the leak on May 2, 2022 of a draft ruling showing the U.S. Supreme court was ready to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that essentially legalized abortion nationwide, liberal picketing outside the homes of conservative court justices was cited in a prepared statement from DeSantis on the bill-signing on Monday.

The protests outside the justices’ homes have been mostly nonviolent and within the first amendment’s limitations, which protects citizens’ rights to freely express themselves and peacefully congregate. Nonetheless, Governor DeSantis’s statement labeled those who have participated in protesting for the protection of abortion rights as “unruly mobs.”

“Sending unruly mobs to private residences, like we have seen with the angry crowds in front of the homes of supreme court justices, is inappropriate,” DeSantis said. “This bill will provide protection to those living in residential communities and I am glad to sign it into law.”

Florida’s so-called residential picketing ban won passage in the Sunshine State’s House of Representatives and the Senate by votes of 76-41 and 28-3. House Bill 1571 takes effect on October 1, 2022, and calls for anyone who is found guilty of breaking the new law to face up to sixty days in jail in addition to a maximum fine of $500.

The bill comes only a week after DeSantis signed a bill requiring Florida students to learn about “victims of communism” for at least 45 minutes on November 7th. That action occurred after DeSantis approved the state’s “don’t say gay” rule, which prohibits discussion of gender identity and sexual preference.

The protestors who heavily criticized DeSantis are now worried about how abortion would be completely outlawed nearly overnight in 26 states–more than half of the U.S.–if the leaked provisional decision that showed a total of five conservatives on the nine-justice supreme court had voted to reverse Roe v Wade becomes final.

While conservatives have shown support for the leak, liberals have protested heavily against it, with hundreds of thousands taking their concerns to the streets this past Saturday to signal their support for the rights granted through the Roe v. Wade case.

U.S. senators last week quickly passed legislation expanding security for supreme court justices and their close family members in the wake of the ruling of the leaked draft. The bill is still currently awaiting approval from the U.S. House.

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