Protesters Attack Pro-Life Conference

Protesters stormed into the Austin Marriott South, where the Texas Right to Life’s annual Boots on the Ground Conference was being held. Texas Right to Life is non-profit advocacy and educational organization that opposes abortion, and its annual conference educates pro-life Texans and college students about various aspects of the pro-life movement such as abortion, medical ethics, and how to build a diverse pro-life community..

Texas Right to Life held its Boots on the Ground Conference on the same weekend as the Rally for Life at the State Capitol. This year marked the 49th anniversary of the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. The conference hosted numerous speakers who spoke about topics including abortion, human trafficing, and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Attendees were there to get trained in the Pro-Life movement and energized for the rally, but they would find that those on the other side of the abortion have been energized as well. 

Protestors entered the hotel lobby just before noon, shouting, “Working women, give them hell; it is right to rebel. We will defend abortion rights; working women, rise and fight!”

The dozen protesters carried a sign reading: “Working women lead the fight; safe abortions are our right!”

One woman lit a smoke bomb and threw it down the hallway towards the rooms holding the conference. Outside, a portion of hotel property was vandalized by the protesters as well. Luckily no one was injured on either side. Austin Police Department responded quickly to the protest, but there were no additional problems after the attack on Saturday, and no arrests have been made yet. 

This is not the first protest at a Texas Right to Life event. In 2017, communist protesters attempted to disrupt a Texas Right to Life event, but they did not physically attack attendees like they did on this occasion. 

The attack happened as thousands of Texans were marching in support of life at the State Capitol and in celebration of the victory that the Texas Heartbeat Act has been for the pro-life cause. Texas Right to Life spearheaded the effort to pass the Texas Heartbeat Act. 

The Texas Heartbeat Act has angered many abortion advocates. It bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected in the unborn child and thus prevents many abortions in Texas from legally occurring. Since it came into effect on Sept. 1, despite numerous failed attempts to have it struck down or enjoined, the Texas Heartbeat Act has saved an estimated 10,000-13,000 lives, according to Texas Right to Life. Already states like Alabama, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio are working to replicate the Texas Heartbeat Act. 

Footage taken by Texas Right to Life and used in this article with the organization’s permission.

Thousands Attend Texas Rally for Life in Austin

On Saturday, Jan. 26, an estimated number of 10,000-15,000 pro-lifers from all over Texas marched to the Texas State Capitol to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision— a decision that made abortion legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

The Host Committee consisted of pro-life organizations from across the state, including A Woman’s Haven, the Agape Pregnancy Resource Center, the Annunciation Maternity Home from Georgetown, TX and Students for Life of America.

Parents, children, young adults and older people alike marched from 14th St. and San Jacinto to the south steps of the Capitol where Bishop Patrick Zurek of the Catholic Diocese of Amarillo started the Austin Rally for Life off with a prayer. There, speakers like Executive Director of the Texas Alliance for Life Dr. Joe Pojman, a representative from the office of Congressman Chip Roy, actress Robia Scott and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush addressed the crowds.

Commissioner Bush is the oldest child of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, nephew to the 43rd President George W. Bush and grandson to the 41st President George H.W. Bush.

“I am outraged about what happened in New York,” Bush said. “I am outraged that these officials celebrated and passed a legislation that would legalize partial-birth abortion. In this state, we know that every life matters… Since Roe v. Wade, 60 million lives have been taken by abortion, and that number continues to grow. Ladies and gentlemen, this must end… We must work every day to change these laws until every child is safe. This is the culture of life that Pope John Paul II fought for. It is the culture of life that we must always fight for every day and in every way. Ladies and gentleman, I am proud to stand side by side with you in this fight.”

Many college students also attended the rally, taking time away from their schoolwork to stand up for what they thought was right.

“The reason I’m here at the pro-life rally is because we know that abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women,” John Kutac, a student at the Texas A&M University, said. “It does hurt them and as pro-lifers, we know that women are strong enough to take on unplanned pregnancies and that they just need that support.”

Another student, Mariana Mason from A&M and Holland, Texas commented, “I’m here with the pro-life movement because life is valuable no matter size, level of development, environment or dependency. It’s all worth saving.”

Trinity University’s Tigers for Life was also in attendance, making it the second pro-life march the club has attended this month.

Tigers for Life at the Texas Rally for Life; photo courtesy of Maddie D’iorio.

Inaugural Alamo March for Life Draws Crowd

Trinity students participate in the Alamo March for Life. Image courtesy Tigers for Life.

