SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Several hundred people gathered in the Utah state Capitol Tuesday afternoon to join a nationwide protest against abortion bans being passed around the country.
“My body, my choice!” chants caught the attention of lawmakers and others.
Parents with babies strapped to their chest and teenagers who left school early to attend the protest stood on the rotunda floor and passed around markers to make posters championing abortion rights.
“Roses are red, violets are blue, I know what’s best for my body, not politicians like you!” one poster read.
The demonstration was one of many across the nation to protest new state laws targeting abortion rights. They range from an outright ban in Alabama to bans on abortion after six weeks.
Tuesday’s protest comes as Utah grapples with its own abortion laws. Legislators recently passed a ban on abortions after 18 weeks but have agreed not to enforce it as a court challenge plays out.
A coalition of abortion rights organizations including Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and Women’s March worked with community organizers to plan the event.
Salt Lake City resident Elizabeth Miller said the ramped-up rhetoric against abortions by some legislators spurred her to organize the event. “It’s an assault on women’s rights, it diminishes a woman’s fundamental ability to make decisions that are best for themselves and their children,” she said.
Democratic Rep. Angela Romero told the group she supports repealing bans on abortion. She said Republican colleagues debating the legislation used “dehumanizing” language.
One counter-protester, Deanna Holland, stood to the side of the room with an anti-abortion sign urging people to care for fetuses. “I want to represent unborn, and give them a voice at this rally,” she said.