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rallying the troops

Abbott is 'attacking the people of Texas,' O'Rourke says after Houston abortion rights rally

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke attended a large rally in Houston on Saturday to protest the Supreme Court's draft decision that would overturn the constitutional right to an abortion, a local ABC affiliate reported.

According to O'Rourke, nearly 5,000 people gathered at Discovery Green, a park in downtown Houston. Speaking to journalists after the rally, O'Rourke accused Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is running for a third term and supports the state's near-total ban on abortion, of "attacking the people of Texas." Abbott, O'Rourke said, was ignoring the will of "the vast majority of Texans" who "want to protect the right of every woman to make her own health care decisions."

Polling data shows that 48 percent of Texans believe abortion should be "mostly illegal," while 46 percent believe it should be "mostly legal," The New York Times reported Wednesday, while a University of Texas poll from April found that 78 percent of Texans said abortion should be allowed in some form, versus 15 percent who said it should never be permitted.

O'Rourke trails Abbott by around 11 percentage points, a poll conducted last month found.

The rally in Houston was far from the only one held Saturday, though it "might have been the largest gathering of the protests that were scheduled in more than a dozen cities and communities," the Times reports.

On Sunday, which was also Mother's Day, supporters of abortion rights protested outside the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in New York City, Fox News reported. On Tuesday, the abortion rights group Ruth Sent Us called for protests to disrupt Catholic masses over the weekend.