May 04, 2022

Protesters Rally in Austin Against U.S. Supreme Court Threat to Roe v. Wade

Reporting Texas

Protesters march from the Texas Capitol to the United States Federal Courthouse in Austin to protest the potential rollback of abortion rights. Zacharia E. Washington/Reporting Texas

On a parching Tuesday evening, several hundred protesters marched from the Texas Capitol to the federal courthouse in Austin to protest a leaked U.S. Supreme draft opinion that suggests the court is at the precipice of rolling back longstanding abortion rights.

The protest was one of dozens around the state and country against the draft opinion, published by Politico Monday, in which Justice Samuel Alito writes, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” referring to the 1973 case that overturned a Texas ban on abortion and established a federal constitutional right to abortion.

In Austin, protesters held signs that read “regulate weapons, not women,” and “against abortion, have a vasectomy,” as the crowd chanted, “We said pro-choice.”  

Austin resident Cecilia Bilbe, 17, vehemently disagreed with Alito’s position.

“All of his comments were really painful,” Bilbe said. 

Protest co-organizer Shannon Morris had an abortion 20 years ago, she told Reporting Texas. 

“I’m a first-generation college student. I don’t think I would’ve completed college,” she said. “My life would’ve looked completely different, so I’m thankful everyday that I had an abortion.” 

Victoria Mycue, an organizer for the group Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights Austin chapter, started crying when she first read about the draft court opinion, she said.

“It was finally starting to set in that Roe v. Wade was going to be overturned if we did nothing,” Mycue said. 

“There are people who have told me their stories about getting illegal abortions that have not only been psychologically traumatic, but have also been physically traumatic,” Mycue said. “This is what happens when the right to abortion is not legally secured, people suffer.” 

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it would be left up to the individual states to decide the legality of abortion. If the law is overturned, 22 states, including Texas and its neighbors Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma, are likely to ban abortion.

The court isn’t expected to officially release its ruling in the case until late June or early July. 

In Texas in 2021, Senate Bill 8 banned access to abortion care in the state for anyone past six weeks of pregnancy.

After the passing of SB 8,  some women in Texas started going to neighboring states to seek abortion care. The Supreme Court’s ruling would make it even more difficult for women in Texas to receive abortion care. 

Protester Sloan Hill, 19, said she and other Texans will continue to fight for abortion access no matter what happens.

“I’m just going to continue to come out to protest and spread the word,” Hill said. “That’s the only way we’re going to get our voices heard.”