Transcript of Roe v. Wade Protest (May 5th, 2022)

At the protest in support of Roe v. Wade at the Utah State Capitol, an estimated 1,500 supporters gathered to show their support for women’s right to choose and our right to privacy. During the Capitol portion of the protest, ten speakers gave speeches in front of a cheering, excited crowd, with a massive group hug during a performance of Lady Gaga's "Til it Happens To You," setting off the march to Washington Square.

List of Speakers

Nizhoni: Ceremonial Dance

MC: Mikah

Speakers are listed in order:

1. Alex

2. Eremiah

3. Pog

4. Olivia

5. Laura

6. Tziporah

7. Magnolia

8. Mikah

9. Even

10. Devin

11. Dean

Singers: Talia & Cadie

May 5th, 2022 Transcript of the Roe v. Wade Protest at the Utah State Capitol (excluding the march that followed).

Nizhoni: Ceremonial Dance

The protest officially began at 4 PM with a ceremonial dance led by indigenous artist Nizhoni, with many protesters joining in for a chain dance. At this point, there were an estimated 300-400 protesters present at the UT State Capitol.

The MC, Mikah, took the stage after the dance. The following is the short introductory speech Mikah gives.

Mikah: Introductory Speech

Mikah: Good afternoon Salt Lake City. My name is Mikah, and I will be MCing this protest. Now that we got our bodies moving a little bit, we got a little bit more involved with each other as a community.

I just wanna start with a chant. When they say ‘no choice’ we say ‘pro-choice’. Ready? If they say ‘no choice’ we say [crowd chants] pro-choice!

We’re gonna have some speakers today, let me just pull up my list, give me a second [crowd cheers]. The first of our speakers is Alex. So Alex, do you wanna come up here and get started?

The first speaker, Alex, then took the stage in front of the Capitol after loud applause and cheers from the crowd.

First Speaker: Alex

Alex: How’s everyone doing today? [crowd cheers] Thank you for coming. I'm so happy to see so many familiar faces. If you don’t know me, my name is Alex. I’m nineteen years-old. Barely figuring myself out yet there are people trying to control MY BODY and also MY RIGHTS while also not knowing who I am. I hate how that is one of my biggest worries right now. I should be worried about school. I work full time, I’m worried about the Earth, I have different preoccupations yet here I am at this protest speaking and that makes me angry. [crowd cheers]

There are people trying to control the rights of anyone who can get pregnant without knowing who they are. That should make everyone angry. The reason someone terminates a pregnancy is not your business. It’s not your friends’ business. It’s not your family’s business. And it is most definitely not the government’s business. [crowd cheers]

What do pro-lifers mean when they say pro-life? Because it seems clear to me that they aren’t concerned with the life of the person who was pregnant! [crowd cheers] A pregnant person’s life can be in danger by going through with the pregnancy whether that be medically, physically, or financially. The pregnancy can be a result of rape, or assault. Say the pregnancy is brought to term by someone who does not want the child. Are we still pro-their-life? Or what if the person is still in high school and cannot afford to take care of the child? Are we still pro-that-life? If you only care about the child then what about that child’s life? [crowd cheers]

Banning abortion only bans safe abortions [crowd cheers]. It is a procedure that is needed to be done by a medical professional and if that choice is taken away think of all the people that would resort to harmful methods of abortion that could be lethal. How is that pro-life? [crowd cheers] Not everyone can afford to fly to another state or even another country just for a medical procedure to be done safely. What about the people who are poor? What about immigrants? What about prisoners and orphans and the people who can barely stand because of how sick they are? [crowd cheers]

You’re pro-life until the baby is gay. You’re pro-life until the baby is sick. You’re pro-life until the baby is [unintelligible as crowd roars with cheers and applause]. Most importantly, you’re pro-life until the baby has to fight for their rights too. [crowd cheers]. It is no longer pro-life, it is anti-choice. Everyone deserves the choice to do what they want with their own bodies. I deserve that choice, you deserve that choice, my friends deserve that choice, my family deserves that choice, we ALL DESERVE THAT CHOICE! [crowd cheers] I’m angry, we are angry, we are here today because we are angry. Bans off our bodies! Thank you! [crowd cheers]

Mikah: Thank you so much Alex! Next up we have Ermaiah speaking! [crowd cheers]

Second Speaker: Ermaiah

Ermiah: We are here today because the agency of all people who need an abortion is yet again under attack! The people’s struggle is a force in this world and a direct threat to the misogynists in elected office that cannot be stopped by a few court rulings or a few incompetent dinosaurs in office! [crowd cheers]

To the Supreme Court of the United States, to a right wing agenda that has now been amped up: you can try to create as many barriers as you please but there will always be a million women and trans people to tear them down! [crowd cheers] We will stop the Supreme Court’s war on women and trans people! [crowd cheers] When I say people you say power. People [crowd] power! (repeats three times)

If you threaten reproductive agency in this country, a country that claims to prioritize freedom, then don’t be shocked when we take this fight to the streets!

