Padma Lakshmi selected four finalists and a grand prize winner for the Stacy's Rise Project. (Credit: Flickr)
“Top Chef” judge Padma Lakshmi also joined the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C, held the day after Former President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated. [Credit: U.S. Embassy New Delhi // Flickr]

After businesses finally started speaking out against the Texas abortion ban, thousands of people are expected to protest the bill in the state where it passed.

And celebrity chefs Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons — who are currently filming the next season of “Top Chef” in Houston — announced they will join the mile-long march for women’s rights in Houston this week against the ban, which took effect Sept. 1. 

“Our reproductive rights are under attack,” Lakshmi, who also attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. after results of the 2016 presidential election, said in a statement, according to the Chronicle. “I stand with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU and those who demand to be heard.”

The Saturday event against the law, SB8, which will include as-yet-unannounced musical performances and voter registration stations, is organized by a nonprofit called Houston Women March On. Protestors will begin marching to Houston City Hall at 9 a.m. 

“Women’s bodily autonomy is crucial,” said Robin Paoli, board chair of Houston Women March On. “There has never been a more important time to come together and act.” Organizers said they are expecting up to 30,000 marchers. 

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced they would join the march, along with several activists, including George Floyd Foundation Executive Director Shareeduh Tate, the Houston Chronicle reported. Activist Sabrina Greenlee, who is also football star DeAndre Hopkins’ mother, will be the main speaker.

Under the law, terminating a pregnancy after a fetal heartbeat is detected — usually at six weeks, around the time most women find out they are pregnant — is illegal. The legislation makes no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape. The legislation also gives private citizens the right (and an incentive of $10,000) to sue anyone found helping a woman end a pregnancy. 

On Aug. 30, reproductive rights groups, including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, filed an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court to block SB8. The Court has yet to act on the request, ABC10 reported.

Big business was slow to speak out in support of Texas women’s reproductive rights, but eventually companies such as Bumble vowed to create relief funds for those impacted by the law, and Lyft and Uber announced plans to cover legal fees for their employees who might get in trouble for driving women to abortion clinics. 

Several organizations also put out a statement to get more business leaders engaged in efforts against the abortion laws. The statement details ways companies can support their employees who might be affected by the draconian law. 

Texas might only be the beginning of what could be a dark future for reproductive rights across the country. According to reports, the Supreme Court is set to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Dec. 1, a case that could potentially pose a threat to women’s constitutional right to abortion as decided in the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade.