Pro-abortion protesters (dressed in orange) and anti-abortion advocates (dressed in blue) gathered at the Texas state Capitol in Austin Friday to rally, as the Senate convened to begin debate and ultimately vote on a bill to implement some of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst scheduled a vote for Friday on restrictions on when, where and how women may obtain abortions. The vote was delayed in a special legislative session by a Democratic filibuster that ran out the clock.
Photojournalist Erin Trieb talked to people inside and outside the capitol on both sides of the issue.
Joanna Brown (above, left): "The bill is a sham. ... This country was founded on freedom and human rights and I don’t understand why we’re backtracking 40 years all of a sudden. I don’t know what’s going through this sect of our culture. It’s very frightening."
Toni Moore (above, right): "I am dressed like this because I feel that the religious zealots that are currently controlling the legislature are pushing us in a direction similar to when the Taliban took over Afghanistan, so I’m trying to pull a metaphor from history to show what is happening today. I feel really awake and alive because I think that they’ve awakened a sleeping giant, but I also feel really upset because the women who can’t be here today are the women who are going to suffer the most, and those are women in rural Texas and women in poverty, who this legislature has also ignored through other bills, yet they claim to be pro-life, only nothing has been passed to better the lives of women and children in this state who are already alive."
Roy Dean (left): "I am here to support the bill to limit abortions to 20 weeks. I wish we could do away with it all, but it is a start in the right direction to preserve life. We believe that life starts at the very conception and should be protected. I feel like the persons against this bill just don’t have a respect for life at the beginning and even beyond that. I can’t understand why. It’s kind of strange. People have been brought up on charges for causing an accident and killing a mother and a baby and they’re charged with two murders. Does that make any sense? That’s why I’m here, to support the bill and hopefully it’ll pass and get this done."
Dawn Jackson and Heather Shearfield (right):
Dawn: "Well, I regret the abortion I had in 1974 and I just want to stand for newborns or pre-born children that weren't allowed to live like mine wasn't. And I would like to save other women the pain of going through what I went through."
Heather: "I also regret the abortion that I had as well and I believe that our voices need to be heard because we've been silent for too long. I believe that this country made a mistake when they approved Roe v. Wade and I believe that we are gradually correcting that mistake. I believe that abortion kills babies, it harms women, and it cripples the nation."
Carrie Stavenhagen with daughter, Iona (left): "I wanted my daughter to have the choices I had. I was fortunate enough to be able to choose when to have her, so that we were financially secure, so that I had a supportive partner. And I just wanted her to be able to make those choices for her life. And I thought it was important. We're going to take some pictures later today so that she knows she was here early on in her life and learning how to stand up for what she thinks, too."
Rachel Lindsay, Cindy Flint, Bob Gordon, J.D. Gins (right):
J.D. Gins: "A lot of people are tired of this being an issue. There's a lot of folks here who have been fighting this fight for a long time and are frustrated that we're re-litigating this again. ... For a lot of people Planned Parenthood is where they go for their regular health screenings and that includes men. This is about abortion, but it's really about much more. It's about making sure women and men have access to their own healthcare decision and that legislating morality is not OK."
Nancy White and Thomas Burrows, who met on a bus of supporters who traveled to Austin for the debate (left):
White: "I am pro-life and feel that abortions should not be a way for women to easily get out of pregnancies. Babies have the right to live. Once that heart starts beating, why would anybody throw away a precious little baby?"
Burrows, whose wife is a doctor of pharmacy at a Dallas hospital: "Twenty weeks, just a couple of weeks past that and they have people in the neo-natal NICU or ICU. If, for whatever reason, you find yourself having sex, being forced, you made a mistake, there’s the morning after pill. There’s no reason why you should have to wait to five months to decide to solve this problem, if you perceive it as a problem. The technology is there. ... My wife works too hard with the other people to try to save children’s lives."
Linda Maska, who brought her two daughters to the state house: "I don't think a lot of people realize that it is a child that can feel the pain, that they've got the heart beating, their own blood, their own DNA, everything is unique and separate from the mother’s body, so I want to educate women how they can get help through their pregnancy, and if they don't feel up to taking care of the child there are so many families out there that definitely will, so we're just spreading the word."
Kelly Savedra (left): "I think it's important to show that we here in Texas are tired of legislators dictating what we can and can't do with our bodies, and I think it's time that we put this issue to rest. There's 40 years of litigation already been done on Roe v. Wade that says we have the right to an abortion and we have the right to say what's done with our bodies, and the Texas legislature is railroading women right now, uh. cheating, for lack of a better word, to get what they want, and I think we're all tired of it."
Trenton Garza (right): "Well, I came here mostly in hope of meeting with my local senator. I sat in front of his office for three hours and not even a staffer was present, so unfortunately I didn't get to do that. But what I'm doing here is I'm trying to stand with Texas women ... we're going up against a bill that began with politics, that began with giving Republican candidates opportunities to show that they're conservative in their Republican primaries, and what came out of that was a bill that would establish some of the most restrictive and harmful regulations in the United States, specifically, and uniquely towards women and their access to safe and legal health care."
Editor's note: These images were photographed with an iPhone using an app named Hipstamatic which creates a Polaroid-like effect.