The ones who came before us, many of whom have to stand here again today, fought for Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade was not handed to us on a silver platter! [crowd cheers] Roe v. Wade was won by the people’s struggle. The lack of action coming from the White House and Congress is a disturbance to the fight those women and trans people endured to get us here. How many of us have to take the streets? How many of us have to die? How many of us have to be unjustly criminalized for the United States to recognize the urgent necessity of reproductive freedom? [crowd cheers]

The only thing that can get us to tomorrow is the power of our collective. When the mass people’s struggle makes noise it does so in order to move us to a place where gender-based violence and a lack of basic necessities are a concern of the past. This means we are in favor of life in all of the ways that actually matter.

How can you claim you are pro-life when you are quick to remove all of our basic necessities needed to live? The reality, one that right wingers cannot grasp and come to terms with, is that we need housing, we need healthcare, we need food and water, we need education, we need reproductive freedom! [crowd cheers] And we need it all to be affordable, acceptable, and free! You are not pro-life if you have put a price tag on our lives! [crowd cheers]

Poor and working class women and trans people make society run and it is time for us to run society! [crowd cheers] Make no mistake, the two parties in office simply do not care about our betterment either. The elected officials that we have been left with are deeply driven by corporations and capitalist greed and have completely failed the fight for reproductive justice in this country! [crowd cheers] This is to both Republicans AND Democrats! [crowd cheers]

President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, you have every ability to introduce executive orders that would secure abortions and fundamental rights but you have completely failed! [crowd cheers] You are in office twiddling your thumbs as women and trans people are under threat! [crowd cheers] Sisters, brothers, and nonbinary siblings, it is important to remember where power lies and it does not lie with the courts! The power is with us, the people. It is clear that there is popular support for people’s right to choose, and it is even more clear that we will never be able to secure this right unless we take the streets! [crowd cheers]

The elitist Supreme Court is threatening a war on women and trans people’s rights and the only force capable of putting a stop to them is the people of the United States mobilizing and organizing to defend our rights! [crowd cheers] The only way we will win is through a militant mass movement for our collective struggle. All power to the people and thank you! [crowd cheers]

Mikah: Alright up next speaking we have Pog if you’re ready! [crowd cheers]

Third Speaker: Pog

Pog: Hello! [crowd: Hi!] I am scared of public speaking [crowd cheers] but the fear of a crowd is remarkably miniscule compared to the daunting path of this future. I am eighteen years old, just graduated high school, and I’m on my way to college. I should be excited for the future, but instead, I am scared. I am scared that without my consent, without my decision and my input my future can no longer be controlled by me or my body. I am scared. I am scared that if I, or my girlfriend, or my younger friends and cousins were to be assaulted, the way that they heal from that trauma would be controlled and once again the people of this country [would be] stripped of their consent. [crowd cheers]

I am scared. I am scared of how many amazing lives of young women and girls we are going to lose due to fatal procedures and preventable suicides. [crowd cheers] I am scared for the younger girls who don’t have to wear masks but do have to give birth. [crowd cheers] I stand here finding it difficult to catch the words worth describing and how it feels.

You must see how agonizing it is, how brutalizing and harrowing it is, how dehumanizing and barbaric it is. I am scared. I am sad and I am frustrated. We have been here before, we always come back over and over. We fight for our rights, our bodies, and our ability to survive. We are here again and we will not slip backwards in silence. [crowd cheers]

We are here. We are loud! [crowd cheers] We are here and we will keep fighting! [crowd cheers] We will continue to use our voices and our bodies how we please! [crowd cheers] And we will continue to just be here standing together. Thank you. [crowd cheers]

Mikah: How’s everyone doing out there? [crowd cheers] Alright, we got a couple more speakers and then we’ll take a little break for some chants and then we’ll go back to a couple more speakers. Next we have Olivia!

Fourth Speaker: Olivia

Olivia: Hi, I’m Olivia, and I’m nineteen years old. [crowd cheers] When I was fourteen I was sexually assaulted. The right to my bodily autonomy was cruelly taken away from me as a child and it is being done so again today. Luck would be my only escape from an unwanted pregnancy, luck. No person with a uterus should ever have to rely on luck to protect themselves. [unintelligible as crowd roars with cheers and applause]

I am so lucky that my assault did not result in an unwanted pregnancy because if it did abortion would be my only escape from a neverending nightmare, a nightmare that is becoming a reality for many. But make no mistake assault should not be where we draw the line. Every person that can get pregnant deserves the right to their own body, no matter what the reason, because taking away bodily autonomy is one of the cruelest things you can do to a person and I know that firsthand! [crowd cheers]

A person who’s been assaulted, a person with health complications, a person of color, a person who is underage, a person living in poverty, a person with children barely making ends meet, a person not yet ready to be a parent, a person who will die from carrying a pregnancy to term and a person with no other way out. And [because] it’s a country run by people who have no desire to help, many have no other way out. We are pro-people, we are the true pro-lifers here today! [crowd cheers] Those who stand here care about lives that are currently being lived and not unborn ones! [crowd cheers]

Lives that will be lost by denying abortion rights, dreams and aspirations that will be abandoned. Sixty-eight thousand people die every year from unsafe abortions. Sixty-eight thousand! And that will only skyrocket when we make safe abortions illegal, which is all the overturning of Roe v. Wade will do.

