AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Rally for Life at the State Capitol on Saturday brought in thousands of people calling for a ban on abortions.
Similar events took place nationwide, including in Washington D.C.
The rally comes on the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion and barred states from banning the procedure before fetal viability.
The U.S. Supreme Court, on Thursday, refused to speed up the ongoing court case over Texas’ ban on most abortions.
Over dissents from the three liberal justices, the court declined to order a federal appeals court to return the case to a federal judge who had temporarily blocked the law’s enforcement. The court offered no explanation for its action.
The Texas ban is thus likely to remain in effect for the foreseeable future, following a decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to send the case to the Texas Supreme Court, which is entirely controlled by Republican justices and does not have to act immediately.
“We’re all sitting here hopeful and optimistic that Roe v. Wade will not see its 50th birthday,” said Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Tarrant County.
On the 49th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, abortion opponents are feeling a bit more motivated.
“It could potentially scale back Roe v. Wade or overturn it completely,” said Amy O’Donnell, of the Texas Alliance for Life. “If that happens, then we will see life protected in Texas beginning at conception.”
O’Donnelle is talking about the Mississippi Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case making its way through the Supreme Court. The case would prohibit all abortions, with few exceptions, after 15-weeks.
For months now, however, the Texas Heartbeat Act has banned abortions when cardiac activity is detected.
“You know about the Texas Heartbeat Act, you know that a study at the University of Texas found a 50% drop in abortions performed at Texas abortion facilities,” said a rally spokesperson. “More than 2,000 babies lives saved since September.”
It’s all very alarming for pro-life activists.
“There have been folks that have had to pay three times as much as it would have cost before to get an abortion in the state of Texas, because they had to leave the state,” said Diana Gomez, Advocacy Director of Progress Texas. “There have been undocumented people who can’t get an abortion, because they can’t travel outside the state because there are checkpoints.”
Progress Texas fears their challenge to the Texas law won’t be resolved before a decision comes in the Mississippi case, and it could have a ripple effect across the country.
“There are already copy cat laws that are being passed similar to SB-8 in other states,” said Gomez.
The Texas Heartbeat Act is currently before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent the case back to the Texas Supreme Court. That is expected to add months to legal proceedings.