‘Texans deserve Planned Parenthood’: Planned Parenthood Texas Votes holds rally to advocate for abortion pill

Ren Leija, General News Reporter

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes held a “Bans Off Our Bodies Rally” in favor of making mifepristone, commonly known as the abortion pill, accessible for Texans last Friday.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes is a policy advocacy group under the general umbrella of Planned Parenthood, according to their website.

Almost 900 protestors gathered at the Texas Capitol in opposition to U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s April 7 ruling to reverse the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone across the nation. 

Josette Ayers, board chair of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, called for Texas legislators to meet the needs of Texans and restore the healthcare safety network by dismantling systemic barriers.

“Fund birth control, well-run STI testing, vaccinations, gender-affirming hormones, HIV prevention, annual exams, screenings for breast and cervical cancer and other sexual and reproductive healthcare needs,” Ayers said during the rally. “Hands off our body, and put your hands in your pocket and find health care in Texas.”

Mifepristone can terminate a pregnancy through 10 weeks of gestation when taken alongside misoprostol, a drug that increases the efficacy of termination, according to the FDA

Multiple Texas chapters of Planned Parenthood attended the rally, including the Greater Texas, South Texas and Gulf Coast chapters, with many speakers voicing their support of the general services Planned Parenthood offers, such as Plan B distribution, STI testing and more.

Luna Cisneros, a trans woman from Brownsville, Texas, said she attended to advocate against the anti-trans bills filed by Texas politicians. 

“Our bodily autonomy is what’s under attack right now,” Cisneros said during the rally. “Reproductive rights are trans rights. Trans people of America of all genders have been fighting this battle for years. … As a proud mother from a border town, (I’m) demanding for our voices to be heard.”

Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and senior adviser to Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, also spoke at the rally. She spoke against anti-abortion extremists, calling for Texans to fight back at the numerous bans and restrictions. 

“The goal of these extremists is not a state by state solution, it is a nationwide abortion ban,” Davis said during the rally. “It is (a) personhood right to a fetus. It is the possibility of criminalizing Plan B and contraceptive care and even compromising the use of IVF.”

Government junior Emma Wake, who serves as community outreach for Students for Planned Parenthood, volunteered at the rally, sharing the same passion for access to mifepristone.

“I feel like this was another wake up call to people that the attacks aren’t over — they’re gonna continue to try and get abortions banned across the nation,” Wake said.