[It will] make abortions and other essential healthcare services inaccessible especially to the poor, especially to people of color, who’s maternal mortality rate is two to three times higher than those of white people’s.

This is no time to be passive and polite and to keep sweet, this is time to fight. How long do we go to be treated, not as second class citizens, but as people? Voting harder will not fix this. We already put them in office. Our president is a Democrat and they do nothing! [crowd cheers] It’s time for this country to recognize its first obligation is to the people, not the wealthy, white, Christian, or unborn! [crowd cheers]

Not to the thirty percent of people in this country who are anti-abortion but to the majority. What about the rest of us? Those in the thirty percent will paint us as baby murderers but in reality the whole argument of murder is a red herring. The only argument we need is that nobody has the right to use your body against your will. [crowd cheers] People die from being on waiting lists for organ donations yet we don’t accuse those who don’t donate as murderers.

This was never about the lives of children. If it were they would be concerned with healthcare and childcare. [crowd cheers] They would provide more things to the public. They can guarantee insurance, higher minimum wages. If they worried about the children, Republicans in Tennessee wouldn’t be currently trying to pass bills that would eliminate the age for child marriages. [crowd cheers]

I am begging everyone who cares about someone with a uterus to stand up and fight. And I am begging pro-lifers - which I don’t see many of today - so I guess that is well. I am begging pro-lifers to imagine themselves in a situation where abortion would be your only option. I am begging you to use your empathy for those who are getting abortions because nobody does them more fun. [crowd cheers]

We have a right to privacy, we have a right to choose what’s best for our bodies and we have a right to our own lives. The future is gender fluid and the future is us!

Mikah: One more speaker before we take a quick break for some chants to wake everyone up again. Come on up, Laura! Make some noise! [crowd cheers]

Fifth Speaker: Laura

Laura: I am here today because I believe in the power of choice and body autonomy. [crowd cheers] If Roe v. Wade is gone, who will they come after? There is a chant in Chile, as you have heard of the protests that have been happening, part of the chant says, ‘the rapist is not the person and the street is the state the police and the politicians are making decisions for us that we don’t want.’ [crowd cheers]

This is a very personal issue. 2019, I was faced with a decision of doing this myself as a single parent of two kids. And I did what was best for my family, for myself, and I don’t have to apologize to anybody or [unintelligible as crowd roars with cheers and applause]. And I have to tell you...

...Planned Parenthood was there for me. I didn’t feel alone, I felt cared for, and I felt empowered. Nobody shamed me, and I went forward to finish my education, continued to provide for my children as well because I took the procedure.

In Utah, politicians have failed us time and time again, oppressing women without [unintelligible]. That they have failed to also remind also the men and non-birthing people, we have our choice too. We don’t have to follow what they tell us all the time because the majority believes in this. And I have to remind you too, there are undocumented women, such as myself, that don’t speak English and don’t have access to healthcare. [crowd cheers] And there are also women getting raped at detention centers, and this is unacceptable! [crowd cheers] For them this is going to be a disaster, but no one talks about them too.

I am ashamed to live in a trigger state that claims to be pro-life when they pressure women to birth children and abandon them, their motherhood, by cutting essential things that they need [like] childcare and other resources and more work for them too. We gotta stand together, they have to stay out of our bodies, and again, like previous speakers said, we need to have empathy for people that, such as myself have had an abortion because we did not do it for fun. Thank you. [crowd cheers]

Mikah: Intermission Speech

Mikah: Thank you so much. Okay, we’re gonna take a break from the speeches just to get some chants going, but first: Who here came to this today because they cared about reproductive rights? [crowd cheers] Me too! Who here came from work today? [crowd cheers] Who’s already tired? [crowd cheers] We don’t get to be tired [crowd boos] Not tired enough, exactly, cause we showed up.

