North Texas cities joined other cities across the country on Saturday in rallying in support of abortion rights.
Several hundred people gathered outside Dallas City Hall on Saturday as part of the coordinated “Bans Off Our Bodies” effort, organized by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Women’s March and other groups. Dr. Joseph Valenti, a Denton-based gynecologist, said several patients were concerned about the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting a possible overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“My patients come to me saying, ‘what if…? What if my baby has a fatal abnormality? Will I have to have a baby who won’t live outside the womb? Am I going to have to run the risk of pregnancy? said Dr. Valenti. “It’s something we never thought, as doctors, would happen. Where we would be forced to try to do something to care for our patients that someone made illegal.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Fort Worth, Frisco and Rockwall were among other North Texas cities with rallies scheduled for Saturday.
Michelle Anderson addressed the crowd in Dallas on Saturday on behalf of the Afiya Center (TAC). TAC’s website describes the center as a reproductive justice organization created in response to “growing disparities between the incidences of HIV around the world and the extraordinary prevalence of HIV among black women and girls in Texas.” Anderson said she fears that eliminating access to abortion will mean creating generational poverty.
“It will create economic oppression because if we are made to have children, especially our young girls who may not even have access to employment and we assume that they are able to take care of their children, the burden then falls on the family,” Anderson said.
This week, the Democratic Women’s Health Protection Act bill stalled as expected after failing to meet the US Senate’s 60-vote threshold. The bill was intended to protect abortion rights nationwide and would have replaced state laws like Texas’ six-week abortion ban.
All Democrats voted for the legislation except Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and all Republicans opposed the bill, which failed 49-51.
Kimberlyn Schwartz of Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest and oldest pro-life organization, said the past two weeks have been filled with “ups and downs” for the pro-life movement.
“At bottom, the abortion battle is a spiritual battle. So we see a lot of attacks on pregnancy centers, on churches in our communities, and how heartbreaking it is. How it takes a toll,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz noted that she more thinks it’s “an encouraging time” for the pro-life movement and that more conversations are needed between those who are pro-life and those who are pro-choice.
“In general, people arrive at their posts out of a spirit of goodwill. It’s just a difference in weight what are the competing interests of the common good? ” she says. “We also share a common interest. We also care about the mother’s life, health and well-being. That’s why we’ve done a lot as a pro-life movement to serve women who are in unexpected pregnancies.
The leaked draft notice stems from the ongoing case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization challenging Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. Legal experts expect a decision to be issued in June or July.