By Emma Keddington and Kaylyn Wolf
Hundreds of people gathered in solidarity to march in opposition to abortion legislation at the March for Life at the Utah State Capitol Saturday morning.
This rally was held on the 49th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, a precedent which made abortion legal nationwide. Roe v. Wade’s nationwide abortion legalization has been a topic of heated debate in recent political discourse, resulting in states such as Texas and Mississippi passing restrictive abortion laws and a potential overturn of the precedent itself.
The goals of this rally were to stand together and raise awareness of the pro-life cause and anti-abortion legislation, along with a call for donations and volunteers, Pro-life Utah president Mary Taylor said.
Those in attendance described the overall feeling of the rally as hopeful and optimistic, especially in regard to the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“I am very hopeful [Roe v. Wade will be overturned],” BYU human development student Julie Jarvis said. “It would be interesting timing considering 50 years next year, almost like a cool sign.”
Much of the event was dedicated to the discussion of what it will take to overturn Roe v. Wade. “I think that honestly, it’ll take humility and listening to other people’s opinions, listening to other people’s stories,” Jarvis said.
According to Rep. Cheryl Acton, R-West Jordan, the precedent will be overturned once the Supreme Court establishes the “personhood of the unborn,” because of the life, liberty, and property rights guaranteed in the 14th amendment.
“They have a unique DNA, they have unique facial features, they have fingerprints that argue needs,” she said.
Acton, who sponsored a 2019 bill that would ban abortion at 18 weeks, said she has always been a proponent of helping women through their crisis pregnancies instead of eliminating the unborn fetus.
The theme for this rally was “Life: It’s about babies, not politics,” an idea that was echoed by Ashley Bailey, who runs a pregnancy resource center in Salt Lake City.
“I definitely think that it’s about life, and it’s about babies,” she said. “It’s not about politics, no matter which side you’re on, life is life.”
In response to a common criticism that the pro-life movement is too heavily linked with religion, Brother Paul, a friar of the Catholic church, argued that abortion is not a singularly religious issue.
“It’s easier for believers to claim that life is of value, but it’s definitely not just a matter of beliefs,” he said. “There’s a common field: human nature.”
Acton agreed with this sentiment. “I have talked to many atheists who are also pro-life. It’s a humanitarian issue as well.”
Marchers walked around the perimeter of the capitol, bearing signs with sayings such as “Defend the Defenseless” and “Love Life, Choose Life.”
“It felt very much like a community,” Jarvis said. “We all came together in something positive. We were just showing the love that we have for the babies.”