Eve Thompson-Brown, left, talks to people after an abortion rights rally at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday. (Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com)
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SALT LAKE CITY — Sixteen-year-old Eve Thompson-Brown said upsetting Roe against Wade would put tens of millions of lives at risk, since illegal abortions cause a significant share of pregnancy-related deaths. She maintained that no one has the right to use a person’s body against their will.
She was one of more than 2,000 people gathered at the state Capitol on Saturday to rally in favor of abortion rights and against a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that shows the court may finally rule. to quash Roe v. Wade. Similar Planned Parenthood “Bans Off Our Bodies” rallies have been held across the country or are planned for this weekend, including Saturday rallies in Logan, Ogden and Park City.
“We shouldn’t have to be here. We shouldn’t be screaming until our throats are raw begging for the right to our own bodies,” Thompson-Brown said.
She claimed that there is “virtually no” sex education in Utah, health care is not accessible to many people, and there is a shortage of infant formula, but the government chooses to “force” infants into the world. “It’s being decided by nine people, none of whom will be personally affected by this,” she said, referring to Supreme Court justices.
The group chanted: “Our bodies, our lives, our right to decide”, “Two, four, six, eight, you can’t procreate us” and “A fetus is not a baby, abortion does not is not murder, we are not incubators.”
Misha Pangasa, an OBGYN, told the crowd that part of her job is to provide “safe, evidence-based abortion care,” and she said she was terrified that the provision of such care may become illegal.
“To look someone in the eye, to see and know their suffering, and to know that you have the ability to help them but your hands are tied is a truly heartbreaking experience. And I have no doubt that the people who make these laws horribly restrictive simply have the privilege of turning a blind eye to this suffering,” she said.
Planned Parenthood CEO Karrie Galloway encouraged rally attendees to reach out to family, friends, co-workers and go door-to-door to talk about abortion.
She said a poll she commissioned this year shows most Utahans think pregnancy decisions should be made by the pregnant person.
South Salt Lake City Councilwoman Natalie Pinkney organized the rally. She said the first “reactionary rally” against the Roe vs. Wade ruling leak had a lot of politicians, but she wanted to make sure this rally had minority representation.
She said a Utah abortion law that would go into effect if Roe v. Wade was overruled, making many abortions illegal in the state, is “a very ambiguous law.” Pinkney said that although the law provides exceptions for rape, incest and maternal health, it does not explain how a woman would show that such categories apply.
“Putting someone’s health into the justice system is kind of scary,” she said.
Pinkney said it made her fear the criminal justice system could get so involved in health care and that it would make women “second-class citizens” across the country, especially if they’re convicted of having an abortion.
She encouraged people to find ways to get involved, donating to an abortion fund, coming to a rally or talking to neighbors and family.
“Even when protests and rallies stop, as they finally did in 2020, the work doesn’t stop, the legislation doesn’t stop, the movements don’t stop,” Pinkney said. .