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Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert “Beto” O’Rourke held a “rally for reproductive freedom” in the state capital of Austin on Sunday, just two days after the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.
O’Rourke, who lost a senate race to incumbent Republican Ted Cruz in 2018 by about 215,000 votes, will face off against Gov. Greg Abbott in November.
“This is about controlling the lives and the bodies of the women of Texas,” O’Rourke said on stage alongside pro-choice organizers on Sunday.
Texas passed a law banning most abortions after six weeks last year. It is also one of several states with a “trigger law” in place that will ban almost all abortions following the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling.
“Texas will always fight for the innocent unborn, and I will continue working with the Texas legislature and all Texans to save every child from the ravages of abortion and help our expectant mothers in need,” Gov. Abbott said after Friday’s ruling.
Texas’s trigger law will go into effect 30 days after the Supreme Court issues an official judgment.
O’Rourke was both praised and maligned last month when he derailed Gov. Abbott’s press conference in Uvalde, Texas, and accused him of “doing nothing” about gun violence. He took aim at Abbott again on the issue Sunday.
“If this were about life, then gun violence would not be the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the state of Texas. If this were about life, then those 19 children in Uvalde, Texas would still be alive enjoying their summer break right now,” O’Rourke said Sunday.
O’Rourke was able to parlay his surprisingly close 2018 loss to Cruz into a failed presidential bid in 2020. He then joined the gubernatorial race last November and locked up the Democratic nomination earlier this year, but faces an uphill battle against the incumbent.
Abbott is leading O’Rourke in the polls 48% to 43%, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this month of registered Texas voters.
A Democrat hasn’t held a statewide office in Texas in nearly three decades.