Texas abortion law drumming up huge political engagement, spending

Texas Politics

A group of abortion advocates hold a protest called “Bans Off Our Bodies” at the Texas Capitol at noon on Wednesday (KXAN/Monica Madden)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than a week after Texas’ abortion law — which is now the most restrictive in the U.S. — took effect, the argument over whether or not the law is both constitutional and just is still raw. Over the past nine days, Texans on both sides of the argument are not only sharing their thoughts, but many are putting their money where their mouths are.

Run for Something, a group that recruits and supports young progressives for state and local offices, says in the two days following the law’s implementation, it saw a 100% increase in people inquiring about running for office. That’s only grown since.

“Then that Friday and Saturday we saw over 500 new people come in the door, which is like a huge increase,” said Ross Morales Rocketto, co-founder and co-executive director of Run for Something. “Probably close to a 500%-600% increase over the past few days.”

Many of those people, Morales Rocketto says, are from Texas. But the new state law is also inspiring people from across the nation to take action.

A national ripple effect

“The Texas story, the Texas abortion ban is sort of like the rare piece of legislation at the state level that has a real overarching national impact,” he said.

Lawsuits under the law could eventually be bumped up to the Supreme Court, where there is potential to set a new precedent nationwide.

While some are taking a career dive into the issue, others are opening their checkbooks instead.

A GoFundMe organized by the National Abortion Federation in response to the Texas abortion law has raised close to $50,000 as of Thursday morning. Hundreds of people — from Texas to as far away as Canada — have donated to that campaign.

But it’s not just anger that’s fueling political engagement. The Texas Alliance for Life says they’re also seeing increased interest in their organization, especially on social media.

“Our numbers on our Twitter and Facebook engagements have gone through the roof. We’re astounded,” Joe Pojman, executive director Texas Alliance for Life, said.

The Texas Alliance for Life focuses on education, pro-life policy creation and promoting alternatives to abortion.

“As that message gets shared within Texas and beyond Texas, we’re delighted, that’s accomplishing our goal,” he said.

Issue-fueled political engagement not new

It’s not the first time, even this year, that a huge amount of political engagement has been drummed up by an event. Run for Something says it’s not uncommon for them to see a spike in recruitment when something captures headlines.

“We had a pretty significant spike around and after the January 6 insurrection,” Morales Rocketto said.

He adds that people who usually step through the door because they’re angry about one issue, typically have a number of other platforms they’re passionate about too.

“Whatever happened that particular day might have been the catalyst for them to step up but they have a lot of problems that they want to solve and step up and be part of the solution,” he said.

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