More than 100 people from across North Texas gathered at the steps of the Tarrant County Courthouse on Saturday to demonstrate support for the constitutional right to an abortion. The local branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation organized the rally in the wake of a leaked opinion by conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito describing plans to overturn Roe v. Wade later this year.
PSL DFW member Jasmin Flores led the crowd in call and response chants like, “My body, my choice! Their body, their choice!” and “Come on, come on and join the fight! Abortion is a human right!” Between chants, Flores invited rallygoers to take the megaphone and share testimonies. Several women spoke of their personal experiences with abortion.
Texans have faced limited access to abortion since September 2021 when SB 8 took effect. The state law bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected. This usually happens at around six weeks, long before most women realize they are pregnant. Though Fort Worth clinics Planned Parenthood and Whole Woman’s Health have stayed open since the passing of the law, SB 8 has limited their ability to provide abortions.
Vanessa Castillo experienced this first-hand in February. She took the megaphone Saturday evening to share her story. The Grand Prairie resident realized she was pregnant after the cutoff, sending her scrambling to find a way to obtain an abortion.
Local clinics referred her to out-of-state facilities. Referral after referral told her they had no availability. Nationwide clinics are struggling to keep up with demand created by state restrictions. The fifth referral worked out, and Castillo arranged to go to New Mexico for her procedure. She came to the rally to share her experience and support others.
“This affects me personally, and this affects so many people I know personally,” she said.
Glynis DeMone, of Saginaw, also shared her experience. In March, unbeknownst to her, she had an ectopic pregnancy. This caused internal bleeding, and DeMone nearly died. Removing the ectopic pregnancy is technically an abortive procedure. In the future, women may not have access to that type of health care and may die along with the collection of cells that the new law may be trying to protect.
DeMone said she had always been pro-choice, but her own experience had brought a “sharpness” to her opinions.
“It’s bullshit that my abortion is somehow more acceptable than others,” she said. “No one’s body should be forced to keep someone else’s alive. … I just got to the point where I think it’s no one’s fucking business.”
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