Democratic lawmakers demonstrated alongside activists Tuesday, vowing to fight Texas-style abortion restrictions ahead of the 2022 Legislative Session.
Atop the steps of the Historic Capitol Building, dozens chanted and waved signs. They blasted the Republican-controlled Legislature, decrying the previous Session as the birthplace of “racist, homophobic, sexist and misogynistic” legislation.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried left a Cabinet meeting to attend the event, a move that garnered applause among demonstrators. She warned similar legislation is on the horizon.
“We will not let the White men of this building tell us what to do with our bodies,” said Fried, a Democratic gubernatorial contender.
The new Texas abortion law is among the most restrictive in the nation. It bans the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at about six weeks of gestation, and provides no exception for rape or incest. It also allows a person to sue someone they suspect of aiding another to obtain an abortion.
Democratic Sen. Annette Taddeo coined the law “The Rapist Bill of Rights.” She blasted Republicans and encouraged attendees to organize in defense of state abortion rights.
Abortion rights, she warned, are under threat.
“They relish the opportunity to take away our rights to make our own health care choices,” Taddeo said of GOP lawmakers. “The only thing Republicans in Tallahassee fear is not being in power.”
Despite vocal support from Senate President Wilton Simpson, Gov. Ron DeSantis last month appeared less enthused to push similar legislation in Florida.
Speaking to reporters, he noted legal hurdles.
“We’ll see what happens,” DeSantis said before touting a devotion to “pro-life” principles.
Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani warned the legislation would further threaten the state’s economic health. Abortion restrictions, she suggested, may direct businesses and workers outside the state.
“If you don’t care about my body, at least care about my damn checkbook,” Eskamani said.
Tuesday’s demonstration is among the many taking place across the country.
Opponents fear the law is a model for other Republican-controlled states. Democratic Rep. Michele Rayner warned abortion restrictions disproportionately harm minority women.
Calling out names, she put DeSantis, Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls “on notice.”
“You will not be able to do this without a fight,” Rayner said.
The 2022 Legislative Session begins Jan. 11.