Anniversary elicits dueling rallies

Diana Silva (bottom right) attended the pro-choice rally commemorating the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision at Texas on Jan. 22. "Sex ed should be provided for everyone," Silva said. "It's not just about posting on Facebook or social media, it's about doing something about it." Photo by Ashley Chamberlain.

Diana Silva (bottom right) attended the pro-choice rally commemorating the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision at Texas on Jan. 22. “Sex ed should be provided for everyone,” Silva said. “It’s not just about posting on Facebook or social media, it’s about doing something about it.” Photo by Ashley Chamberlain.

Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling brings pro-choice, pro-life supporters to capitol steps

A reconciliation bill that would de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business was passed by the House of Representatives on Jan. 6. The vote came after hearings where the House considered allegations that Planned Parenthood might have violated federal laws by selling body parts of aborted babies. According to lifenews.com, the House voted 240-181 with a Republican vote of 239-3 for the bill and a Democratic vote of 178-1 against it. This is the first bill ever to reach the president’s desk that would defund Planned Parenthood.

President Barack Obama vetoed the reconciliation bill to defund Planned Parenthood, saying he believes the bill will reverse all the hard work and improvements involved in health care in America. Congress can override the president’s veto by passing the act by a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.

Before the widely celebrated Roe v. Wade court decision, abortion was a crime.  The Supreme Court came to the conclusion that a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy deserved constitutional protection.

Pro-choice advocates consider Planned Parenthood to be America’s most reliable reproductive health provider. The organization provides reproductive health care and sex ed

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Pro-life supporters rally in downtown Austin in support of the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Photo by Charlie Holden.

ucation to all women and men, especially young adults. The sex education they provide is intended to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, to teach about the contraceptive options available, and to promote overall good health. At a Texas rally to support pro-choice and celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22 supporters gathered to advocate for Planned Parenthood.

“The Planned Parenthood is a really valuable, institution that a lot of people need for a lot of reasons I’m pro choice, but abortion isn’t the only thing they do. What they do is essential for many people’s lives,” said a local Austin man who attended the rally but did not give his name.

He added that Planned Parenthood works to provide valuable programs and education everyone can benefit from, and fight for comprehensive sex education in schools. The man also praised the organization for fighting for the constitution’s protections established in the landmark court decision.

“Well I’m gay, I’m a gay activist, and that means that I can tell the government mind your own business,” male activist said. “I’ll do what I want to with my own body, and that’s exactly what women are faced with”.

The next day at a Texas rally for pro-life on Jan. 23 pro-life advocates argued against a woman’s right to an abortion.

“All people

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Pro-choice rally gathers in front of Austin courthouse on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Photo by Charlie Holden.

should be allowed to be born once they’ve been conceived because I believe life starts at conception, and that it’s murder said Janet Krueger, who attended the rally. I don’t understand why our United States has allowed that to even get started, and here it’s been 43 years and it’s still here.”

Pro-life advocates believe the decision of abortion should be overturned, and while they don’t support Planned Parenthood’s version of sex education, they do believe that preventative education is essential because the costs of abortion are high and not always immediate.

“You can get more educated about protecting yourself from actually getting pregnant before the problem, the issue, is there,” rally attendant Elaine Houle said. “It does hurt you, I feel like it just hurts you and the baby once the abortion has begun because you’ll never know the emotional damage until later on, and that’s why people should be more precautious and careful about having sex”.

As for the court decision that prompted both rallies, one side might be very happy after the Supreme Court weighs in on the Texas House Bill 2. The House Bill 2 is the four-part state law that restricts abortion access. Passed during the 2013 legislative session, the law placed great restrictions on physicians performing abortions and this led to the downfall of half of the state’s abortion clinics. The law’s provisions have made it harder for poorer women to afford or even quality for an abortion. The U.S Supreme Court will now consider if HB-2 is constitutional. According to the Chronicle this case is expected to be the most pivotal abortion rights case since 1992, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt and could very well set the course for reproductive health laws across the country for decades to come.

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