“My birth mother looked me in the eye and with tears and deep, deep pain that is indescribable, she shared with me about being pregnant at 13 years old,” Claire Culwell told a crowd of more than 5,000 pro-life advocates that rallied at the Texas Capitol on Saturday.
Culwell said that her birth mother’s mother had said that abortion was “her only choice,” that it would “empower her,” and “solve her problem.”
“But it didn’t,” said Culwell. She went on to describe how her mother went back to the facility a few weeks after she had her abortion, and “they realized that her belly was still growing and that she was still pregnant because she had been pregnant with twins.”
“I had survived my birth mother’s abortion,” she said. “I can’t tell you what if felt like to look into my birth mother’s eyes and realize that I had survived something that was meant to take my life and that I was walking around every single day for 21 years not knowing that I was a twinless twin in the name of choice.”
The Texas Rally for Life took place a day after tens of thousands of pro-life advocates flooded the streets of Washington, D.C. for the annual March for Life.
Both events were held on the same week as the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Roe v. Wade.
The rally in Austin was organized by the Texas Alliance for Life, with several other Christian and pro-life organizations serving on the host committee, including the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Christian Life Commission, Relevant Radio, and the Bridge Christian talk radio.
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) and Texas State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) spoke at the event.
Roy said that the issue was personal for him and talked about a close friend who was asked by her doctor at a pregnancy check-up if she wanted to “terminate the pregnancy.”
“[The doctor] asked her the question in the same tone that she might have used when ordering coffee at Starbucks. She didn’t blink an eye. She asked it in front of her two little boys. She asked without her husband there. She offered no explanation or comfort. It was cold,” explained Roy.
He said that his friend said abortion was “not an option,” walked out, and never returned to the doctor.
“Her ultrasound was completely normal in 24 weeks,” said Roy. “They just couldn’t get a good read at her 20-week appointment. Her baby was born in May of 2015. He’s completely healthy…. And none of us, but particularly his loving mother can imagine life without him. He is my god-son and I am proud of him.”
Like President Trump, who became the first president to speak at the March for Life this year, Roy lauded the administration for several of its pro-life accomplishments, including appointing pro-life judges on federal courts, cutting some federal funding to Planned Parenthood, and granting a waiver to fund Texas’ Healthy Texas Women program that doesn’t support abortion providers or their affiliates.
Leach said that since Roe, 61 million babies have been aborted in the United States.
“You may recall,” said Leach, “that Roe v. Wade was a case that started right here in Texas. Well, I’m here to say today, along with you, that what started in Texas is going to end in Texas.”
Leach trumpeted the Texas Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which he authored and was passed by the state legislature last year.
“We did in this building what Washington, D.C. refuses to do,” said Leach, “and that’s to draw a line in the sand and say…that any baby that survives an abortion deserves the full and utmost protection of Texas law.”
The reported estimate of 5,000 to 6,000 people that were part of the large crowd in downtown Austin on Saturday was published on social media as a number cited by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.