Thousands of protesters gathered in Salt Lake City on Friday night for abortion rights and to protest the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
This law was passed by the Utah Legislature in 2020 and now allows abortions in few circumstances including rape or incest with a physician’s verifying the incident was reported to proper authorities, an abortion “necessary to avert death” of the mother, or if two physicians agree that the fetus has a defect that is “uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal.”
Protesters showed up at the Utah State Capitol throughout the day and in the evening, a large group organized by the Utah Coalition of Leftists, gathered at Washington State Park before marching to the Utah State Capitol to join another demonstration organized by Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.
Speakers expressed their anger and frustration with the ruling and the crowd cheered in agreement.
Mikah Gonzalez, a trans man who attended the rally, told the crowd to “build their fortress” to fight back for the rights that were taken away from them.
“We are in masses and we are so educated and so powerful if we stand together,” Gonzalez said. “The revolution doesn’t start with anger, it starts with loving and protecting the people who need it. It’s about uplifting voices who have been silenced for too long.”
Deja Gaston, an organizer with the Salt Lake City Party for Socialism and Liberation, also addressed the crowd.
“We must take to the streets, across the country, here in Utah and make It clear that we will not accept this,” Gaston said. “We won’t go down, we’ll fight back.”
Before marching the streets of Salt Lake City, protestors made signs and chanted, “No justice, no peace,” and “My body, my choice.”
At the Capitol, Heather Dinsmore told the large crowd about the abortion she got in 2014.
“I had no job, I had no insurance but more than anything I terminated my pregnancy because I did not want to bring a child into my marriage,” Dinsmore said. “I knew what I was doing. Stop treating us like children.”
Erika Munson, another speaker at the rally who is an active and lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told the crowd how she believes reproductive rights should be fought for by conservative religious groups.
Muson shared the story of her aunt, who got pregnant in the mid 1960s after being told she would not be able to survive a pregnancy. Her doctor refused to consider an abortion even though her life was at high risk. In the end, the baby was born prematurely and Munson’s aunt survived, yet, she was forced to be on bedrest and suffered nine months of grueling worry.
“I remember my parents discussing their support for the recent Roe v. Wade decisions,” Munson said.
Munson said she remembered her father telling her and her siblings that an abortion can be a “sad thing,” but that “a child coming into this world unwanted is tragic.”
“Life unfolding in the womb is essentially different from the life outside it,” Munson said. “A woman’s right to control her reproductive destiny is a sacred thing.”
Speakers urged protestors to educate themselves, vote and continue to fight for their rights.