So, when they say ‘no choice’ we say [crowd] pro choice! One more time, when they say ‘no choice’ we say [larger crowd] pro-choice! Next we have Tziporah! [crowd cheers]

Sixth Speaker: Tziporah

Tziporah: I’m Jewish, I’m Latine, I’m nonbinary, and I’m fucking tired. [crowd cheers] I’m a writer first, so I’ve never actually given a speech before. Let’s travel back in time a bit, shall we? [crowd cheers]

In January of 2017 the Women’s March symbolized the collective protest of Donald Trump as U.S. president. This was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Donald Trump remained in power for his full term. [crowd: fuck Trump]

In 2018, protests against gun violence in the United States increased after a series of mass shootings, most notably at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School. An organized protest in the form of a national student walkout occurred on March 14th. March For Our Lives was held shortly after. No substantial federal gun reform has occurred since. [crowd boos]

In September of 2019 the climate strikes, also known as the global week for future, were a series of international strikes and protests to demand action be taken to address climate change. No substantial efforts for conservation, restoration, improved land management, or shift to renewable energy resources have been made. [crowd boos]

And you all definitely remember this one, in 2020, the George Floyd Protests were a series of protests and civil unrest against police brutality and racism that began in Minneapolis after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin. [crowd boos] I don’t know if y’all heard about this, but in 2022, this year, Chauvin has been granted a plea deal of 20-25 years in prison by federal judge Paul Magnuson. [crowd boos] There is still no substantial justice or reform for George Floyd and for other black and brown people who were murdered and continue to be murdered at the hands of police. [crowd boos]

We have tried for many, many years to justify our existence to our so-called leaders. We have been emotionally whiplashed by debates over Democrats versus Republicans, many defending one over the other without realizing they are two sides of the same fucking coin. [crowd cheers] We’ve been fed propaganda as facts, we’ve been left to die with scraps of money, inflation, and an impossible housing market, as a global pandemic uprooted whatever sense of ‘normal’ existed beneath a veil of false American hero narratives. [crowd cheers]

We’ve pleaded for sustainability and kindness towards this planet we call home, meanwhile politicians on both sides continue to receive money from big oil companies to fuel their campaigns. [Nizhoni: Fuck oil companies! They’re ruining Native American water, fuck them!] [crowd cheers] We took to the streets to abolish police after endless evidence of their abuse of power targeted towards black and brown folks, implored leaders to at least defund this abusive institution, all of which remains unheard of to this day. [crowd boos] And somehow, we’ve been convinced that the root of all issues lies within us, that we are lazy, buying too much avocado toast, using too many straws, and not voting hard enough. [crowd cheers]

Could we have voted our way out of an executive decision, led by predominantly old, cis, white men? [crowd cheers] Will rallying and pleading do anything but keep us a bit busy? It’s time we take things into our own hands. We cannot spend any more energy explaining ourselves to people who value money and power over human lives. [crowd cheers] We been shown time and time again that our leaders cannot be trusted and this legislation, like many others, will disproportionately affect people who are low-income, undocumented, black, brown, hispanic, indigenous, queer, and/or experiencing homelessness. [crowd cheers]

So what can we all tangibly do for each other, even if you are not a part of any of those communities, what can we do to each other, for each other, when all hope feels lost?

Aid Access offers a service where medical providers prescribe abortion pills to keep in your medicine cabinet. [crowd cheers] Stock up on those for yourself, for your neighbor, for anyone in your community who may need it and have access to a safe abortion.

Donate to Utah Abortion Fund, who funds abortion access, including transportation, and helps keep abortion safe and accessible to all. [crowd cheers]

We have done so great at mobilizing and I see it from everyone who’s come out here and it’s so fucking beautiful to see all the support and passion and rage. [crowd cheers] We’ve done such a great job! And with that said, we cannot let our momentum become lost in our passionate yet short lived demonstrations of rage.

True power lies in collective organization and in times of despair we must not forget to make tangible efforts to protect, plan, and fight for one another.

The government has tricked us into thinking that all change must happen through them, and this is done intentionally to keep us fearful and complacent. [crowd cheers] What if our hope was not channeled towards a government that continuously fails us, but rather toward each other and our ability to advocate for the physical, emotional, and mental autonomy of all people? [crowd cheers] As Hannah Arendt once wrote, “Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil, and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there, and that is the banality of evil.” [crowd cheers]

We must examine these laws, norms, and structures, with great criticism. We must undermine unfair legislation, discreetly yet fearlessly, not because we’re criminals but because we are human. [crowd cheers] And we must protect the basic rights of all people by any means necessary. Thank you. [crowd cheers]

Mikah: Counter-Protester Safety Reminder

Mikah: Thank you so much for that. As a friendly reminder, I just want to let everyone know that if any counter protesters do come today to try and antagonize us, we will ignore them, [crowd cheers] we will walk away, [crowd cheers] we will chant louder than they can, [crowd cheers] because we are greater than they are. [crowd cheers] We are here because we care about our bodies and our community, they are here because they care about an imaginary man in the sky. [crowd cheers] If they say ‘no choice’, we say [crowd: pro-choice]! That’s what I thought. Up next, we have Magnolia speaking! [crowd cheers]

