AUSTIN, TEXAS: SB1 Has Passed!

I woke up to this message yesterday morning.

I knew Friday was going to be intense, but some friends and I had no idea exactly how intense it would be. The second reading for SB1 was set to start at 2 p.m. Through the day, news reports from friends in the Capitol trickled in – sharing the status of the lines to the gallery, to the pushing and shoving of the protesters of the praying pro-lifers gathered in the middle of the rotunda. Confirmed reports of protesters found with bricks, tampons, maxi pads {friends who were eyewitnesses to it all report seeing protestors bring in a MONTH’S worth of feminine products}, jars of urine and many bottles of feces caused heightened anxiety, but I was still determined to go.

As luck would have it, ok mostly a providential plan put in motion by the Great Almighty, I along with many other friends found ourselves in front of the Sacred Heart chapel at our parish yesterday, Friday evening.

Not one to give plans much thought, I threw out a line and asked anyone who wanted to carpool or caravan down to the Capitol to meet at 7:15 p.m. at the chapel.

We ended up with a good-sized crowd of 15 – we met inside the chapel to introduce ourselves, exchange numbers, and pray. We headed outside and saw a friend who just happened by the church with his empty 15 passenger van.

Just before we left, we made one final attempt to find Father Uche to ask for his blessings as we headed down. A friend and I went into the main church and eventually found both he and Father Michael talking. Father Michael, who has assisted in exorcisms before, knew the real danger we were headed into when I explained some of what had happened earlier in the day. We gathered the entire group and listened to Father Michael’s beautiful prayer followed by the power of both priests’ blessings upon us. We thanked them, offered up our sufferings for them, and asked them to pray for us.

We were on our way. 

In a nutshell, the evening in the Capitol was intense, hot, crowded, cramped, LOUD, anger and rage-filled by protestors. We made our way in, were briefed by a friend who was already there, made our choices on where we each wanted to go with a tentative meet-up at midnight to see what we would do next.

An eyewitness in the rotunda had this to report when Cecile Richards thanked her: “{Cecile} wasn’t too happy when she accidentally thanked me thinking I was orange and I said no problem, I’ll be happy to stand for life. Anytime. “

After initially wanting to go into the middle of the rotunda where a small group of pro-life folks were praying and holding silent witness, we ran into someone who needed to take food down to one of the rooms. We peeled off and went to deliver the food while the part of the group went to the gallery line and the rest into the middle of the rotunda. As it was described to me later, it was beyond intense. Think outer circle of hell. I hope to have those accounts to share with you soon.

My husband, a friend of ours and I all trekked up to the third and fourth floor of the rotunda where I took video. I had to step away when the protestors started stomping their feet. The floor was vibrating. All I could think was how much anger was present in the rotunda, in the Capitol. And not rational anger – a deep-seated anger. The anger and shouting was probably therapeutic for some of them, a friend shared with me. She’s probably right.

As the evening progressed, the amendments moved through quickly. Social media kept me right on top of things, helping me stay in touch with friends peppered throughout the Capitol. I got a text from a friend stuck in the middle of the sea of orange encircling the few pro-lifers in the middle.

She wrote: We r in hell. No. For reals

The tension was palpable. As soon as I got word that the final amendment was being discussed and knowing that the vote was soon upon us, I texted her {as well as the others} back to GET OUT and to head to the basement to an overflow room. By this point, the DPS troopers {praise God for their presence!} had shut down entrance into the rotunda. The three of us stood waving to get the rest of our group’s attention – several tense minutes later, they emerged – a little rattled, a little deaf, but in good spirits.

DPS troopers had their work cut out.

We made our way down to the basement – but not without riding the elevator with a trooper with bolt cutters in hand, pressing the elevator buttons feverishly to get up to the rotunda. We would later learn he was on his way to cut protestors who had handcuffed themselves to the railing in the gallery.  We found an overflow room filled 2/3 blue and eventually all blue. We kept up with other friends around the Capitol and felt secure, despite the warnings of impending riots, a semiautomatic gun that was rumored to have been found on one’s person and multiple arrests. Not knowing what the atmosphere was like upstairs, we stayed put through all the closing remarks, including some fabulous ones by Senator Lucio, a pro-life Democrat who quoted Mother Theresa and Cardinal DiNardo, and Senator Donna Campbell’s amazing remarks which started with {roughly paraphrased} “people are entitled to their own opinions, but they aren’t entitled to their own facts” before launching into the practical application of the bill. I refer you to the senate archives to find their speeches – near the end.

Taken from the NY Times


In a handful of minutes the atmosphere in the room went from when is the last senator going to speak to, the vote is coming up! PASSED! Oh, a third reading is happening…um, NOW??!! And BOOM. Just like that, it passed the final reading. At midnight the Senate had finished their job of bringing back alley abortion clinics to basic standards of care.





