Thousands mobilize into downtown Dallas in protest of recent Texas abortion legislation

Jalyn Smoot
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Thousands of people gathered in downtown Dallas on Saturday to advocate for reproductive rights and to make a stand against new Texas legislation that strongly opposes and restricts abortion.

The massive protest was orchestrated to align with the National Women's March in Washington D.C, where the zero-tolerance abortion policies were a heavy focal point of discussion.

The D.C protest drew a crowd of roughly 5,000 people and the city was joined by Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Dallas- each of which held pro-reproductive rights demonstrations today.

The anti-abortion Texas legislation, known as SB 8, has been under heavy scrutiny since its inception.

Critics of the bill believe that the legislation overextends lawful authority over women and fear that if upheld, could set a dangerous precedent for the rest of the country.

They aren't the only ones that disapprove of the legislation either. Recently, the SB 8 bill drew flak from the Department of Justice.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys argued Friday that Texas’ near-total ban on abortion is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit filed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in September argues that Senate Bill 8, which outlaws abortion after a “fetal heartbeat” is detectable, violates Supreme Court precedent that allows abortion-rights across the country.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman of the Western District of Texas is expected to issue a ruling soon following a hearing on the Justice Department’s request for an injunction to temporarily halt the state’s new abortion law.

In the meantime, the thousands that gathered in downtown Dallas, as well as the countless others that stood in solidarity with reproductive rights across the country, hope to make Pitman's decision a bit easier to make.

Many abortion rights groups expect that Pitman the first openly gay judge in the three states represented by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will rule in favor of the Justice Department.

Like with all cases, though, Pitman will weigh both sides carefully before making a final decision. A ruling that will likely become a landmark decision no matter which side he ultimately chooses.

If Pitman grants an injunction, his decision is expected to be appealed to the 5th Circuit, which is widely known as one of the most conservative appeals courts in the country.

That court ceased proceedings in a case filed by abortion providers in July that aimed to block the abortion restrictions before they became law. Further complicating matters, despite a request for the Supreme Court to expedite the hearings, arguments aren’t likely to be heard in that case before December.

While the focus lately has been on Texas' recent abortion ban, Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood, reminded those who are advocating for reproductive rights to see the big picture and to realize this is an issue that far exceeds Texas.

"Abortion is health care, basic health care, essential health care, health care that cannot wait," said Johnson at one of the rallies planned in unison with the Dallas protest.

"This year alone we have seen nearly 600 restrictions in 47 states," she said. "So no matter where you live, no matter where you are, this fight is at your doorstep."

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Dallas-based reporter with a focus on business, major events, politics, music, and sports

Dallas, TX

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