Seventh Speaker: Magnolia

Magnolia: My name is Magnolia, I’m sixteen years old, I’m Mexican, and I’m here for the fight for my future, basically, cause what politician thinks they can control us? [crowd roars, unintelligible] My body, my choice, a term first coined by feminists in 1969, three years before the monumental case of Roe v. Wade happened. That was fifty years ago. It is absurd and ridiculous that we are still here, fifty years later, still fighting the same fight for basic rights and equality! [crowd roars, unintelligible]

This phrase serves the same exact purpose as it did back in ‘69, reminding politicians that we are our people, that we have a right to do what we want with our bodies! [crowd cheers] They see us as pawns [livestream cuts out], lesser than them, and that we don’t realize what exactly it is that they are doing, but we know! We know that we are not animals, or that we are lesser than them, we know that we are our own people, with our own autonomies, something that they are supposed to protect as legislators! [crowd cheers]

The only thing that overturning Roe v. Wade is going to do is return us to the dark ages. The dark ages where a mother with an ectopic pregnancy has to choose between her life or potentially going to jail and leaving her kids and husband behind. The dark ages where a persons struggling to find their place in the world and lacks the proper resources to raise a child has to choose between their mental, physical, financial, everything help, or, permanent, physical harm from an underground abortion. The dark ages where a little girl who is raped by her own father will have to choose between giving birth to her abuser’s child or the death penalty.

They think that they are taking away our choice of what we can do with our bodies for the sake of a potential life, but they are only taking away the safe choice, and they are forcing harm on an already existing life. [crowd cheers] My body, my choice, is not much of a choice for the children who are forced to come into this world to live through miserable conditions. [crowd cheers] They tell us to just give it up for adoption, while they continue to ignore the thousands of children stuck in the foster care system who did not choose to be there! [crowd cheers]

It is not much of a choice for the children stuck in cages down at the border who only came looking to escape violence in hopes of a better life! [crowd cheers] It is not much of a choice for children who are born into abusive homes, who will grow up thinking that the world is a cruel and heartless place. No choice for the children at school, a place that is supposed to be a sacred place for learning and growth, who will see their classmates be shot at and die right before their eyes.

Funny, isn’t it? How much they preach that what they are doing is to protect the lives of the children while all they do is only care about them while they are in the womb. How they stop caring the moment the actual baby is born and takes its first breath! [crowd cheers] “My body, my choice, but only when it comes to avoiding masks and vaccines during a global pandemic!” [crowd cheers]”Hands off our property!” [crowd roars] “Hands off my property but only when it comes to guns!” [crowd cheers] “The government has no business in my personal business but only when it isn’t a person taking a choice that is going to be the best for their physical and mental health.” [crowd cheers]

“I am pro-life,” they say, but they don’t adopt children, donate blood, ensure livable wages, provide access to affordable housing, protect human rights, or anything else that is actually pro-pre-existing-life! [crowd cheers] “They’re taking our religious freedom away!” They scream, as long as it’s about Christianity and not any other religion. [crowd cheers]

“Abortion is wrong and it is murder,” but only when it is a middle or lower class person who has their own personal reasons for getting one. If their rich wives want an abortion, they will be able to get one. In fact, they will be able to afford the safe procedure and pay the doctors hush money.

We the people are suffering and so is their precious image of the nuclear family, but all because of the societal environment they have created. [crowd cheers] The working class is shrinking and they are scared. If no more babies are born, who will be left for them to exploit? [crowd cheers] But instead of making living conditions better and helping us, they attempt to control our bodies by forcing us to have babies that are only going to suffer in the world! [crowd cheers]

All conservatives are hypocrites. They say that they are being silenced by ‘woke culture’ whilst continually taking away the voices of marginalized communities. [crowd cheers] They say their values are constantly being attacked, when it is them who are the attackers. [crowd cheers] But the more they scream my body, my choice, we will scream it even louder! We will not be silent and we will not go down without a fight! [crowd cheers]

Eighth Speaker: Mikah

Mikah: So, as I said already, my name is Mikah, and I’m a trans person who grew up in Salt Lake Valley. [crowd cheers] I’m here for the same reason that you are all here: because I care about my body, and more than that, I care about having autonomy and control over what happens to my body. [crowd cheers] This conversation has been widely discussed as a women’s issue, and it is, but as someone that exists outside of the gender binary, I feel it is my responsibility and my privilege to discuss the ways that this is more than a women’s issue, it’s a patriarchal issue! [crowd cheers] And it affects everybody! [crowd cheers]

I’m here because this will have a direct impact not only on cisgender women but also on transgender men, trans women, and all other people that exist outside the gender binary. [crowd cheers] Because as much as this is about healthcare, it’s also about privacy and autonomy. [crowd cheers]

Because Roe being removed is just the start. We will not only lose our rights to abortion, which is a fundamental right, by the way, but we will also lose access to medical assistance for gender dysphoria, access to safe contraception and access to marriage equality!

