Reporting Robbie Owens
DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Hundreds of pro-choice supporters, angered over new abortion restrictions set to become law in Texas, are expected to gather at Dallas City Hall Monday evening.
“We are offended and we are insulted by these bills and laws,” says Mia Dia, with Texas United for Change. “We will continue to come out and we will continue to organize and this is only the beginning of a greater movement.”
Dia says Texas United for Change was born of her frustration with what she calls lawmakers’ efforts to erode women’s rights. She says social media has helped galvanize the voices of those who feel the same and the rally was pulled together in a matter of days. Another grass roots group, Dallas for Reproductive Justice, is also helping to organize the local rally. Supporters say similar rallies are being staged in cities across the country.
“You do not know the circumstance or the situation that the woman is going through,” says Dia. “You do not know the situation that the family is going through, and it’s outrageous to not include an exception for rape and incest to these ridiculous, outrageous bills.”
The controversial abortion bill sailed through a second special session after being derailed by a filibuster led by Fort Worth Senator Wendy Davis during the first special session. The measure now awaiting Governor Perry’s signature will make abortion illegal after 20 weeks. Speaking about the law over the weekend, Governor Perry defended the tough new stance saying, “Most people I think in this country and in Texas certainly believe that six months is too late to be deciding whether these babies should be aborted.”
The proposed law will also impose new restrictions on abortion providers. Critics have argued that the restrictions are unnecessary and intended only to force clinics to close. Some estimates have said that only 5 of the states 42 abortion providers would currently meet the new standards.
Kelly Hart, Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, says they are still assessing the impact the law would have but are angered over what she says the hypocrisy of Republican lawmakers.
“We know that about 55 health centers that provided basic preventive health care and family planning were closed. And on top of that, now the legislature has said we’re not going to do anything to help you prevent an unintended pregnancy and we’re not going to do anything to help you if you find yourself in that difficult circumstance,” says Hart. “For all the talk about caring for women’s health and safety, the actions show exactly the opposite.”
Republican State Representative Jason Villalba strongly disagrees, saying the proposed law is not an attack on women. “I know there’s a great deal of discussion about the war on women. But, I don’t perceive this legislation as taking away the rights of women,” says Villalba. “I perceive it as granting rights to our smallest and newest Texans.”
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