Thousands rally at anti-abortion demonstration in Texas

By AFP   January 27, 2024 | 06:06 pm PT
Thousands marched Saturday in an anti-abortion rally in Texas, demanding providers of the procedure "stay away" from the conservative U.S. state.

"Pro-life" activists gathered outside the state Capitol in Austin, carrying signs with slogans reading "Abortion hurts women" and "Pray to end abortion."

The topic is a constant hot-button issue in American politics -- and even more so in an election year.

Anti-abortion activists march outside of the U.S. Capitol during the March for Life in Washington, Jan. 20, 2023. Photo by AP

Anti-abortion activists march outside of the U.S. Capitol during the March for Life in Washington, Jan. 20, 2023. Photo by AP

A 2022 Supreme Court decision ending the federal right to the procedure was a huge win for the anti-abortion movement, though Democrats have been able to strongly campaign in support of abortion access since.

Many states have tightened their laws in response to the ruling, but the anti-abortion movement has suffered setbacks when the issue has been put on the ballot for Americans to vote on directly, even in conservative locales.

"We tell the killers of the baby: stay out of our free state of Texas. Amen," Haywood Robinson, director of medical affairs for anti-abortion group 40 Days for Life, told the crowd.

Since 2022, 21 US states have restricted or banned abortion. In Texas, a state "trigger" ban went into immediate effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, prohibiting abortions even in cases of rape or incest.

Democratic President Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris have rallied around abortion rights ahead of this year's presidential election, warning of further restrictions under a Republican administration.

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, meanwhile, has reminded voters that he appointed three of the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade.

"We are doing everything we can here at the rally and back in our hometowns to support women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies," Claire Culwell, a board member of the Texas Alliance for Life, told AFP.

"We're seeing what will happen if we pick the Democratic candidate... Personally I would say that probably everybody here is looking at the Republican candidates," she said.

First Lady Jill Biden last week invited a woman who fled Texas for an emergency abortion to attend the State of the Union address on March 7.

Kate Cox was more than 20 weeks pregnant with a fetus with a rare genetic defect, full trisomy 18, which meant it would likely die before birth or at most live a few days.

Doctors said failure to terminate the pregnancy could cause a rupture to Cox's uterus, threatening her future fertility and her life.

Because of the strict abortion laws in Texas, she sued the state last year. A judge ruled in her favor, but the state attorney general appealed.

With the clock ticking, Cox left Texas in December to seek an emergency abortion.

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