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Hundreds rally at Utah Capitol to protest abortion bans in the state and around the country

This article originally appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune. Read it in its entirety here.

More than 300 people joined a rally at the Utah Capitol on Tuesday as part of a national movement to oppose abortion bans passed by state legislatures attempting to challenge the 1973 Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.

“We must stop these bans; we must stop the mayhem,” Karrie Galloway, Planned Parenthood of Utah executive director, said to loud cheers.

The enthusiastic crowd — filled with young people, mostly women and girls — whooped and raised homemade signs with sayings such as “Abortion saves lives,” “My body, my choice” and “Keep your laws out of my uterus.”

States have passed 16 abortion restrictions or bans so far this year — including two in Utah. Several states have passed laws that, if upheld by courts, would essentially outlaw abortions entirely.

“These bans are not about the unborn,” Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said. “These bans are about guilting women into submission.”

Romero recounted how Republican colleagues during discussion of Utah’s bans on aborting a fetus after 18 weeks or solely because of a Down syndrome diagnosis used “dehumanizing” language. One said “a womb is not a tomb,” she said. Another compared the time a woman would be allowed to obtain an abortion under the 18-week law to an NFL season.

The lawmakers pushing these restrictions are “pro-birth; they’re not pro-life,” she said, pointing to the lack of child care for working women and the lack of access to health care.

Katie Matheson, of the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah, said state lawmakers often like to tout innovative approaches to problems as “the Utah way.”

But “telling a woman she is not in control of her body is not the Utah way,” Matheson said, denouncing the state’s abortion bills as “political, manipulative and fear-based.”

This article originally appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune. Read it in its entirety here.

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