Reproductive rights, gun control, other issues: What are gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott’s and Beto O’Rourke’s stances?

Sasha Haynes, News Reporter

Republican incumbent governor Greg Abbott and former Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke will face off in the gubernatorial election Nov. 8. 

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade creating uncertainty over reproductive rights, the ongoing debate over gun control and public safety after the Uvlade shooting and other polarizing issues affecting Texas, many candidates say the November election could mark a major turning point in Texas politics. Early voting runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 4. Here is what Abbott and O’Rourke think about the current major political issues. 


Reproductive Rights

On his campaign website, O’Rourke states, “​​All Texans deserve the freedom to make their own decisions about their own body, their own health care, and their own future.” 

Abbott has taken a stance against abortion with his campaign website stating, “Since Greg Abbott took office as Governor, we have made great strides to protect life, but we must also do more to protect our vulnerable unborn children.” Abbott signed into law a near-total abortion ban that took affect Aug. 25, making performing an abortion a felony with few exceptions to save the life of a pregnant person. 

If elected, O’Rourke pledges to repeal Texas’ abortion ban and strengthen reproductive rights in the state. 


Gun Control 

Uvalde’s Robb Elementary school shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers in May reignited calls for stricter gun control in Texas. 

After a 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, O’Rourke’s hometown, the gubernatorial candidate traveled home during his campaign trail for U.S. president to call for stricter gun laws. At the time O’Rourke called for mandatory buybacks of AK-47s and AR-15 rifles. On his campaign website, O’Rourke said he wants to close the private sale background check loophole, work on a red-flag law system, pass safe storage and child access prevention laws and create stronger domestic violence reporting laws. 

Abbott’s campaign website said he “will continue to fight any federal government overreach that aims to disrupt the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Texans.” Abbott also passed House Bill 1927, which means Texans over the age of 21 no longer need a license to carry handguns if state and federal laws allow them to.


LGBTQ+ Rights

Abbott’s campaign website does not explicitly make any mention of approving or disapproving of  LGBTQ+ rights, however he directed the Department of Family and Protective Services in February to investigate parents who give their children gender-affirming care with Attorney General Ken Paxton citing the care in question as child abuse.

O’Rourke’s campaign website pledges to pass a “comprehensive nondiscrimination law” to protect the rights of all LGBTQ+ Texans while asserting that they are welcome in the state. 

“Texas is big enough for all of us — no matter who we are or who we love,” O’Rourke said. 



On the Office of the Texas Governor website, Abbott stated plans to launch “Operation Lone Star,” which he said will use tactical intervention to stop cartels and human trafficking at the border along with providing a “record $1 billion to border security.” Abbott also recently signed into law a bill that prohibits sanctuary cities, or municipalities that do not enforce immigration laws. 

Beto’s website said Texas needs bipartisan legislation in order to better secure the borders, criticizing Abbott’s deployment of Texas National Guard resources to secure the border. 

O’Rourke immigration policy emphasizes the need for more accessible paths to safely and lawfully crossing the border while emphasizing the importance of doing so legally. His website calls for updated technology such as “sensors, surveillance towers and drones” to assist law enforcement. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee said this would create additional processing capacity for asylum eligibility, background checks and the ability to increase safety at the border. O’Rourke also wishes to create a new guest worker program to fill jobs in Texan industries and improve the family unification system for easier immigration to the U.S.