Taken directly from Yahoo News: the caption reads – A bloodied anti-abortion rights protester is surrounded by Texas state troopers outside the Senate Chamber after the Texas Senate passes an abortion bill, Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Austin, Texas.


Here he is seen in the back along with the gal {on the left} who started chanting Hail Satan last week. Pro-lifer or Occupy Austin? You decide.


More proof of the side this fellow stands with. Here is his friend holding the orange sign.

Our group decided to roll through the rotunda on our way out the south steps after a friend reported that it was nearly empty. We walked past several troopers, thanking each of them for all their hard work, felt safe with all the troopers lining the pro-choice rally outside, and made our way back to the van and to the church, stopped by perpetual Adoration to give Jesus a big thank you, and then we all went home to collapse.

SOUND OFF! Were you there? Share your story below. We want to know your thoughts.





7 Replies to “AUSTIN, TEXAS: SB1 Has Passed!”

  1. Great article Martina. I spent time this week in the house gallery and in lines in the capital. Despite the pro-abort legislators LONG debates on rape/incest…and seeming to agree that “no one really wants abortions to have to happen” they seemed to NOT be in touch with their constituents in orange shirts who were chanting “abortion on demand,” “woman’s right to choose,” and “my body, my choice.” This along with the article on “How this will affect Texas men”…girls might not want to have sex, might be a daddy before they are ready…make we wonder how well those legislators really know their folks. Wish they could have been out in the halls more seeing the actions of those they represent. I also noticed how I could not get orange shirts to smile back at me, or give me much eye contact time…They would get very uncomfortable with me looking peacefully, prayerfully at them. To God be the Glory!

  2. Amazing stories, sistas, I admire you for your courage. Jesus hears, prayer works! More power to the pro-life movement.

  3. From this video recorded the night the bill passed the Senate, it would seem that the Yahoo photo is of one Joshua Pineda:
    (foul language alert)

    His Twitter handle @Pisce_Incarnate can be used to turn up a photo from before he got cleaned up at the hospital that night. (warning – bloody:

    A Joshua Pineda has been arrested several times in the past few years in the Austin area. At least one of those was related to Occupy activities last year.

    He’s obviously no pro-life supporter.

  4. I was there and am so blessed to know so many of the wonderful people who led the support of this bill for the last few weeks, before I even heard about it! Wendy Davis’ tidy little filibuster was just the kick in the pants I needed to go from being “pro-life” in word to being pro-life in DEED! Before this past week, I had never once attended a pro-life rally or event of any kind. I am so glad my friends challenged me to show up and be a part of something this important!

    I didn’t make it into the gallery, but I was able to stand in the rotunda for a few hours. I looked each of those orange in the face and prayed a Hail Mary (or two or three) for them. Most of them never knew, because like Michelle said above, they didn’t make eye contact. A few who did shouted at me (and I got a random comment that Abraham raped his slaves… not sure if that meant Bible Abraham or Abraham Lincoln… off-topic either way.

    THANK YOU to those who got there early and stayed in the gallery for over 10 hours with no food, no water, no bathroom breaks! What a sacrifice to offer up! Like I said, I am blessed to know you and to have new friends because of this! I hope that I can get to know you more and we can work to find real solutions for these women as they learn that there are alternatives to aborting their babies! 😀

  5. I would agree with David (great research by the way) that the guy in the 1st photo is definitely Joshua Pineda (lip ring, necklace, etc. make it quite obvious). There is proof that some of these people are being paid to do this: stuff

    Some of my siblings and I got to be there from 1:30pm-6pm. I wish we could have stayed longer (we watched the rest of the Senate proceedings live online).

    We have been to the capitol several times within the past 2 weeks. Every time we went I kept seeing this one pro-choice lady with dark braided hair and bangs. I just realized she’s the same woman who was the last one interviewed in the Ustream video that David mentioned in his comment above. If anyone has information on her (name, background, etc.) I’d really like to know.

    Back to the subject, we got a couple of videos from in the rotunda when we first got there (before the gallery opened) but I know it got a lot worse later on. Like Michelle, we too stood in line for the gallery for a looong time. Finally we found out where the overflow rooms were so we went down there. Once, while we were watching the debate, a pro-life lady nearby said something out-loud about how reasonable a section of the bill was. Then a guy in orange got angry and started saying some mean things. Immediately, a pro-lifer got up and summoned one of the DPS officers standing outside the door. Just then, the guy in orange got up and hurriedly left the room, never to return. That’s pretty much the only unusual thing we saw. Well, besides this one orange shirt guy that looked like a hobo who came in carrying at least 3 large suitcases and some bags. He sat on the floor on top of his bags in the back of the overflow room we were in until the DPS guys came and told him he had to move.

    It was a neat experience just being there and standing for life. May God bless everyone who sacrificed to make it there as well as the wonderful Senators who voted for this bill.

    Great post Martina! Very informational and encouraging to read.
    Keep it up!

Comments are closed.