Thousands protested the proposed strict anti-abortion measures in front of the Texas legislature. (Photo: courtesy of Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer)

Thousands ‘stand with Texas women’ in abortion showdown with Governor

Thousands gathered in the scorching heat in front of the Texas Capitol – less than a week after a 12-hour filibuster by state Senator Wendy Davis prevented one of the toughest abortion measures in the country from being approved in the Texas legislature. Governor Rick Perry called for a second session— provoking opponents to ‘stand with Texas women’ as they rallied at the capitol to send a message.

“It’s 100-degrees weather, on a Monday afternoon in Texas, and there are thousands of women out there saying they’re not going to take it anymore,” said Democratic state representative Trey Martinez Fischer.  “To know that Texas women are going to make a stand for it sends a symbolic message.”

More than five thousand women and men joined national reproductive rights activists, as well as celebrities and legislators as they rallied on the south steps of the Texas Capitol. The crowd gathered to protest an upcoming bill being reviewed by the Republican-led legislature, in an attempt to pass one of the toughest abortion measures in the country.

“They’re fighting for human rights— for being able to make their own healthcare choices and the right to keep their privacy,” said Martinez Fischer.

Stand with Texas Women organized the rally at the Texas Capitol—stating on their Facebook event page that Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst are attacking the constitutional rights of women in the state. Over 6,000 people joined the invitation to show support for this rally.

“Governor Perry has become desensitized to the issues of the real world,” said Martinez. “Thousands of women are taking a principled stand.”

Supporters of the bill, however, disagree. Executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, Joe Pojman, explained that the new bill would benefit women. The pro-life advocate said he supports Governor Perry in his pursuit  to protect women.

“We’re very grateful for the governor,” said Pojman, “This bill is about increasing level of procedure protection in the state of Texas. Women deserve that level of standard of care.”

Abortion rights supporters disagree. According to Stand with Texas Women advocates, if the Texas abortion ban passes, women’s access would virtually disappear, because only one in six providers would be able to provide safe and legal abortions.

Democratic Latina state Senator Leticia Van De Putte told MSNBC that abortion facilities would be reduced from about 40 to five.

“This is a huge burden. My fear is that we’ll return to the days where women who are desperate resorted to those types of procedures that put their life at risk,” said Van De Putte. “This is about women’s health, and it is their constitutional right to have a say-so in their own reproductive lives.”

Van De Putte said they will continue to fight, but what is essential is for citizens to be heard.

“They [lawmakers] need to hear this message about not messing with Texas women,” said Martinez.

The Senate met briefly this afternoon, but it will resume July 9th.

%d bloggers like this: