UT students protest anti-abortion bill at Texas capitol

Kaushiki Roy, News Reporter

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as part of the September 8 flipbook.

CW: abortion, sexual violence

Over 150 UT students marched from the University of Texas Tower to the Texas Capitol Tuesday to protest a bill banning abortion six weeks after conception that went into effect Aug. 31.

The three and a half hour protest began at 4 p.m. in front of the Tower, where students gathered to march down to the capitol.The anti-abortion legislation will apply to pregnancies caused by rape or incest and will grant power to anyone to sue an abortion provider, for up to $10,000. The U.S. Supreme Court did not block the bill Thursday night, setting a precedent for other states to enact similar measures.

At the capitol, members of the group shared their feelings on the legislation.

“It’s a really big example of how the government likes to have double standards and what matters most is by controlling people,” biology freshman Maria Noonan said. “I lived in Austin, so I’ve always seen and gone to protests, but this just felt like an utter slap in the face.”

Throughout the protest, organizers and attendees registered people to vote so they could get the legislation repealed.

“I kept asking around if there were other protests happening later but couldn’t find any,” protest organizer Madison Fail said. “So I just thought ‘Why not keep the momentum,’ because visibility and persistence are both very important in getting this legislation repealed.”

Maya Mackey, another protest organizer and a Plan II and government freshman, said the protestors took a moment of silence for everyone who will suffer from unsafe abortions as a result of the bill.

“It’s people that think that they can control women’s bodies, and that’s just not acceptable,” Mackey said.

Laila Aziz, a junior math major, said she attended the protest to protect her rights as a woman and speak out against the unconstitutional ruling.

“This bill is incredibly unconstitutional when you consider Roe v. Wade, (which) this completely goes against,” Aziz said. “It’s even worse for the children who will be born into unstable families because their moms could not get abortions.”

Aziz said she is proud of the number of students who protested and plans to attend future protests of the bill. Another protest will happen on Friday from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. directly at the Texas Capitol. The protest will be a sit-in, and although it will not be organized by UT students, attendance is open to all, political science and government freshman Fail said.

“As UT students we can advocate and even if we’re not in political power we can still make a difference,” Aziz said.