The State Capitol Building was filled with hundreds of pro-life marchers for the fourth annual March for Life Utah on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 26.
The event, organized by Pro-Life Utah, follows several other pro-life events from around the nation — most notably the National March for Life that took place on Jan. 18 in Washington D.C. These protests take place as the country passes the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the monumental Supreme Court decision that continues to be one of the most divisive issues in modern American politics. March for Life Utah is the largest pro-life event in the state, bringing several movement leaders as well as local lawmakers in attendance.
Following the march around the Capitol, the event featured rallying speakers inside of the building. Particular focus was on the upcoming legislative session in Utah, where present legislators vowed to place Utah on the frontlines of passing anti-abortion bills this year.
“Utah has the highest birthrate in the nation, and we have always been a family-friendly state,” said Utah House Rep. Cheryl Acton, R-West Jordan. “We should be at the front demanding safety for women and children.“ Acton will be introducing House Bill 136, a proposal that would ban all abortions in Utah after 15 weeks gestation, with the exceptions of rape, incest, the life of the mother being at stake and fatal fetal defects. This proposal would give Utah one of the strictest abortion regulations in the nation.
“Other states like New York or California are able to create the kind of legislation they want, but Utah, because of the restrictions of Roe v. Wade, is unable to create abortion laws that hold up to the will of our people,” Acton said. Currently, Utah allows exception-free abortions up to 20-22 weeks.
Several lawsuits have already been threatened if the bill is passed. Similar legislation passed in other states have been struck down by their courts. It is the hope of many anti-abortion activists that such legal disputes may be able to reach the U.S. Supreme Court as a challenge to Roe v. Wade.
The event also provided information through booths and pamphlets advertising further volunteer opportunities as well as detailed instructions for contacting local state and federal legislators. “We spend a lot of time in Washington D.C. talking about rights,” said U.S. House Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah. “All sorts of rights, but none of those rights matter if we do not have the right to life.”
Other highlights of the event included speeches from three women pro-life activists who spoke about their own experiences as mothers and activists against abortion. Also included as part of the rally was a showing of a trailer for the untitled Roe v. Wade film starring Jon Voight, set to be released later this year.
“It’s been a good year for the pro-life movement,” said Pro-Life Utah president Mary Taylor at the event. The atmosphere surrounding the rally demonstrated a motivated movement on state and national levels looking to carry political momentum into 2019.