SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – On Saturday, hundreds of people marched for women’s reproductive rights in Salt Lake City. The march is held annually, however, this year it is held in response to Texas’ recent ban on abortions.
Guest speakers were present at the event, including Utah State Representative Angela Romero, Black Lives Matter Utah President Rae Duckworth, and ACLU representatives Nikila Venugopal and Valentina De Fex.
Utah women gathered in Washington Square Park on Saturday, October 2 and planned to challenge lawmakers to protect a woman’s right to choose. The march started at Washington Square Park in downtown Salt Lake City and ended at the Utah State Capitol.
“We have formed a petition that we are going to be sending to our governor,” march organizer Selina Holmes told ABC4. “We won’t stand for any of our rights to be taken away.”
The march was sponsored by Planned Parenthood, Utah ERA Coalition, League of Women Voters of Utah, Equality Utah, and the Women’s Democratic Club of Utah.
Texas’ abortion ban, called Senate Bill 8, bans abortions once heart activity is detected in the fetus which is usually around six weeks. That is a time before most women know they are pregnant. The law took effect on September 1 and it has had lasting effects on abortion providers in Texas, causing women to go to neighboring states to have abortions
In Utah, the law allows abortions in case of rape or incest but not under other circumstances. It requires women to wait 72 hours before the procedure and after an informed consent session. Utah, along with 11 other states, joined Mississippi in asking the Supreme Court and its mostly conservative judges to overturn Roe v. Wade. Opponents of abortion lauded the Texas law.
“Absolutely thrilled with this decision,” said Merrilee Boyack, Abortion-Free Utah Coalition Chairman, after the Texas ruling. She also said people are beginning to shift their views when it comes to unborn children.
“People are realizing that those babies are real human beings,” Boyack said. “We are seeing them at younger and younger ages [and] I think this law honors that.”
Meanwhile, others differ with the Texas ruling.
“Since S.B. 8 took effect on September 1, exactly what we feared would happen has come to pass,” Melaney Linton, president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said in a court filing.
Women in Texas have to travel to other states to have them performed. According to an Associated Press article from September 14, one woman traveled 1,000 miles to Colorado for an abortion. Others are going to New Mexico. Houston clinics are now down to doing a few abortions compared to doing more than a hundred in a typical day.