Protesters Rally on 50th Anniversary of Roe

Organizer says it’s easy to be angry, hard to stay focused

Protesters on the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (Photo by John Anderson)

“Not the Church, not the state, women must decide their fate,” protesters chanted outside the state capitol Sunday, which marked the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

The Austin chapter of the Brown Berets, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Communist Party gathered at the state capitol as part of the “Texas Day of Action” to take a stand against the state’s near-total abortion bans following the reversal of Roe. Hours earlier, hundreds of protesters gathered for the same cause as a part of the Women’s March, a national initiative.

“One in five people were not able to access basic reproductive healthcare even when abortion was legal in Texas,” said Winn Ellinger, organizer of the Austin PSL, pointing to the roughly 20% of Texans who don’t have health insurance. “Without insurance, it costs nearly $20,000 to have a child within the state of Texas.”

A 2022 report from the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee found that 90% of pregnancy related deaths in Texas in 2019 were preventable. Previous MMRC reporting showed that Black women were twice as likely and Hispanic women four times as likely to suffer a pregnancy-related death than white women.

“If this really was the land of the free, we would have the freedom of making these decisions without unjust and egregious governments making bans.” Ellinger said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott sent out a press release in support of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe, saying, “Texas has prioritized supporting women’s healthcare and expectant mothers in need to give them the necessary resources so that they can choose life for their child.”

Jen Wiseman, chair of the Austin branch of Communist Party USA, said that since the GOP has been razor-focused on getting Roe overturned from the start, Texans need to come together and focus on methods to regain these rights with similar commitment. “It’s easy to be angry, hard to stay focused.”

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