The rally followed a confirmed leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting the reversal of Roe vs Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that allowed nationwide access to abortions up to around 22 to 24 weeks of pregnancy when a fetus can survive on its own. The opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, suggests returning decisions on abortion rights to elected state leaders.
"The decision is done in the Supreme Court as far as I’m concerned. They’re sending it back to the states. That’s why Texas is so important," O’Rourke said in an interview between photo opportunities with supporters. "There are no greater number of women under attack anywhere in the United States than right here in the state of Texas. It is going to be the women of the state of Texas and those here who believe in the right to make their own decision about their own body who have to win the day."
One mother arrived with her daughter sporting the words "back off" and "my body, my choice" painted in black on her abdomen and shoulders.
"I can’t believe that I’m turning 18 in such a modern time, and we're going through this," Clodie Amador said.
The pair are in an estimated crowd of five thousand braving a heat advisory to back O’Rourke, a candidate they say would protect their right to choose.
"I'm happy that he's the first person I get to vote for," added Amador.
During her time on stage, Representative Ann Johnson of Texas House District 134 did not hold back criticism of incumbent Governor Greg Abbott, asking people to raise their hands if they had a daughter, granddaughter, sister, or niece.
"There is one man on the ballot that if that daughter, granddaughter, sister, or niece is raped, she would have to raise that rapist child," she said. "That's Governor Greg Abbott."
Local democrats are using the leaked draft in their push for a change in Texas leadership, with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner among a lineup of speakers that included Congressman Al Green, Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Representative Sylvia Garcia.
"As their employer, you need to take their [expletive] out of office!" shouted Turner.
Ralliers say poor communities, transgender people, and people of color will be disproportionately affected by the loss of legal abortion access.
"Will we go back to back-alley abortions?" asked Jackson Lee to a booing crowd.
A lone counter-protester at the start of the rally told FOX 26 that Black lives are the ones he came to protect.
"[There are] four to one blacks aborted for every one white. I want to speak for them, and I want to honor Rosa Parks," says Barrett Haynes who was previously featured in another news outlet as leading a handful of pro-life counter-protestors at another rally.
An article published by the National Library of Medicine titled "Perceiving and Addressing the Pervasive Racial Disparity in Abortion" states, "Black women have been experiencing induced abortions at a rate nearly 4 times that of White women for at least 3 decades, and likely much longer.
Incumbent Governor Greg Abbott has kept quiet about the leak, however, in 2021 he signed into law the Texas Heartbeat Act, another bill regulating the use of abortion-inducing drugs, and a trigger law that would make performing abortions a federal crime if Roe v Wade is rolled back.
"This is one of the most extreme laws on the books," O’Rourke said. "Fewer than 20% of our fellow Texans agree with that. The vast majority of us want to make sure we do the right things and when we win this election we will."
The rally wrapped with a push to register voters and Harris County pro-choicers hoping the leak and concerns about reversals of other rights will swing voters their direction this November.