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Thousands join pro-choice march in downtown Houston

Houston Women March On confirmed Top Chef stars Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons are there as well.

HOUSTON — Chants could be heard throughout downtown Houston as hundreds of pro-choice marchers took to the streets Saturday morning to protest the new Texas abortion law.

The march, which started early Saturday morning at Discovery Green, ended at Houston City Hall.

Houston Women March On, which organized the event, confirmed Top Chef stars Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons are there as well.

Voter stations to encourage registration will also be there.

"It takes courage and effort after what we've all been through to keep coming out keep showing up for each other," Lakshmi addressed marchers outside city hall.  

"In spite of everything your government has thrown at you these past few months, you're still here. And you're fighting for the most vulnerable people in your communities with everything you've got."

There are similar marches planned across the country today.

RELATED: What does the new Texas abortion law do?

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The Texas Heartbeat Act has caught the eye of critics around the country. It bans abortions in Texas after six weeks of pregnancy or when a heartbeat can be detected.

What’s different about this abortion law compared to others Texas lawmakers passed or tried to pass before is that the state will not enforce it.  

Instead, private citizens can sue anyone who performs an abortion or anyone who helps someone get an abortion. In their lawsuit, the private citizens can be awarded injunctive relief to prevent the defendant from breaking the law again and statutory damages of no less than $10,000 payout for each abortion connected to the defendant, as well as costs and attorney’s fees.

Pro-choice activists believe the law ignores constitutional rights and will force women to seek out unsafe alternatives for getting an abortion. Meanwhile, pro-life advocates say the law protects women and unborn children while highlighting the dangers of abortion.  

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