By Cassie Moran
Militant women protesters, led by Popular Women’s Movement-Movimiento Feminino Popular (PWM-MFP), targeted the downtown offices of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday to denounce his campaign against abortion and healthcare access.
The women chanted angrily and unfurled a large red banner that read, “FIGHT FOR WORKING WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE, CRUSH KEN PAXTON & MISOGYNIST POLITICIANS.”
Passing rush hour traffic honked in support and pedestrians stopped to take flyers. Someone from inside the state office building, apparently fearing an invasion, locked the front doors. Meanwhile, the protesters continued chanting while kicking and punching martial arts pads featuring large color prints of the faces of Paxton, Donald Trump, and Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court justice recently outed as a sexual predator.
Near the end of the protest, the women chanted, “We demand abortion access! Ken Paxton is a sexist!” and scattered dozens of wire coat hangers on the sidewalk. Wire hangers represent the dangerous improvised abortion methods women are forced to attempt when laws deny access to professional abortion services. To drive home the point, one protester poured blood-red paint over the hangers and sidewalk before the group marched away.
The protest was sparked by SB 22, which Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law on Friday, banning local governments from entering into contracts with abortion providers and affiliates. The bill was co-authored by State Senator Angela Paxton, Ken Paxton’s wife, after he announced his intention to investigate the city of Austin’s $1-a-year lease to the Planned Parenthood on E. 7th and Chicon. The bill will also likely allow Paxton, as attorney general, to force cities or counties to stop partnering with organizations that provide sex education, health services, and birth control.
In a written statement, PWM-MFP noted that the healthcare services offered by Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits fall short of what women actually need. “Planned Parenthood and places like it, due to the ugly realities of capitalism, force women to pay for healthcare services which should be provided without shame or charge,” the statement said, “but attacks on the hard-earned gains of women must be struggled against at every turn.”