I look forward to a day when these aren’t necessary, but in the meantime I am grateful to all who cared enough to participate or were there in spirit.
A crowd of more than 10,000 turned out Saturday in downtown Houston to encourage voter registration and to fight Texas’ restrictive abortion ban.
Participants in the Women’s March, organized by the nonprofit Houston Women March On, made their way from Discovery Green nearly a mile to City Hall, where Mayor Sylvester Turner greeted the crowd and proclaimed Oct. 1 as Women’s Voter Registration Day.
U.S. Reps. Al Green, Lizzie Fletcher and Sylvia Garcia attended, as did George Floyd Foundation executive director Shareeduh Tate, and DeAndre Hopkins’ mother, activist Sabrina Greenlee.
Although rain started falling as the speeches began, the crowd didn’t dwindle, even occasionally shouting in unison, “vote him out” or “our bodies, our rights.”
A main focus at the event was abortion rights in response to Senate Bill 8, which effectively prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected at around six weeks into a pregnancy. It became law Sept. 1.
Women’s marches took place in more than 500 cities across the U.S. Saturday. The protests emulated the women’s marches that were held across the country in January 2017 after the election of President Donald Trump.
The protests come just days before the Supreme Court reconvenes for its new nine-month term Monday. The court is expected to review whether all state laws that ban pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional.
Couple of things here. One, I wish media would be a lot more careful in describing this law, because the statement that it prohibits abortion “after a fetal heartbeat is detected at around six weeks into a pregnancy” is factually inaccurate and I believe gives the law greater support in opinion polls than it would get if it were correctly attributed. The whole “fetal heartbeat” claim is one made by its advocates, and it is not backed by any medical evidence. It’s disappointing to see that just accepted without any reference to the facts of the matter.
Two, we’re very much going to need this kind of energy not only going into the 2022 election, but for now and for after it to put pressure on Congress and specifically the Senate to take action on a whole range of issues that have popular support but are being stymied by a range of anti-majoritarian practices, mostly but not exclusively the filibuster. The idea that the Texas ban on abortion would flip the script on abortion politics is theoretical. Seeing people take action is the practice. Let’s keep that up. Slate has more.