The U.S. Supreme Court made abortion legal in the United States 44 years ago, and abortion opponents across the nation have marched to protest that ruling every year since. Utah was an exception to that tradition -- until Saturday.
Marchers gathered in the frigid morning air outside the City County Building in downtown Salt Lake. Small pink and blue flags in the frozen lawn represented the 3,200 abortions in Utah each year.
“I think people are starting to realize it’s a human rights issue more than anything else,” said Anna Deyhle of Provo. “It’s human rights.”
Utah’s first-ever March for Life ended at the State Capitol, where speakers rallied for an end to abortion. Mary Taylor urged around 500 protestors to make their voices heard.
“It is so important,” she said, “that you call your legislators that you write your legislators in support of pro-life bills.”
Taylor founded Prolife Utah, which organized Saturday’s event. Speaking to Saturday’s crowd, she advocated for legislation. One bill to change the state’s informed consent law to include what activists call “abortion reversal.” Another would outlaw abortions in Utah after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Current law bans abortions after 22 weeks.
Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, sees an important role for abortion opponents. But she objects to their efforts to cut off funding for health services her agency provides.
“We have a conscience,” she said in an interview, “and we believe women need help and we are going to be able to be there to provide it for them should they choose to ask.”
Planned Parenthood celebrated the Roe versus Wade ruling on Friday.