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Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke holds 'rally for reproductive freedom' in Austin

O’Rourke joined abortion rights organizations at the event on Sunday evening.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Sunday evening, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke hosted “a rally for reproductive freedom” alongside abortion rights organizations.

Hundreds of abortion rights supporters showed up and heard from Planned Parenthood and Democrats running for office, including Democratic candidate for Texas Attorney General Rochelle Garza and Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Mike Collier.

O'Rourke and other abortion rights supporters gathered at the Pan American Neighborhood Park.

O'Rourke was the last person to speak at the event and he painted a picture of the changes Texans could expect to see in the state if he and other Democrats are elected in November. He encouraged everyone at the rally to show up at the polls and to sign up to canvas to encourage others to vote.

"We know that legal abortion is coming to an end, at least temporarily, in the state of Texas. We also know that we have these four months left to us as a state, and I just want to be really clear not as Democrats, not as Republicans, not as independents, but as Texans who care for and want to do right by and for one another," O'Rourke said.

At the rally, O'Rourke made a pledge that if he is elected, he'll make sure women have the freedom to make their own decisions about their bodies, health care and future.

"Let's not kid ourselves that winning political power in November is the end of the fight. It really is just another step in what will be a very long journey if we look at it from the other side's perspective. They've been working 49 years for this day. We're going to have to work very hard for a very long time," O'Rourke said.  

Sunday’s rally comes after abortion rights supporters took to the streets of Austin on Friday and Saturday in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"This decision allows Gov. Greg Abbott’s extreme trigger law that bans abortion at any point without exception for rape or incest to quickly take effect in Texas," O'Rourke said in a press release. "O'Rourke has pledged to be a governor who ensures that women have the freedom to make their own decisions about their own body, health care and future."

On Saturday, abortion rights opponents also held a rally in Austin. That rally, organized by Texas Right to Life, was to celebrate the Supreme Court decision.

Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon tweeted Friday morning that the police department wants "to encourage those who agree or disagree with the Supreme Court's decision to express themselves but do so peacefully."

"Those who wish to express their views about this decision are encouraged to do so peacefully; violence and/or property damage will not be tolerated," Chacon said. "Those who commit illegal acts while protesting take away from the message that peaceful groups intend to communicate."

While abortion rights supporters are upset with the high court's ruling, abortion rights opponents see it as a victory. A number of Texas politicians, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have also praised the justices for their decision.

"The U.S. Supreme Court correctly overturned Roe v. Wade and reinstated the right of states to protect innocent, unborn children," Abbott said in part. "Texas is a pro-life state, and we have taken significant action to protect the sanctity of life."


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