There was a respectable turnout today at the State House in opposition to HB 3114 which is set to go to Governor Nikki Haley’s desk for review. At the event hosted by Planned Parenthood, SC Equality, South Carolina Coalition for Healthy Families, and Tell Them, women and men clad in pink held up signs protesting the bill and urging legislators to keep abortion decisions between a woman and her healthcare provider and to persuade Gov. Haley to veto the bill. HB 3114, which handily passed the House and Senate, would restrict abortions for women after 19 weeks of pregnancy. Community leaders and legislators spoke in alliance with women of South Carolina, citing that abortions at 20 weeks and later are almost exclusively chosen by families that wanted to have a child, but sadly could not continue their pregnancies due to rare, severe fetal anomalies that put a women’s heath at risk, or victims of rape or incest.
South Atlantic spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, Alyssa Miller, kicked off the rally, donning hot pink suede heels in solidarity with the overwhelmingly rosy crowd. As the legislature in our state and beyond begins to slowly chip away at a woman’s right to an abortion, lawmakers like Rep. Gilda-Cobb Hunter, Rep. Mia McLeod, Rep. Beth Bernstein, Sen. Brad Hutto, Rep. James Smith, Sen. Joel Laurie, Rep. Justin Bamberg, Sen. Marlon Kimpson made it clear that they would not stand down in the fight for women’s rights in the state.
Perhaps best illustrating the common frustration held among women who want the government out of their bedrooms and doctors offices, Rep. Mia McLeod invoked her recent proposal to require men to jump through legal hoops to acquire popular erectile dysfunction drugs. Sadly she understands what we all do, that the majority male representation in the State House is quick to regulate the reproductive rights of women – a conflict perhaps best called to attention – ahem – when the shoe is placed on the other foot.
Would-be counter-protestors (two whole men) looked on, largely ignored.
For those unable to attend the rally, Tell Them suggests sending a text message to 52886 with the message 20WEEK. A return text will put sender on the path to notifying the governor of their position on the bill.
Photographs by Brittany Braddock.