Not only will this affect people of all genders, but it will disproportionately affect people of color, people in poverty like myself, and people with disabilities. [crowd cheers] When you have to fight for not only your seat at the table but fight for your basic existence everyday, you don’t have time to fear being trapped by a legislature that sees you as a number instead of a life. [crowd cheers] People of color, queer people, working class people, and disabled people have enough on their plates, don’t you think? [crowd cheers]

I came here from work today, I’m exhausted, but I don’t get to be, and we don’t get to be because these pious bastards launched an attack from the same feet of their money and privilege. [crowd cheers] But we will show them that we are more than just a number! We are in numbers! [crowd cheers]

Ninth Speaker: Eve

(The livestream was cut short moments beforehand, so the beginning of the speech is not available)

Eve: My name is Eve...

...I am 16 years old, and I cannot vote, I cannot drive, but I can be forced to be a mother.

When Roe v. Wade overturns, I can be forced into motherhood, into labor, and into pregnancy. Today, I had an AP test and debated over whether to go to prom or not. I didn’t know how to do any of it. How am I expected to do any of that while my basic human rights are being stripped away from me as I speak? How can I look for prom dresses? I am a teenager. I’m supposed to be looking for prom dresses. I am not supposed to be here, begging to have autonomy over my own body.

Nobody is. We are here, today, fighting for our human rights. Take a second to reflect on that—human rights. Our right to have a choice about our own body. My body, my choice, is so terrifyingly simple when you look at it. How could this possibly be debatable? [crowd cheers]

We have been here fighting for these rights long before 1973 when Roe v. Wade was passed and we have been here long after. We don’t need to go back, we're already there. Black and brown and immigrant and indigenous and conservative and low-income communities still don’t have access to healthcare. The communities that have been able to access legal, safe abortion are facing extreme restrictions that are increasing by the day.

The Supreme Court’s leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Wade is horrifying but it’s not a surprise. We’ve been inching here everyday and it’s not stopping, it’s a warning of how close we are to completely losing rights to ourselves! To our bodies! [crowd cheers] Forced birth in a country with the highest maternal mortality rate, no paid maternity leave, no universal and subsidized child care, no continued birth parent care, no universal healthcare, and largely inaccessible mental healthcare. [crowd cheers]

They are trying to kill us! And it is not hyperbole anymore! They are trying to kill us and it will work.

Before Roe v. Wade, at least 20% of all pregnancy related deaths were due to illegal abortions. That is hundreds of people per year, thousands of thousands of the world, and the majority of which of black women. [crowd cheers] We are angry, and we fight. Every single one of us here is refusing to go down without a fight! [crowd cheers] I’ve been a community organizer and an activist for nearly four years now and I could not be anywhere except for here, demanding that our government keep their hands off my body, off our bodies! [crowd cheers]

Abortion is healthcare, healthcare is a human right. I’m pleading with my government to let me have my human rights. Look around you, the people here at your home, in your family, among your friends, at your workplace, at your schools, in your street, at your grocery store. People that have a uterus are actively experiencing their human rights being forcibly removed from their bodies! [crowd boos] I’m fighting for myself, demanding that my body [unintelligible as crowd roars with cheers and applause]!

The most horrific part about all of this is that I do this in a position of immense privilege. It could be so much worse. It is so much worse. So this fight is more than just me, more than for my prom dress or for my little sibling to not grow up in a dystopia. [crowd cheers] This is for my siblings across the country, my transgender siblings who have to fight for their recognition of existence. [crowd cheers] This is for my undocumented and low income siblings who work but can’t access healthcare. [crowd cheers] This is for my black and indigenous sisters with the highest rates of maternal mortality. [crowd cheers]

As of today abortion is safe and legal. We need to keep it that way because abortion will never go away. Rape will never go away. Incest will never go away. But a human’s body should not be given rights just because it’s already been violated. Unwanted pregnancy will never go away and if safe, legal abortion is taken away, the overwhelm of the foster system, the deaths of pregnant people, the abuse and neglect of the children, real lives because of a forced pregnancy, not about to go away, and we are here because we will not go away. Our fight will not go away! [crowd cheers]

Please familiarize yourself with your local black-fem activists, they are at the frontlines of everything and will be the first to die in this cause, think about that. Will be the first to die in this. [crowd cheers] If you do not have a uterus you need to be having difficult conversations with your family and friends. Donate to Utah’s abortion fund, which you can find at Please protect us, please protect each other. [crowd cheers] I want to deeply thank you for being here. I want to thank my grandmother who’s here today and who’s been going to pro-choice rallies longer than I’ve been alive. [crowd cheers] And I want to remind everyone that we will not stop, we will not stop fighting for our bodies. Thank you. [crowd cheers]

