A group of more than 700 pro-choice Texans descended on the state capitol in Austin Thursday to protest House Bill 60, the draconian new anti-abortion measure that would criminalize all abortions after 20 weeks, shutter all but five clinics in the state that provide abortions and ultimately make safe, legal abortions all but impossible to obtain.
The RH Reality Check blog reported from the capitol Thursday night and Friday morning as protesters and activists stormed the legislative session and demanded to be heard in what the article called a "people's filibuster."
"It’s getting close to 2:00 a.m. in Austin, Texas, and I’m sitting in a room with close to a hundred citizens who have been shut out of testifying against an omnibus abortion bill," wrote Austin writer Andrea Grimes. The protesters arrived early Thursday to testify to the legislature during the public comment session for HB 60.
As the night wore on, state Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) complained that the protesters' testimony was getting "repetitive" and moved to end public testimony. As one woman was taken away by Texas State Troopers from the podium, the crowd reportedly began to chant, "Let her speak! Let her speak!"
Finally Cook relented and gave the protesters half an hour more to testify.
“Our words are not repetitive,” testified protester Lesli Simms. “Our government’s attacks on our choice, on our bodies, is repetitive.”
"There are hundreds of people still waiting to have their voices heard," wrote Grimes. "But it may be their silence, engineered and ensured by Rep. Cook and right-wing lawmakers, that will speak loudest of all."
[image of protesters at state capitol in Austin, TX via Flickr Creative Commons]