Comal Women Support Abortion Rights at Tuesday Rally Protesting End of Roe v. Wade


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Images by staff photographer Bently Paiz

Around 60 area residents showed up at New Braunfels Main Plaza today to protest breaking news that the U.S. Supreme Court plans to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion in 1973.

The abortion-rights protest came a day after the online news site Politico published a leaked, 98-page draft ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization arguing that states, not the federal government, have the right to regulate abortion.

The majority of the gray-haired demonstrators waving signs at the cars and trucks swirling around the pavilion between 5 and 6. p.m. said they fought for abortion rights in the 1960s and 70s and couldn’t believe they’re back at it 50 years later.

Many who lived through the days of illegal abortion and limited contraceptive options said they were marching again out of concern for their daughters and granddaughters.

One of the protestors, Anngail Smith, said she’s even hearing from Catholic friends in their 70s and 80s who also are afraid of what might happen to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“We’re seeing this as the first of many blocks that may fall,” Smith said.

With tears in her eyes, 72-year-old Shirley Fraser with Democratic Women of Comal County said until yesterday she didn’t believe “it would ever really come to this, that Roe v. Wade would be overturned.

“Women will die and children will be born that we cannot care for,” she said.

In 1973, Fraser said a surprise pregnancy left her a single mom with few options. Contraception was unavailable to girls and women under the age of 21. She worries that could happen again.

Thirteen-year-old Marli Roberts, an Oak Run Middle School student, said she was protesting for the right to control her own body.

“I don’t want politics to control my body,” she said. ” I want to control myself.”

The Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham of Faith Church United Church of Christ in New Braunfels said the abortion issue is hard and difficult for people of faith.

“And yet the gist of it is health care is a universal human right,” she said, standing with protesters. “The better ways to reduce the need for abortion are access to contraception, comprehensive sex education, maternity leave and education in general.”

She worries that restricting reproductive rights will disproportionately target the poor, who don’t have access to medical care, as well as women of color.

“As a minister of faith it is my responsibility to stand for justice and safety for everyone,” she said.

Drivers passing by seemed generally supportive of the abortion-rights protest, honking repeatedly and circling the pavilion area several times to give the group of mostly women a big thumbs up.

However, a man driving a big pickup truck flying a ‘Blue Lives Matter’ flag didn’t agree with their message.

He roared his engine loudly and blared his horn as he drove by.

One of the protestors waved her sign in return.

It read: “Vasectomies prevent abortion.”

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