Pro-Choice movement sparks protest in Texarkana


Bethany Arnold

A group of protesters with ProChoice with Heart gather outside the Texarkana courthouse on Saturday, Oct. 2.

Story by Joseph Haynes-Stewart, Staff Writer

The abrasive sun beams down on a warm Sunday at noon. Some cars honk constantly in support, while others shake their heads and yell in dismay. What could cause such a varying response? One word: Abortion.

On Saturday, Oct. 2, a group of pro-choice supporters with an organization known as ProChoice with Heart, assembled on the Texarkana courthouse steps with a single goal in mind: to send a message to the citizens of Texarkana and the greater United States.

The Texas leader of ProChoice with Heart, Ash H., raises her hand against the ban on abortion by Senate Bill 8 during a protest outside the Texarkana courthouse on Oct. 2. (Photo by Bethany Arnold)

Pro-Choice with heart is an organization whose goal is to make activism kind and accessible to anyone who wants to speak up.

“[It] understands that abortion is a difficult choice to make,” coordinator Jordan Marmolejo said. “That it is a choice that should be made with compassion, which is why it’s pro-choice with heart, because a lot of times, abortion is the most compassionate choice that somebody can make.”

Marmolejo and Ash* were some of the organizers and most vocal advocates of the protesters. The two saw the implications of the new Texas legislation and decided to act now.

“Seeing the blatant oppression of women in Texas it’s abhorrent,” Marmolejo said. “The law that was implemented on Sept. 1 is what motivated us to do this today.”

The document being referred to is Texas Senate Bill 8, or SB8, which does not allow abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. This bill also allows any private citizen in Texas, or elsewhere, to sue anyone who performs an abortion in the state after an embryo’s cardiac activity can be detected. 

“I’m in support of abortions because the only people that need to make that choice is the person getting the abortion and their doctor,” Ash said. “There should be no other person trying to make a decision for them.”

With this being said, Pro-Choice with Heart believed the community of Texarkana, along with its location between both Texas and Arkansas, would be one of the most effective places to get their message across.

“They may not even be able to raise that child, especially with the high poverty rate here in Texarkana: that’s a big concern of mine,” Ash said.

Although the protest was mostly met with little instigative action, certain groups verbally denounced the movement but did not interfere with the protest.

“It’s about time that they [understood] that we were raised the same way, but we are no longer accepting the bogus rules that they had set in place,” Marmolejo said. “That we are a generation that’s going to change those rules, and we are no longer going to accept the tyranny of the patriarchy anymore.”

Having this protest down, the group looks to continue their efforts in order to reach Texas officials.

“I want people to understand that despite their certain beliefs that there are reasons that people get abortions, and it’s not just to quote-unquote kill babies,” Ash said. “If it doesn’t involve you and your body, then don’t make laws.”

*preferred to only give first name