Mikah: Thank you so much for that, okay we have one more speech then we have one of our organizers coming to tell us some resources that we can donate and work with. So first up we have Devin! [crowd cheers]

Tenth Speaker: Devin

Devin: Alright, how’s everyone doing? Give me a big cheer, let's hear it! [crowd cheers] Who’s sick and tired of having to fight for human rights? [crowd cheers] Who’s ready to have respect from our country? [crowd cheers] Respect and a seat at the table aren’t something we earn, it’s something we take. [crowd cheers]. My name is Devin Johnson Kramer and I am the president of the Utah Beauty Coalition and I represent the working women of Utah and the cosmetologists of Utah. [crowd cheers]

When our lives are on the line, we have to take action! It is our duty to protect each other. It is meaningful to be passionate, compassionate, inclusive and fair.

As the American working people in every industry, we are still fighting for basic rights. It is a battle everyday for working class individuals to support a basic human livelihood! [crowd cheers] We have been walked over and forgotten from our state and our local representatives. [crowd cheers] Utah has never prioritized equality!

We will be one of the first states goes into immediate, criminalized abortion upon the repeal of Roe v. Wade. [crowd boos] And, we are one of twelve states, the twelve states, that has not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. [crowd boos] And some of you may be wondering, what is the Equal Rights Amendment, you may ask. Well, “equality unde the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” [crowd cheers]

Without the ERA, or constitutional protection, we can’t have equality. Without Roe v. Wade, we won’t have bodily autonomy. [crowd cheers] It is important now, more than ever, to educate yourself. We want to live, we want to live in a world without the weight of sexism! [crowd cheers] We want our elected legislators to care about the safety and the wellbeing of the people of this nation! [crowd cheers] If they truly knew what it was like for a moment to live as a young, working person in this country, this wouldn’t be a conversation. [crowd cheers]

We will be liberated! [crowd cheers] History is not linear, history is our guidebook. There is no rest inequality, there is no rank inequality. [crowd cheers] It is our generation’s turn to change the world. We owe it to the women and people who have suffered, and who continue to suffer, to take a stand and say enough is enough! [crowd cheers] I want to thank the generations before us, who paved the way to get us here and got us as far as we had! [crowd cheers]

We owe it to our mothers, and our grandmothers, to continue this fight of liberation! [crowd roars] We owe it to the LGBTQ community! [crowd roars] We owe it to the black and brown community! [crowd roars] We owe it to the indigenous community! [crowd roars] I am calling for every millennial and gen z to stand up for the future of their careers and their families! [crowd roars] It’s our turn to fight, baby! [crowd roars] They have no idea how educated we are [unintelligible as crowd roars with cheers and applause]. And guess what? We have a whole lifetime to go! [crowd roars]

Alright, I’m gonna say when women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back! When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? [crowd: Stand up fight back!] When LGBTQ rights are under attack, what do we do? [crowd: Stand up fight back!] When black and brown lives are under attack, what do we do? [crowd: Stand up fight back!] And when indigenous lives are under attack, what do we do? [crowd: Stand up fight back!] Thank you very much everybody! Let’s hear it! [crowd cheers]

Mikah: Okay, we just have a couple words from our organizer Dean. Dean’s gonna provide us with a list of resources and some options for us after this ends so we can continue to build this fight. [crowd cheers]

Dean: Organizer Speech

Dean: One organization that couldn’t be here today is the Utah Abortion Fund. Basically, they sent me something to read off for them. [crowd: Fuck Burgess Owens!] Yeah! Fuck Burgess Owens that’s what’s up! [crowd cheers] Alright, so, Utah Abortion Fund has been funding and providing abortion funding in Utah since 2019. When somebody can’t afford to pay for their procedure, they step in to help out a little bit. With the decision on its way, they’re working with other funds and clinics around Utah to figure out what the plan is and try to help people get to other clinics in other states. [crowd cheers]

Basically in a pre-Roe world, a lot of people don’t have access to abortions, so we want to make sure people know about this resource, so whether Roe gets overturned or not, this is a really good fund for people who won’t be able to afford it, whether it’s overturned or not. So if anybody wants to have their Instagram information, I have that right here. It’s @utabortionfund Just check them out, they’re really cool and they wanted to be here. [crowd cheers]

So, we’re gonna have some karaoke come up here, they’ll be singing a little bit. And then we’re gonna have Grace from SLERM, they’re gonna have a little bit of a speech, and then we’ll see what happens there! Thank you everyone for coming today, this is sick. [crowd cheers]

One more thing, there have been some counter-protesters in the crowd, and I’m seeing them try to mess with some people, thank you guys for keeping it peaceful! [crowd cheers]

