Texas demonstrations take aim at state’s near-total ban on abortion

People hold signs and clap during the Womens March ATX at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Thousands of people attended the rally in support of womens reproductive health and access to safe abortions.

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Thousands of demonstrators in Texas cities marched Saturday to decry Texas’ new near-total abortion ban, joining protesters across the nation calling for the protection of abortion rights.

Senate Bill 8, which became law Sept. 1, effectively bans abortions at about six weeks from the patient's last menstrual period — before many know they’re pregnant. The law invites private citizens to sue abortion providers or people who aid someone in getting an abortion.

The law has drawn national headlines and several legal challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court refused a request to block the law, though its constitutionality has yet to be decided.

Here’s a look at some of what Texas Tribune photographers saw Saturday at demonstrations across the state.

Pro-choice attendees chant and stand to block a small pro-life counterprotest from view during the Womenís March ATX at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Thousands of people attended the rally in support of womenís reproductive health and access to safe abortions.

Abortion rights supporters chant and block an anti-abortion counter-protest from view during the Women's March at the Capitol. Credit: Chelsea Purgahn for The Texas Tribune

Protestors stood at the front steps of the Capitol in opposition to SB 8 on Oct. 2, 2021.

Protestors stood at the front steps of the Capitol in opposition to SB 8 on Oct. 2, 2021. Credit: Michael Gonzalez/The Texas Tribune

Dyan Lee and Judy Kajander hold and wear signs as they listen to speakers during the Women's March ATX at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Thousands of people attended the rally in support of womenís reproductive health and access to safe abortions.

Dyan Lee and Judy Kajander hold and wear signs as they listen to speakers during the Women's March ATX at the Texas Capitol in Austin. Credit: Chelsea Purgahn for The Texas Tribune

First: Protesters stood at the front steps of the Capitol on Saturday in opposition to Senate Bill 8. Last: Dyan Lee and Judy Kajander hold signs as they listen to speakers during the Women's March in Austin. Credit: Michael Gonzalez and Chelsea Purgahn for The Texas Tribune

Protestors stood at the front steps of the Capitol in opposition to SB 8 on Oct. 2, 2021.

Protestors stood at the front steps of the Capitol in opposition to SB 8 on Oct. 2, 2021. Credit: Michael Gonzalez/The Texas Tribune

Fifi Theriot protests at the Women's March in Austin on Oct. 2, 2021.

Fifi Theriot protests at the Women's March in Austin on Oct. 2, 2021. Credit: Michael Gonzalez/The Texas Tribune

First: Protesters chanted "my body, my choice" at the Texas Capitol on Saturday. Demonstrators spoke out against Texas' Senate Bill 8, a near-total ban on abortion. Last: Fifi Theriot protests at the Women's March in Austin. Credit: Michael Gonzalez/The Texas Tribune

Megan Field holds a sign during the Womenís March ATX at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. Thousands of people attended the rally in support of womenís reproductive health and access to safe abortions.

Megan Field holds a sign during the Women's March at the Capitol in Austin. Credit: Chelsea Purgahn for The Texas Tribune

Thousands of participants march and with signs during the 2021 Women’s March on Texas in downtown Houston on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

Thousands of participants marched during the 2021 Women’s March on Texas in downtown Houston on Saturday. Credit: Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

A participant waves a flag during the 2021 Women’s March on Texas in downtown Houston on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021.

A participant waves a flag during the 2021 Women’s March on Texas in downtown Houston. Credit: Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

A young participant jumps a with a sign as people gather for the 2021 Women’s March on Texas at Discovery Green in downtown Houston on Oct. 2, 2021.

A young participant jumps a with a sign as people gather for the 2021 Women’s March on Texas at Discovery Green in downtown Houston on Oct. 2, 2021. Credit: Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

A participant holds a sign during the 2021 Women’s March on Texas in downtown Houston on Oct. 2, 2021.

A participant holds a sign during the 2021 Women’s March on Texas in downtown Houston on Oct. 2, 2021. Credit: Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

First: A young participant jumps a with a sign as people gather for the 2021 Women’s March on Texas at Discovery Green in downtown Houston. Last: A participant holds a sign during the 2021 Women’s March on Texas in Houston. Credit: Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune

Protestors march in downtown Dallas on Oct. 2, 2021.

Participants in the Reproductive Liberation March protested Saturday in downtown Dallas. Credit: Carly May for The Texas Tribune

Protesters at the Reproductive Liberation March in Dallas.

Protesters at the Reproductive Liberation March in Dallas. Credit: Carly May for The Texas Tribune

Protestors march in downtown Dallas on Oct. 2, 2021.

Protestors march in downtown Dallas on Oct. 2, 2021. Credit: Carly May for The Texas Tribune

Abortion rights activists marched through downtown Dallas on Saturday. Credit: Carly May for The Texas Tribune

Activists march through downtown Brownsville in opposition to the new abortion law in Texas on Oct. 2, 2021.

Activists marched through downtown Brownsville on Saturday in opposition to the new abortion law in Texas. Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune