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March for Life Utah
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Utahns host March for Life parade as senators present national legislation

January 30, 2021: Organizers say 300 cars paraded from the State Capitol to Sandy in this year's March for Life demonstration. Photo credit: Jessica Spackman

SALT LAKE CITY — Organizers say that over 300 cars traveled from the Utah Capitol down to 9000 South on State Street Saturday in a First Amendment protest against abortion called March for Life.

The parade marked Pro-Life Utah’s 6th annual March for Life. However, it was somewhat transformed this year, organizers said, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In past years, Pro-Life Utah would begin the protest in the Capitol Rotunda, followed by a march around the city streets forming a block around the Utah Capitol building.

March for Life organizers overwhelmed

“I am overwhelmed seeing so many from our community show up to celebrate life,” said Mary Kelsch, CFO of Pro-Life Utah, in a statement. “The pro-life movement is thriving and this turnout is a testament to the fact that we are not going away.”

Organizers said they were joined this year by state legislators as well as Utah Reps. Blake Moore and Burgess Owens — the latter tweeting his pro-life message yesterday.

Leading the car parade was what organizers call an ultrasound van: a vehicle that will eventually be part of the organizations’ efforts to offer free ultrasounds, abortion counseling and other free resources. Organizers hope to utilize it once they have sufficient funding, staffing and equipment. 

Photo credit: Jessica Spackman

“Today we raised awareness of the 3,000 lives ended by abortion in Utah annually,” said Deanna Holland, executive director of Pro-Life Utah. “It is our goal that, one day, abortion will be abolished in Utah.”

Utah lawmakers introduce national pro-life legislation during March for Life

Sen. Mike Lee

On Friday, the same day as the national March for Life, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced several pieces of pro-life legislation:

  • The Abortion is not Health Care Act amends Section 213 of the Internal Revenue Code to prohibit elective abortion expenses from being considered eligible for a medical expense deduction.  
  • The Protecting Life in Health Savings Accounts Act amends the Internal Revenue Code to explicitly prevent abortions from receiving a tax-advantage through the use of these accounts.
  • The Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act would ensure that U.S. foreign aid does not fund or promote abortions overseas.

In a normal year, tens of thousands of Americans would be marching down Constitution Ave today. This year the #MarchForLife will instead be virtual. We cannot heal and unite if we do not honor and respect all of the American people – born, and unborn.

Sen. Mitt Romney 

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined several other U.S. senators who reintroduced legislation called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would protect unborn children at 20 weeks after fertilization.

“We must enact policies that protect the lives of our children, both born and unborn,” Romney said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to prohibit abortions at 20 weeks, the point at which scientific evidence suggests an unborn child is able to feel pain.”

Abortion bills in the 2021 Utah legislative session

Utah lawmakers have introduced two bills in the 2021 legislative session dealing with abortion.  One, sponsored by Rep. Brady Brammer, would tie biological fathers to paying half of a mother’s pregnancy costs (not covered by insurance).

Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Christiansen, would require women to confirm that they had completed Utah’s pre-abortion program before having an abortion. The online course is already a requirement. Christiansen’s bill would add a penalty if a woman said she’d gone the woman had gone through the program but really hadn’t.