On Sunday, Jan. 20, a few days before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the San Antonio Family Association (SAFA) hosted the 43rd San Antonio Rally for Life and the first Alamo March for Life at Alamo Plaza to protest Roe and the abortion industry. The march began at Alamo Plaza, progressed to Travis Park, and finished at the Plaza. First Lady of Texas Cecilia Abbott was the keynote speaker, joined by State Senator Peter Flores (R-San Antonio) and Nathan McDaniel, representing Congressman Chip Roy (R-CD21). Fr. Will Combs of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church led the opening prayer.

In the past, SAFA has attempted to get permits from the city of San Antonio to host the event at  Alamo Plaza but has been unsuccessful. In his remarks at the rally, Patrick Von Dohlen, president of SAFA, attributed their success this year to the legal assistance of a SAFA supporter who is an attorney. Last year, the rally took place in a grassy area off of San Pedro Avenue near Park North Drive due to scheduling conflicts with the event’s original location, San Antonio Milam Park. The march and rally drew a crowd of a few hundred.

Image courtesy Tigers for Life.

In their remarks, Flores and McDaniel emphasized their offices’ commitment to the pro-life movement. Both Flores and Roy are currently in the beginning of their first term in office. Flores was elected in a special runoff election last year on September 18 after a first place finish in the first election on July 31. Flores is the first Republican to represent Senate District 19 since the end of Reconstruction. During his time at the podium, he focused on how his Catholic faith influences his pro-life convictions.

Sen. Flores speaks to rally attendees. Image courtesy Tigers for Life.

Abbott also spoke about how her faith shaped her views on abortion, relating how her favorite place to play growing up was her family’s parish Church. She talked about how her and Governor Greg Abbott’s experience adopting their daughter Audrey solidified their belief that a woman’s decision to place her child for adoption is a brave and selfless choice.

First Lady Cecilia Abbott shares her family’s adoption story. Image courtesy Tigers for Life. 

The event was co-sponsored by several organizations, including Shavano Family Practice, Allied Women’s Center, A Woman’s Haven, LifeChoices Medical Clinic, Abortion Hurts, God Heals, and the Justice Foundation.

Roe v. Wade, Media Bias and the March for Life

In 1970, Norma L. McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade, a Dallas district attorney, claiming that a law criminalizing most abortions violated her constitutional rights. Wade then appealed to the Supreme Court, and on Jan. 22, 1972, the Court ruled that Roe’s rights were violated under the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments, arguing that the “zone of privacy” was “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

This was over 45 years ago. Back then, abortion in almost all cases was illegal and seen as immoral, and Roe v. Wade dismissed many of the legal restrictions surrounding it. The Supreme Court’s decision was highly controversial when released and still remains one of the most highly debated Court decisions today.

Ever since then, pro-lifers have been marching every year to the capitol to protest this decision around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In fact, just last weekend 100,000 to 300,000 attended the March for Life in DC—and received astonishingly little news coverage.

The news should be an unbiased, accurate reporting of noteworthy events and information for the public. Sadly, in recent years it has not been so, enough for me to agree with our president that the media produces more “fake news” than it should.

The 2019 Women’s March in DC received roughly 15 times more news coverage than the March for Life on broadcast television, according to the Media Research Center, yet barely 10,000 attended it. Some networks such as ABC, CBS and NBC went so far as to completely ignore the March for Life in their morning shows. Moreover, in the few instances the media did report on the March for Life, many reported it to be just a few thousand “anti-abortion protestors” who attended, framing most of the attendees as Catholic high schoolers who were only there as an excuse to get out of class.

The media has painted the pro-life movement as full of religious bigots when it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

This year, the theme for the March for Life was “Unique from Day One: Pro-Life is Pro-Science.” Both young and old alike marched with the understanding that from the moment of conception (day one) the life of a new, individual human organism begins, with its own set of human DNA different from its parents. To say that this is not a human life is to reject basic biology. By about week four of its development, the heart begins to beat. By week seven, one could already ask a doctor the sex of the baby. All of this happens in just the first trimester of the pregnancy, the baby not even a “fetus” yet— just an embryo.

The pro-life movement is not just a protest against Roe v. Wade. If you go to one of the marches, you will see many who advocate for pregnancy resources, especially for women who have little to no money. One popular pregnancy resource is the Women’s Haven, which offers initial pregnancy services like testing and education on abortion and fetal development; infant supplies like maternity and baby clothing; community referrals for GED and higher learning, sonograms, prenatal care, housing and childcare; and counseling for young women, new mothers and fathers, all for free.

Roe v. Wade claimed that women’s constitutional rights included the right to have an abortion—such a decisive ruling that ignores ethics and biology.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The order of these is not coincidental. To be able to have the pursuit of happiness, we must have liberty, and to have liberty we must have life. To say that a woman’s “choice” or liberty to choose supersedes her child’s right to life is not only unconstitutional but also immoral.