Walk for Choice Brings Women's Health Care and Abortion Rights Fight to Downtown

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Tomorrow at noon, pro-choicers from around Dallas will be meeting up at JFK Memorial Plaza and moseying through downtown for a "Walk for Choice" protest, against a run on bills around the country aimed at slashing funding for women's health providers and limiting access to abortions.

The Dallas event is one of dozens of walks around the world tomorrow -- most in the U.S. -- and comes a little more than a month after the anti-choice "March for Life" drew a sizable crowd (including Jeff Dunham's creepiest puppet character yet) that shut down streets around the Arts District.

This weekend's walk is a less formal deal -- partly because it all came together so fast, organizer Logan Haynsworth told Unfair Park this morning. Instead of a march through the streets or at City Hall, which would require permits, Haynsworth says the walk will run along Elm and Main Street sidewalks before looping back to the plaza. On the walk's Facebook page, around 400 people have signed on so far.

Dallas is also one of a few cities with an anti-choice counter-protest planned, this one organized by Pro-Life Texas. They'll wear red to show their opposition to the pro-choicers, who will wear orange, which probably won't be confusing at all.

(I couldn't track down any of the counter-protest's organizers, and they didn't reply to an e-mail through the Pro-Life Texas website.)

Haynsworth says the Walk for Choice grew out of a response to Republican-led efforts in Washington to axe federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and that a series of state laws amped things up further -- including one in Georgia that'd make it a crime to miscarry, and a bill in South Dakota (since shelved, though it's since been proposed in other states) that would expand "defensible murder" to include killing an abortion provider. Here in Texas, a bill passed in the Texas Senate that'd require women to have a sonogram done at least two hours before an abortion -- one of Rick Perry's "emergency" issues for this session.

The wave of bills amounts to "a complete attack on women's health rights," Haynsworth says. "It's not partisan -- it's more just standing up for your rights as a human being."

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