ST. GEORGE — Thursday marked the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in 1973, decreeing that an existing state statute violated a woman’s right to privacy during the first trimester of pregnancy. The law remains a largely debated topic between opposing sides.
Anti-abortion, or pro-life, and pro-abortion rights, or pro-choice, supporters took to the sidewalks of St. George Thursday to spread awareness and to promote their individual stances on the issue.
To watch videocast, click the play arrow in the center of the image the top of the story
At 11 a.m., at the intersection of St. George Boulevard and River Road, Democratic Party member Dorothy Engelman was present to show support for the pro-choice stance.
“I really think that our thing here today is not about abortion,” Engelman said. “It’s about a woman’s choice.”
According to Planned Parenthood, there are currently only two licensed abortion clinics in Utah, both located in Salt Lake County. There is also a 72-hour waiting period for any woman considering an abortion, Engelman said.
Across town on Bluff Street Thursday night, a peaceful demonstration was staged by pro-life proponents in front of Planned Parenthood.
“I think there’s a lot of alternatives (to abortion),” anti-abortion demonstrator Lisa Valadez said. “I don’t think there is an unwanted child. There’s so many people that can’t have children, and it’s a sad thing that there are actually people that are having abortions.”
Members of the Desert Ridge Baptist Church were present to show their support for unborn children who, they believe, are unable to speak for themselves.
“I don’t consider myself a political activist,” Desert Ridge Baptist Church member and anti-abortion demonstrator Michael Waldrop said. “I’m called to be a preacher of the gospel … the Bible teaches that God forms babies in the womb, and so they really belong to him.”
Pro-choice supporter Jack Bevelaqua took the opportunity to address other issues he said exist in the state, as well.
“It’s important that Utah get in step with the rest of the country,” Bevelaqua said. “Utah Legislature is not very friendly towards women’s rights. I’m here supporting a woman’s right to choose and a woman’s right to equal pay.”
For many years, Utah has had some of the lowest abortion rates in the country among women ages 15-44 years old. According to statistics from Guttmacher Institute, an organization that endeavors to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights, between 2008 and 2011, the abortion rate in the state decreased by 21 percent, representing only 0.3 percent of all U.S. abortions.
Videocast by St. George News videographer Leanna Bergeron
Ed. note: The term pro-abortion has been changed in this report to pro-choice in connection with Engelman’s statements, at her request.
- Hatch decries Roe v. Wade during Senate floor speech
- Letter to the Editor: Stand for Life Gathering, anniversary of Roe v Wade; invitation to assemble
- Letter to the Editor: Affirmation of Choice Gathering, anniversary of Roe v Wade; invitation to assemble
- Sen. Lee introduces resolution to review illegal abortion practices – 2013
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