AUSTIN, Texas — Thousands of Texans gathered at the State Capitol for a march in support of abortion rights on Saturday.
The aim of the Austin Women’s March was “to demand an end to the dangerous, escalating attacks on reproductive rights and freedoms in this country,” according to a press release. It began at 9 a.m. and ended early afternoon.
"We should be able to make decisions about our bodies without government or interference with laws," said protester Nora Druepple.
Multiple local leaders, including Travis County Judge Andy Brown, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas 35) and Texas State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, took to the stage on Saturday encouraging those at the march to head to the polls in the next election.
Some activists admitted to aiding women seeking an abortion after the law was put in place.
"I did that before Sept. 1. I've done it after Sept. 1 and I fully intend to keep doing it," said Lawyer Elizabeth Myers. "Because when someone asks me for help, I'm going to help."
Councilmember Paige Ellis, along with multiple other councilmembers, spoke in support of the cause on Saturday. They said their support for abortion rights was why they passed a resolution this week, allowing the City of Austin to support legal efforts to block the Texas abortion law.
Event emcee Jehmu Greene, shared, “For too long we have battled for this fundamental right to control our bodies and our lives. I’m proud to stand with my fellow Texans as we reaffirm our commitment to protecting women’s rights. This includes doing everything we can do from now to November to ensure we have defenders of our liberties in office.”
The event's press release said abortion justice is “front and center” in Texas because of the state’s new abortion law.
The law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Usually, this is around six weeks into a pregnancy before many women know they’re even pregnant. It's the most restrictive ban on abortions in the U.S.
While thousands were there fighting for women's rights, a small group of people came to counter-protest the rally.
"We care about both women and children and both lives to be protected here," said counter-protester Cassie Guardiola. "And the Heartbeat Bill does do that."
Multiple students from Dripping Springs High School spoke at the rally and urged people to vote on behalf of kids and teens not old enough to vote yet.
More than 600 different marches were set to take place across the U.S. on Saturday. The national event is centered around the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear on Dec. 1. The case stems from a Mississippi law that bans abortion for those pregnant 15 weeks or longer.
The U.S. Supreme Court begins its new term on Monday, Oct. 4.
The Women’s March asked all attendees to wear a mask and physically distance during the event. Attendees could RSVP to the march online.
PHOTOS: Women's March for abortion rights at Texas State Capitol
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