Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons, who film the culinary competition in Texas, joined protestors at the Houston Women’s March on Saturday, October 2. The focus of the march was the state’s recent “heartbeat bill,” which . The bill also calls upon private citizens to report those who aid a person in receiving an abortion.
While abortion is technically still legal in all 50 states, as it has been under the law following the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case in 1973, many are concerned that Texas’ latest abortion restriction could have major implications for abortion rights.
Lakshmi and Simmons spoke at the march, with Lakshmi expressing gratitude that her own mother was able to have an abortion after she was born.
“At that time, not only could my parents not afford another child, but her body could not physically sustain another pregnancy,” Lakshmi told the crowd, per Chron. “It’s out of love for me that they made the difficult decision to do what was right for our family and it’s out of love for my mother and all families that I stand here today, ready to fight.”
She later criticized Governor Greg Abbott, saying of the Republican leader, “I think Abbott should take Biology 101. I think he should understand how women’s bodies work, how reproductive cycles work and I think he should stay out of women’s bodies. You have no right to decide what happens to my body.”
Simmons also denounced the law, and expressed concern that what happened in Texas could lead to more restrictive laws around the country.
“Texas has set a precedent and a lot of states could fall along with it if we don’t make this an issue of national crisis and demand action at the highest levels of justice,” Simmons said. “The most I can do is make sure people know where I stand and that I will support them.”
Simmons captioned the photo, which showed a massive crowd gathered behind her, "Today we marched."