On the morning of October 2, a thousand people gathered around Washington Square to protest the current abortion ban in Texas and across the country. Across the country, more than 650 marches were held with more than 40,000 people.
As people started walking down State Street, they chanted “My body, my choice”, joined by the voices of others shouting “Their bodies their choice”, “Separate church and state” and “Stand up. , fight back ”.
Robin Young, a University of Utah major in communications and economics, went for the walk with her mother, sister and grandmother. During the walk, Young said she felt a sense of community and was surprised to see so much support.
“Sometimes, especially as a woman, it’s easy to feel lonely,” she said. “It was really cool to be able to feel a little less lonely today.”
Young said the abortion rights movement is not an isolated issue.
“It’s really related to the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s related to the Trans Lives Matter movement, and it’s all combined,” Young said. “This is part of a larger, more pervasive and pervasive systematic problem that only bites our national community and certainly plagues our local community. “
Young believes in walking for the rights of future generations.
“I can only hope that in 56 years I won’t have to walk to the Utah Capitol again,” she said.
Purpose of the march
Selina, one of the organizers of the event who wished to keep her last name anonymous, said it was important to speak out on controversial issues. She said the general purpose of the march was to reflect on the “nightmare in Texas” in reference to the recently passed bill that restricts abortion rights.
“Last year I looked for a walk and couldn’t find one,” she said. “I saw that every state had one and I put a set.”
She said there is value in having the right to an abortion.
Selina went on to say that people are never alone. She spoke about the complications associated with sharing her story and how isolated a woman’s experience can be. She encouraged others not to be afraid of their stories and to find a community of women like hers.
“The main goal is not to end up like Texas,” she said. “We want to educate other women and express that you are not alone.”
In addition to protesting, Selina said there were places to donate such as Planned Parenthood.
During the march, speeches were held in Washington Square Park and the Capitol.
Speakers Nikila Venugopal, director of campaigns for ACLU Utah, and Valentina De Fex, lawyer at ACLU Utah, opened the speeches.
They said abortion is a right that should be legal and free in all communities, saying the issue goes beyond health care alone.
“This is a systemic problem,” Venugopal said.
De Fex translated the speech into Spanish, adding his own thoughts and ideas in both languages.
“From the streets of Salt Lake to the Capitol, to the courtroom, we will not stop fighting for our rights,” she said.
Rae Duckworth, President of Black Lives Matter Utah, spoke about the racial barriers Planned Parenthood understands and helps overcome. She shared her experience with Planned Parenthood after having a miscarriage.
“Health care is essential,” Duckworth said.
Joscelynne Mendoza, project manager for the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault, discussed the access needed by poor communities.
“As an immigrant in this country, I see that others do not have the same rights and the same equity in health,” she said. “Health equity is achieved when everyone has the opportunity to reach their full health potential and no one is disadvantaged in achieving that potential because of their social position or other socially disruptive circumstances. “.
She described the importance of health equity in relation to sexual violence and highlighted the commonality of sexual violence.
Concluding the speeches in Washington Square Park, Deja Gaston and Denise Weaver, from the Salt Lake City chapter of the Socialism and Liberation Party, spoke.
“The right-wing Supreme Court has refused to prevent the Texas SB 08 abortion bill from coming into force, giving it an unofficial seal of approval and showing that Roe v. Wade is no longer enough,” he said. said Weaver.
Weaver said the abortion ban only increases unhealthy and unsafe abortions, especially among the poor and working-class. She expressed the importance of family planning for this community beyond women’s sexual health, but also transgender mental health and their ability to undergo gender-affirming surgeries.
“Our rights as human beings are not being debated by Republicans and we are not bargaining for re-election by Democrats,” Gaston said. “We must prepare for a long, difficult battle in defense of reproductive rights. “
After a nine-block march on State Street, protesters gathered on the steps of the Capitol, flooding the stairs to the south entrance for the second round of speeches.
Representative Angela Romero started the speeches there.
“I want you to know that you have a voice here [at the Capitol]”Romero said,” We are here. We may be small, but we are fighting a good fight.
She said that abortion is a woman’s right and that there are lawmakers who listen to it.
Brandy Farmer, president of the Utah Women’s Lobby, highlighted the marginalization of immigrant women, including the medical neglect experienced by this community. Farmer said that when a person chooses not to be vaccinated, they do not judge and expect to receive the same treatment in response to the right to abortion.
“They choose to do what they have to do for their bodies,” she said.
Obstetrician and gynecologist Misha Pangasa and Planned Parenthood Utah President Karie Galloway explained that abortion care is only a small part of the full spectrum of health care.
“We are here to serve all of the people of Utah,” Galloway said.
Pangasa expressed a sense of duty involving the struggle for reproductive rights.
“I didn’t become a doctor to fight. I didn’t become a doctor to be a political activist, ”Pangasa said. “But it has become exhausting to watch the patients I care for being marginalized, stigmatized and humiliated by politics and medicine – the structures that were supposed to protect them.”
She said she has a duty to act as an impartial individual in the medical community, but loopholes in the system raise barriers that add to the shame of abortion.
“Abortion care is health care and cannot be known by any other name,” she said.
Moreover, she said, until a person truly understands an individual’s difficulties, there is no place to judge.
Galloway said the majority of the Utahns don’t want Roe v. Wade disappears. She said Utah is also in danger here.
“No one should have to justify an abortion,” she said. “No one should be humiliated, soaked in the stigma of others.”