5th Annual Women’s March in Downtown Denver

This year, activists focused on protesting restrictive state abortion laws

Citizens from across Colorado gathered at the State Capitol building on the morning of Oct. 2 to protest the new abortion law passed in Texas and to demonstrate their general support for reproductive rights. In union with millions of other protestors across the country, the gathering at the Capitol was part of the fifth annual nationwide Women’s March.

Those speaking at the protest at the Capitol included Vicki Cowart, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains; Kassandra Rendon-Morales, Reproductive Rights Campaign Coordinator at ACLU of Colorado; Amanda Carlson, Abortion Fund Director and Senior Policy Associate at Cobalt; and Nadine Bridges, Executive Director One Colorado—all of whom expressed their support for the right of women to dictate the laws enacted over their own bodies.

The focus of these Marches has shifted from general protests against Donald Trump, to advocacy for reproductive rights in response to the passing of the Texas “Heartbeat Act.” According to The New York Times, the law prohibits the abortion of fetuses which have developed a heartbeat—despite the fact that most women don’t know that they are pregnant by the time this develops. A similar version of the bill is expected to be passed in Oklahoma in November.

These strict abortion bills are the latest development in a long history of ideological conflict between the pro-life and pro-choice sides of the abortion debate. Pro-life supporters believe that the restriction of abortion is necessary because it saves the life of the fetus, while pro-choice supporters believe that the decision to have or not have an abortion can only be decided by the pregnant individual, not by lawmakers.

The Heartbeat Act demonstrates, what pro-choice supporters would call, the extreme lengths pro-life supporters are willing to go to protect the life of fetuses, as it prohibits abortions even for pregnancies which result from rape or incest.

This conflict between pro-life and pro-choice was very evident at the Capitol, as signs reading, “Women Just Wanna have Fundamental rights,” “Don’t Tread on Me,” and “Keep Your Religion Out of my Uterus,” struggled to cover up “Denver Pro-Life” banners held by counter-protestors.

One of the pro-life supporters present at the protest said they support what is occurring in Texas. “Abortion harms women. So, if I’m pro-women, I don’t want women to die,” said the anonymous pro-life supporter when asked why she supported pro-life over pro-choice.

However, this statement reflects a general misconception that abortion can be as harmful to pregnant individuals as it is to the fetus. According to Reuters, women are 14 times more likely to die during or after birth than they are during an abortion. As seen with other healthcare dilemmas within the US, if citizens are restricted access to safe medical procedures, they will likely seek out that same medical care but from less safe, underground sources.

“I don’t understand how other women aren’t pro-choice. I understand that abortion is a touchy subject, but it should be up to the woman to decide for herself what she wants to do with her own body,” said Abigail Goodmacher, a freshman at CU Denver who participated in the march at the Capitol.

For more information on the subject, visit Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, or Respect Life Denver.

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