AUSTIN, Texas — Liberate Abortion's state-crossing caravan is looking to raise awareness about efforts to decrease abortion access. It started this effort on Tuesday on the grounds of the Texas Supreme Court, as multiple local abortions rights advocates spoke at a press conference.
This caravan is taking place as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion on a case out of Mississippi that could overturn Roe v. Wade. A leaked draft of that opinion showed the justices are planning to overturn the ruling decided back in 1973, making it much easier for states to ban abortions.
“We won’t stand by and allow you to take us back to where we were before, we will not go back to pre-Roe days," said Marva Sadler, with Whole Woman's Health. "We will not allow that to happen because, as you see, we are here to stand for that fight.”
The caravan will last from June 14 to June 17 as participants travel through Texas and Mississippi. The June 15 stop is in Houston, and the June 17 stop is in Jackson, Mississippi. These are both states that have enacted laws that restrict abortion access.
Participants were also supposed to stop in Shreveport and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on June 14 and June 16, but those dates were canceled.
In Texas, most abortions have been banned ever since Senate Bill 8 went into effect nine months ago, which people at this rally said is a violation of the rights of women.
“To maintain personal bodily autonomy, to have children or not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities free of violence," said Rev. Erika Forbes, with Envision Justice.
But other groups, like Texas Right to Life, hope to see Roe v. Wade get overturned. It does not believe women should be able to get abortions, but said it wants to work to help them in other ways.
"Reforming CPS, streamlining the adoption process, and then also just doubling down on things like the alternative to abortion program," said Rebecca Parma, with Texas Right to Life.
While both groups have two very different hopes on what the opinion will say regarding Roe v. Wade, all they can do now is wait.
"I look forward to a country in a state where we can affirm women and also protect pre-born children," said Parma. "And those things aren't in conflict, so both of those things can happen at the same time."
“It will take time, but make no mistake," said Dyana Limon-Mercado, with Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, "we will get back our rights and we will fight for everyone, more than ever.”
Over 150 groups supporting abortion and justice rights make up Liberate Abortion, including the Abortion Care Network, Black Feminist Future and the Center for Reproductive Rights. Specific participants in the caravan include Dyana Limon-Mercado, executive director for Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, Progress Texas advocacy director Diana Gómez and Rev. Erika Forbes, Envision Justice's chief visionary officer.
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