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Fighting for their lives

"Fighting for their lives" Continued...

Grace Einkauf, a 20-year-old from Thrall, Texas, attended the rally as a volunteer with CWA. An hour before the rally began, she jogged around with a clipboard collecting signatures on a petition supporting HB 2. “It’s a much bigger issue than just this one law, and that’s why this event is important,” she said. “It’s waking up sleeping dragons in our nation. The sanctity of life is what’s behind this.” Three teens from Springtown, Texas—Bethani Taylor, 15, Maigan Gee, 16, and Landon Mears, 18— drove nearly three hours to Austin with a group from their church. Their pastor encouraged them to attend because even though supporters have full confidence the bill will pass, “the nation is watching us and we can influence them by taking a stand,” Mears said. “Plus, we just want to be a part of something truly significant in the history of our state.”

Various pro-life leaders on the front lines of the debate encouraged the crowd from the stage. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott—who has used a wheelchair since he was 26, when a tree collapsed on him during a jog and left him paralyzed in both legs—told supporters he would “stand for life” with them. When Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar from TLC’s hit television show 19 Kids and Counting took the stage with their eldest son and 3-year-old daughter, Josie, born at only 25 weeks’ gestation, the crowd erupted in cheers. Michelle Duggar said the blood of a modern-day “baby holocaust” would be on America’s hands if Christians failed to pray and legislators backed down on their convictions: “Duty is ours. Results are up to God.”

Huckabee reminded the crowd that the issue for Americans when it comes to human life is not abortion, but that “all of us have been created equally” with the divinely endowed rights historically affirmed by America’s founders. “We are the voice of the weak and vulnerable. Let us stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” he said, to thunderous applause.

At the start of the rally, 100 yards away from the pro-life crowd, about 1,000 orange-clad, pro-abortion protestors gathered at the Capitol gate to march through downtown Austin. At the end of the rally, when a team from Austin’s Bannockburn Baptist Church led the crowd in worship, protestors surged toward the stage loudly chanting, “Not the church! Not the state! Women must decide their fate!” For the next 30 minutes, while the band played and pro-life advocates sang, protestors crowded the stage area shouting chants against the music—orange-clad opponents shoulder-to-shoulder with blue-clad supporters, pro-abortion and pro-life signs raised together in the air.

“I look at these protestors and I think of the first time I voted back in 1972, in support of Roe v. Wade,” said Barbara Holliday from Jonestown, Texas, who wore a bright blue shirt and a red “LIFE” sticker. She grew emotional as she looked at the crowd and described how, after 50 million babies have been aborted in the U.S., she realizes that abortion is “just for convenience” and not the safety of women: “My heart is broken, and I’m ashamed I ever supported it. So it’s time to speak up for what’s right. We will keep fighting.”

Samuel and David Castillo wait for Monday's pro-life rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin to begin.
Photo by Caroline Leal
Samuel and David Castillo wait for Monday's pro-life rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin to begin.
Landon Mears, Maigan Gee, and Bethani Taylor came with their church group from Springtown, Texas.
Photo by Caroline Leal
Landon Mears, Maigan Gee, and Bethani Taylor came with their church group from Springtown, Texas.
One of the signs held up during the rally.
Photo by Caroline Leal
One of the signs held up during the rally.
Two teens hold pro-life signs.
Photo by Caroline Leal
Two teens hold pro-life signs.
A pro-life sign.
Photo by Caroline Leal
A pro-life sign.
A display of children's shoes on the south steps of the Capitol building.
Photo by Caroline Leal
A display of children's shoes on the south steps of the Capitol building.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Photo by Caroline Leal
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, with their youngest daughter, Josie.
Photo by Caroline Leal
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, with their youngest daughter, Josie.
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Photo by Caroline Leal
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst
Pro-life and pro-abortion supporters stand side-by-side at the end of the rally.
Photo by Caroline Leal
Pro-life and pro-abortion supporters stand side-by-side at the end of the rally.
Texas State Troopers line the edge of a crowd mixed with pro-life and pro-abortion supporters at the end of the rally.
Photo by Caroline Leal
Texas State Troopers line the edge of a crowd mixed with pro-life and pro-abortion supporters at the end of the rally.

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Caroline Leal
Caroline Leal

Caroline Leal is a freelance journalist for WNG.org. She graduated from Regent University with a degree in English and Professional Writing, and lives in Central Texas.

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