Last Saturday on October 2nd, pro-choice and pro-abortion advocates gathered across the United States to protest the new pro-life legislation in Texas. In its metropolitan city of San Antonio, protestors who attended the “March Off Our Bodies” in Milam Park had been asked to do several things to stand in solidarity with the movement. These included wearing orange, bringing noisemakers, carrying signs, and other standard demonstration practices. However, a couple of guidelines were published by the organizers who had hoped to diminish the ineffective behaviors commonly seen at pro-choice rallies. These included asking rally attendees to “avoid using hangers and the appearance of the dangers of illegal abortions” and to avoid wearing handmaiden outfits to appear more inclusive to minorities. However, it was clear that not everyone got the memo. Signs at the rally included messages such as “Abort Abbott,” “Viva la Vulva,” “Abortion is Healthcare,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fundamental Rights,” “#SmashPatriarchy,” and more. Many protestors also brought to the scene their families, including young babies. More imagery can be seen from the pro-abortion march here.
The new Texas legislation is commonly called the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” or SB 8, led by Rep. Slawson and Sen. Hughes and signed by Gov. Abbott last May. In a tweet, Gov. Abbott posted- “The heartbeat bill is now LAW in the Lone Star State. This bill ensures the life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.” In a statement he posted on May 19th, Gov. Abbott explained- “Our creator endowed us with the right to life. And yet, millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. In Texas, we work to save those lives, and that’s exactly what the Texas legislature did this session. They worked together on a bipartisan basis to pass a bill that I am about to sign that ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.” The bill took effect on September 1st, 2021, prompting state and national outrage among pro-choice and pro-abortion activists.
The new law provides an explicit definition for abortion, which is “the act of using or prescribing an instrument, a drug, a medicine, or any other substance, device, or means with intent to cause the death of an unborn child, remove a dead, unborn child whose death was caused by spontaneous abortion, or removing an ectopic pregnancy.” Written in the bill are several solutions that address common talking points of the abortion debate. Many believed that the bill would allow for the woman receiving the abortion to be sued. However, the bill explicitly states in Sec. 171. 208 that only for those performing or financially aiding in the abortion would this be the case. The bill also provides an exception for when the mother’s life is at risk, with the doctor’s discretion and proper documentation in Sec. 171. 205. In Sec. 171. 207, the bill addresses rape and incest where it states- “a civil action under this section may not be brought by a person who impregnated the abortion patient through an act of rape, sexual assault, incest, or any other act prohibited.” These specific contents of the bill were not mentioned by the organizers or speakers of the Milam Park gathering.
During the beginning of the San Antonio rally, few counter-protestors could be spotted on the sidelines, primarily engaged with rally attendees in debate and armed with pro-life signs and charts of the gestation period. Toward the end of the march, pro-life students from St. Mary’s University were also reported to be engaged with protestors. A pro-life chain and prayer also took place the following day in San Antonio, with the turnout being significantly smaller than the rally from the day prior. However, attendees included a Catholic bishop, various preachers, several families, and many patriotic Americans whose chain of signs was so long that neither end could be seen for several kilometers. The organizers described the event as “a visual statement of solidarity by the Christian community that abortion kills children and that the church supports the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.”
About the Author:
Bean Dashnea is currently a student of foreign language and political science. She has lived between the U.S. and Europe for nearly 14 years but considers Texas home. After Bean changed her party registration from Democrat to Republican circa 2018, she immediately recognized the public discourse shift. She knew she was caught in the war on culture and information. Bean currently works with local Republican chapters and primarily advocates for smaller government and geopolitical awareness.