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San Antonians Rally Against New 6-Week Abortion Ban

Jiawen Chen
Texas Public Radio
People chant at a abortion rights rally in San Antonio on Sept. 1, 2021.

About 30 people attended a San Antonio abortion rights rally on Wednesday, organized by Planned Parenthood South Texas, The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equality and other advocates.

"2021 has been the most hostile legislative year for reproductive rights and health since Roe (v. Wade) was decided nearly 50 years ago," said a statement promoting the event.

The new law went into effect Wednesday and prevents people from seeking or providing abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy — making it the most restrictive abortion law in the country. An emergency request to block the law sent by providers and advocates was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The law, Senate Bill 8, was championed by anti-abortion Republicans and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

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Planned Parenthood South Texas halted all abortions because of the possibility of civil suit action. One Planned Parenthood volunteer at the San Antonio rally said PP is the only place that can provide safety guides and tests at little to no cost.

"This ban is hurting so many women. And I think that is very important as a college student that I see so many of my peers trying to get these procedures done, but they can't because of the oppressive government that is in place right now," said Ximena Guajardo.

Jiawen Chen
Texas Public Radio
Advocates for abortion rights hold a banner at a rally in San Pedro Springs Part.

Some advocates at the rally like Vanessa Canauhtli said they feel confident the law will not survive a legal challenge.

"First of all, it's plain straight up unconstitutional to ban abortion. Roe v. Wade is not just a court ruling — Roe v. Wade establishes that a person has a constitutional right to an abortion. And the second part of it, which is particularly egregious and damaging, is the $10,000 lawsuit clause of it that is egregiously unconstitutional, that a person can sue someone who hasn't even done anything to them," Canauhtli said.

Canauhtli supports the choice even though they cannot get pregnant.

"I firmly believe that when people are denied the choice and the right to have the sovereignty over their own bodies, to have an abortion, that's disastrous not only for that person who can get pregnant, but for that child.," they said.

Bri Kirkham contributed to this story.

Jia Chen is a freelance journalist and photographer for Texas Public Radio. She began with TPR working as the Bexar County selected Summer Arts Intern in 2021. Her coverage includes arts & culture, technology, politics, and more. She holds a BA in Communication from University of Texas at San Antonio and has lived in San Antonio for over 20 years.