Stop the bans

Earlier this week I was honored to have been asked to speak at a rally hosted by Planned Parenthood, the theme of which was, “Stop the [abortion] Bans.” This rally was a part of a national day of action in response to the recent slew of anti-abortion laws that have been enacted in some states. I’ve transcribed my speech below.

“Thank you for being here. I stand here as a woman who has had a miscarriage. I stand here as the mother of two small children. I stand here as a woman who is in full control of my body, regardless of what politicians try to tell me.

“A part of my job… I am the communications director for Alliance for a Better Utah… a part of my job is spending the 45 day legislative session in these rooms watching, and listening to what goes on. One of the things that we hear a lot here is the ‘Utah way.’ ‘We want to do this the Utah way.’ No one has ever really defined for me what the ‘Utah way’ is, but I can extrapolate that it means compromise, it means a new way forward, it means… whatever the speaker wants it to mean at that moment. But here is what I can tell you today. These bans… this law that was just passed in this last legislative session, is not the ‘Utah way.’

“What the Legislature did this past session is political, it is manipulative, and it is fear-based. That is not the ‘Utah way.’ We aspire to greatness and this is not that. Telling a woman that she has no control over her body… that is not the ‘Utah way.’

“So listen, I know it doesn’t feel like it, but this is an amazing opportunity. Not just for you, but for our Legislature. This is an opportunity for amazing change. We know that abortions will never stop. If you make them completely illegal they will not stop. But if you want to create a world in which there are fewer abortions then you need to create a world in which they are not needed.

“And what that means… that means fully available contraceptives. That means comprehensive sex ed. That means healthcare for every single Utahn. And that means actual pro-life policies which include things like universal childcare. That is the Utah way.

“Our Legislature abdicated their moral authority to lead on this issue when they passed this. And listen, it’s not just the Legislature. It’s not just 2020 that matters. This year you have municipal elections–that’s local elections–city council… Riverton just passed an anti-choice resolution. You need to be organizing now. You need to be getting into your communities and walking the streets for city council members who will promise not to pass these resolutions. So this year get involved. Don’t wait until next year.

“Now I want to lead you in a really weird chant that I hope you will remember for the rest of your lives, ok? We have a sign up here that will help us… where is it?

“L-E-dot-Utah-dot-Gov []. Right there– L-E-dot-Utah-dot-Gov [chanted three times].

“That’s how you find who represents you in the State House and State Senate. Go home and email them today and say, ‘no more bans.’ Thank you.”

In March 2019, the Utah Legislature passed a bill which would make abortion (except for in certain instances) illegal after 18 weeks. This bill is unconstitutional and a lawsuit against the state was announced before the ink in Governor Herbert’s bill-signing pen was even dry (thanks for paying for that lawsuit, Utah taxpayers). The Legislature also passed a bill which would prohibit abortion if the woman’s reasoning was that the fetus had down syndrome. This bill is technically unconstitutional, but the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, incorporated a trigger which means this bill will only go into effect if Roe v. Wade is repealed. So no lawsuits on that bill.

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