100 rally for abortion rights on 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade


In its historic Roe v. Wade decision 44 years ago Sunday, the U.S. Supreme Court decriminalized abortion and ensured a woman’s right to privacy when terminating her pregnancy.

The case has served as legal precedent for abortion rulings the past four decades.

On Sunday, about 100 grass-roots activists met at the south steps of the state Capitol to celebrate the anniversary of the landmark decision, just as many Republican lawmakers are attempting to restrict abortion rights in Texas.

“The Supreme Court sent a clear and strong and proud message to our citizens and the world that the United States of America trusts women to make health decisions for themselves,” state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, said during opening remarks Sunday. “Even today on this historic anniversary, we hear federal and state calls to repeal this ruling.”

Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned abortion rules that would have left nine clinics operating in Texas. However, this legislative session, many Republican lawmakers are seeking to enact additional regulations, including a bill that would ban abortion outright.

The bill would create an intentionally unconstitutional law that its author, Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, hopes would provoke a legal challenge that rises to a U.S. Supreme Court filled by anti-abortion rights nominees from President Donald Trump.

Farrar on Sunday called on her fellow Texas lawmakers to reject those attempts and preserve the legacy of Roe v. Wade.

“We cannot afford to go backwards,” she said. “Roe (v. Wade) is a symbol of trust and progress, and don’t ever forget it.”

The crowd braved the whipping afternoon winds, which topped 45 mph, to chant for the right to choose. People waved signs that read “Save Roe v. Wade” and “Stop the war on women” — many leftover from Saturday’s women’s march, which brought an estimated 50,000 people to the Capitol.

“Political and ideological attacks on reproductive freedoms are escalating,” event organizer Andrea Hughes said from the podium. “They are not going to stop, and neither can we.”

Other Republican-backed legislation introduced this session would outlaw abortions in which the fetus is dismembered by forceps or other non-suction instruments, require fetal remains to be buried or cremated, prohibit abortion providers from donating fetal tissue for medical research and ban insurance coverage for abortions.

Another proposed law would eliminate an exception that allows for third-trimester abortions for fetuses with “severe and irreversible abnormalities,” and a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution would guarantee “the right to life of unborn children.”

Planned Parenthood has challenged a plan to oust its health clinics from Texas Medicaid, which provides care to low-income residents. State officials were ordered to leave Planned Parenthood in the program until Feb. 21 while a judge researches and writes an opinion.

“It’s easy to feel hopeless in the face of such adversity,” Hughes said at Sunday’s rally. “That’s another reason this event is so very necessary in this moment. Sometimes the greatest, most bright, beautiful and wonderful things are born out of our darkest moments.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Sheriff will enforce immigration detentions after SB 4 court ruling
Sheriff will enforce immigration detentions after SB 4 court ruling

Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez ordered her office to start honoring all federal immigration detention requests placed on local jail inmates after a federal appeals court ruling Monday allowed parts of Senate Bill 4, the controversial “sanctuary cities” ban, to go into effect. The appellate court’s order essentially undoes Hernandez&rsquo...
Judge to rule on DA’s request to put hold on Rep. Dukes’ felony charges
Judge to rule on DA’s request to put hold on Rep. Dukes’ felony charges

After admitting they were caught off guard by a flip-flopping witness in state Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ corruption case, Travis County prosecutors are asking a judge to grant a trial delay so they can have more time to prove 13 felony charges. The outcome of a hearing Tuesday afternoon will determine whether the district attorney’s office gets...
Houston residents move to new emergency shelter at mall
Houston residents move to new emergency shelter at mall

The American Red Cross moved more than 250 people from a Houston convention center to a new emergency shelter in an empty department store almost a month after Hurricane Harvey displaced thousands. Storm victims began relocating from the NRG Center to the Greenspoint Mall on Friday, the Houston Chronicle reported. The mall may be able to house storm...
Supreme Court declines to speed Texas redistricting case
Supreme Court declines to speed Texas redistricting case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request to speed its review of a lower-court ruling that said several congressional and Texas House districts had to be redrawn because they discriminated against minority voters. The request, made by lawyers challenging the maps as unconstitutional, was rejected without comment in orders the Supreme Court...
Gov. Abbott urges Congress to pass latest Obamacare repeal bill
Gov. Abbott urges Congress to pass latest Obamacare repeal bill

With the fate of the latest Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare coming down to the wire in Washington, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Monday urging Congress to get it done. “With health care premiums skyrocketing and access to affordable insurance shrinking, it is irrefutable that Obamacare is broken and must be repealed,&rdquo...
More Stories