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Why, Against Long Odds, Pro-Choice Protesters Continue To Fight In Texas

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"Why, Against Long Odds, Pro-Choice Protesters Continue To Fight In Texas"

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A sign in the crowd at the pro-choice rally

AUSTIN, Texas — With the entire month of July available for Texas Republicans to pass the stringent new abortion restrictions that Democrats successfully blocked last month, most analysts assume passage is a foregone conclusion.

“With 30 days and the majority of state lawmakers on their side, Republicans are almost assured success this time around,” writes Becca Aaronson in the Texas Tribune about legislation that would criminalize abortion after 20 weeks and force most of the state’s abortion clinics to shut down.

And yet, despite the odds stacked against them, more than 5,000 Texans took time off on midday Monday to come down to the State Capitol and protest as the legislature opened its second special legislative session.

ThinkProgress spoke with many of the individuals who showed up at the rally to ask what’s motivating them to keep protesting, even if their chances of stopping Republican lawmakers from passing new abortion restrictions are slim. Some held out hope to defeat the legislation, others took a long-term approach, and still others said it was important to set an example for the next generation.

Here’s what they told us, in their own words:

SUSIE MILAM: “I don’t see any reason to assume the bill will definitely pass. I think the gathering here today shows there’s a lot of disfavor with this bill. I think the legislators might just get a message that this is not what the people of Texas want. I’m sick and tired of people acting like if you just make abortion illegal again, there won’t be any. There certainly were plenty of abortions before it was legal, and there will be abortions again.”

SARA LEVINE: “I hope that this shows support and will change the tide of Texas politics and get us on our way to a more women-friendly, minority-friendly place. I’m wearing this shirt because she’s going to be a sixth-generation Texan and she has every right to her constitutional rights and I’ll make sure she gets them.”

GOLIA STARGHILL HOWARD: “I am out here to stand with Texas women. I believe that we should have the right to choose. Also, I’m a retired Texas teacher so I have the means and the time to participate in this activity, and shame on me if I didn’t do it. I think there’s enough women in Texas to make a difference on this bill.”

TASCA SHADIX & JIM BEDNAR: “I want to teach these two little ones [her children] right here. I told them it’s very likely it’s going to pass anyway, but we go, we have our say, we make our voice heard anyway.”

BEYRL ARMSTRONG: “I don’t know if we have the votes to defeat it, but I want there to be a line in the sand. I want there to be a notice that we noticed. That what we have to do is change the makeup of the Senate and change the makeup of the House. If we get the right people out to vote, we can do that.”

KATHY MCCAFFERTY: “When I was young I didn’t pay attention. Things like this happened because I wasn’t paying attention. I have the time and the resources now, and I belong here, and I’ll be here.”

LYNN SCHLUNS: “I had wanted to go to the Million Mom March that was in DC however many years ago and I really regretted not going. So when I heard about this I was like, I have to be there. I’m from Dallas so we drove down.”

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