Eve Thompson-Brown, left, speaks to people Saturday after an abortion rights rally at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City. (Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com)
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SALT LAKE CITY — Eve Thompson-Brown, a 16-year-old, said a Roe vs. Wade coup would put tens of millions of lives at risk as illegal abortions account for a significant portion of deaths from pregnancy. She argued that no one has the right to use a person’s body against their will.
She was one of more than an estimated 2,000 people who gathered at the state Capitol on Saturday to demonstrate in support of abortion rights and against a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that shows the court could ultimately rule Roe v. to fall Wade. Similar “Bans Off Our Bodies” rallies for intended parents have been held across the country or were scheduled for this weekend, including Saturday’s rallies in Logan, Ogden and Park City.
“We shouldn’t have to be here. We shouldn’t scream until our throats are sore, asking for the right to our own bodies,” Thompson-Brown said.
She claimed that Utah has “roughly zero” sex education, that health care is inaccessible to many people, and that there is a shortage of infant formula, yet the government is choosing to “force” infants into the world. “It will be decided by nine people, none of whom will be personally affected,” she said, referring to the Supreme Court justices.
The group chanted, “Our bodies, our lives, our right to choose,” “Two, four, six, eight, you can’t make us reproduce,” and “A fetus is not a baby, abortion is not murder, we are not incubators.”
Misha Pangasa, an OBGYN, told the crowd part of her job is to provide “safe, evidence-based abortion treatments,” and she said she was afraid providing that treatment could become illegal.
“To look someone in the eye, to see their suffering and to know and know that you are able to help them but your hands are tied is a truly soul-wrenching experience. And I have no doubt that people who have these horrendously restrictive laws are simply privileged to turn a blind eye to this suffering,” she said.
Planned Parenthood CEO Karrie Galloway encouraged people at the rally to reach out to family, friends, co-workers and doorsteps to talk about abortion.
She said a poll she commissioned this year shows most Utahns believe 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 leak of the Roe vs. Wade decision had many politicians, but she wanted to make sure minorities were represented at the rally.
She said a Utah abortion law that would go into effect if Roe v. Repealing Wade and making many abortions illegal in the state is “a very ambiguous law.” Pinkney said that although the law has exceptions for rape, incest and a mother’s health, it doesn’t explain how a woman would show such categories apply.
“Putting someone’s health on trial is kind of scary,” she said.
Pinkney said it scared her that the criminal justice system could become entangled in health care and that it would make women across the country “second-class citizens,” especially if convicted of having an abortion.
She encouraged people to find ways to get involved, donate to an abortion fund, come to a rally, or speak to neighbors and family.
“Even if 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.