Talia & Cadie: “Quiet” Performance

Put on your face

Know your place

Shut up and smile

Don't spread your legs

I could do that

But no one knows me no one ever will

If I don't say something, if I just lie still

Would I be that monster, scare them all away

If I let them hear what I have to say

I can't keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh

I can't keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh

A one woman riot, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

I can't keep quiet

For anyone


Cuz no one knows me no one ever will

If I don't say something, take that dry blue pill

They may see that monster, they may run away

But I have to do this

I can't keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh

I can't keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh

A one woman riot, oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

Oh I can't keep quiet

*Let it out Let it out now*

*Let it out now*

There'll be someone who understands

*Let it out Let it out now*

*Let it out now*

Must be someone who'll understand

*Let it out Let it out now*

*Let it out now*

There'll be someone who understands

*Let it out Let it out now*

*Let it out now*

I can't keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh

*Let it out Let it out now*

*Let it out now*

I can't keep quiet, no oh oh oh oh oh oh

*Let it out Let it out now*

*Let it out now*

I can't keep quiet

No, I won't keep quiet

Talia: Abuse Story

Talia: I would like to say something very nerve racking that I’ve never said in public before. [crowd cheers] I might cry, I’ll cry, I’m gonna cry. [crowd cheers] The first time I was sexually assaulted, I was nineteen. I went on a date with someone to Utah Symphony, and afterwards he asked me to come over for drinks at his house, and I didn’t realize that saying yes to drinks is the same as saying yes to sex. [crowd boos]

The second time I was sexually assaulted, I was twenty. And I was dating a guy who was addicted to watching videos of women getting raped on the internet. [crowd boos] And he wanted to act out his fantasy with me. [crowd boos] The third time I was sexually assaulted, it was my boyfriend of four years, who I loved and trusted. He didn’t even realize he had raped me until I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t breathe, and I couldn’t move afterwards. [crowd boos] Needless to say, he’s no longer my boyfriend. [crowd cheers]

So this next song is about anyone who has a story like mine. As I’m sure many of you do, and, just a reminder that so many states are putting out laws that make no exception for abortions. No rape exceptions, no incest exceptions, no ectopic exceptions, no exceptions. And I know a lot of people have already talked about this but that’s what this song means to me.

Talia & Cadie: “Till It Happens To You

You tell me it gets better, it gets better in time

You say I'll pull myself together, pull it together, you'll be fine

Tell me, what the hell do you know? What do you know?

Tell me how the hell could you know? How could you know?

'Til it happens to you, you don't know how it feels, how it feels

'Til it happens to you, you won't know, it won't be real

No, it won't be real, won't know how it feels

You tell me hold your head up, hold your head up and be strong

'Cause when you fall you gotta get up, you gotta get up and move on

Tell me how the hell could you talk, how could you talk?

'Cause until you walk where I walk, this is no joke

'Til it happens to you, you don't know how it feels, how it feels

'Til it happens to you, you won't know, it won't be real

(How could you know?)

No it won't be real

(How could you know?)

Won't know how I feel

(Protesters began to gather in front of the stage to comfort a crying supporter. They began to hug each other and form a massive circle around the person until a large chunk of the crowd was together in a giant group hug.)

'Til your world burns and crashes

'Til you're at the end, the end of your rope

'Til you're standing in my shoes

I don't wanna hear a thing from you, from you, from you

'Cause you don't know

'Til it happens to you, you don't know how I feel, how I feel

How I feel

'Til it happens to you, you won't know, it won't be real

(How could you know?)

No, it won't be real

(How could you know?)

Won't know how it feels

'Til it happens to you

Happens to you

Happens to you

Happens to you

Happens to you

Happens to you

(How could you know?)

'Til it happens to you

You won't know how I feel

Mikah (talking about the group hug): I just want to say, that’s something I’ve never seen before. [crowd cheers] To wrap us up for now, we have Grace and Dean come up to talk about a couple more things and then we’ll go from there! [crowd cheers]

Grace & Dean: Closing Speech

Grace: Hi everyone, that group hug there that we just had was the most beautiful thing seen in life. [crowd cheers] It’s so much fun here! [crowd cheers] Thank you so much to Red Hive and to everybody that has come out today. My name is Grace. I’m from the Salt Lake Equal Rights Movement. [crowd cheers] We really want to have a march, but safety is our number one priority so if there are some people that have cars and would like to drive so we can march safely, if you can come up here after so we can go over what’s gonna happen that’d be great.

Dean: Also, if we aren’t able to get any cars, if we do choose to do a march, which I assume with that attitude, we will be. [crowd cheers] If we do a march and we aren’t able to get cars, we’ll try to stick to the sidewalk to keep everyone as safe as possible and to not disrupt traffic. We’ll get back to you guys in a few minutes, we’ll see what’s up.

91 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All