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'Women must decide their fate': Hundreds rally for abortion rights in downtown San Antonio

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales has pledged not to prosecute most abortion cases—and he's not alone.

SAN ANTONIO — Abortion rights protests erupted across the country Friday after the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Roe v. Wade.

Hundreds packed the front of the federal courthouse in downtown San Antonio, rallying against the ruling, which strikes down the federal right to an abortion that had been in place since 1973. 

Now, Texas and many other states will ban the procedure.

RELATED: Roe v. Wade is overturned. What does that mean for abortion in Texas?

The Mujeres Marcharán Coalition hosted Friday's rally alongside their allies, amplifying the voices of countless others across America. They're demanding free, safe and accessible abortions for all.

"In history class, they say (Roe v. Wade) was such a historic moment, a women's progressive case. To have it all taken back is just 50 years of regression," said Raquel Bevien-Cervantes, who joined Friday's protest. "I feel like my country has definitely let me down today."

For San Antonian Whitney Dietz, one justice in particular came to mind when she heard the news Friday morning: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

"She always said women are not the exception," Dietz explained. "I feel if she was here today, she would be disgusted by the behavior of our Supreme Court justices."

Credit: KENS
Whitney Dietz

Dietz says her mother fought this same fight.

"(I'm) sad for our future. Sad for my mother who marched 50 years ago to defend our abortion rights," said Dietz. "She marched in New York City."

RELATED: What the Texas woman who first filed Roe v. Wade has to say about it getting overturned

Also in attendance at the federal courthouse was Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales. Earlier on Friday, he said he plans not to prosecute abortion cases if they're filed in his office. 

He also said he'll comply with the law and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

"My intent is to support women in their very personal decisions," said Gonzales. "My oath to the citizens of Bexar County is to seek justice. I just do not see the justice in prosecuting somebody for making such a decision that's so personal to them."

Gonzales said he's not alone. He said other prosecutors in Travis, Galveston, Dallas and Fort Bend counties share his position.

Credit: KENS
Nev Shulman, a TV host and producer, attends Friday's rally in San Antonio.

"What (this overruling is) gonna do is require women to leave the state if they can afford to do so," he explained. "Those who don't have the means will succumb to procedures that may endanger their lives."

When asked if he's concerned about the possible consequences for not prosecuting these cases, he replied, "We'll deal with that when we get there."

RELATED: Roe v. Wade overturned: San Antonio and Texas leaders react to Supreme Court's decision

Abortion rights advocates say the first step to getting these freedoms back is to vote.

"It is a loud minority of people, who (the justices are) representing. It's definitely not the will of the American people," said Valerie Reiffert of Radical Registrars, which set up a booth at the rally to register voters. "Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. We're voting for our lives. We really are."

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