Organizations, activists on both sides of the abortion debate react to SC’s 6-week abortion ban

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Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 9:35 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - With South Carolinians now facing a new landscape of abortion rights, hundreds of abortion rights protesters, and some anti-abortion counter protesters, packed the State House lobby Tuesday.

This comes as the state’s six-week abortion ban is now in effect. The “Fetal Heartbeat Law” had been blocked in federal court for more than a year, but with Roe v. Wade overturned by the Supreme Court last week, a federal judge lifted the injunction that had blocked it.

The law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically around six weeks. The law does include exceptions for rape, incest, threats to the mother’s health and fetal anomalies.

Tuesday presented activists with the first opportunity since the Supreme Court’s decision to directly voice their concerns to legislators.

Many abortion rights activists said that much of their anger was directed towards the nation’s highest court, while quite a bit of it was reserved for Governor Henry McMaster and the legislature.

“I feel discouraged, I feel like we’ve gone back 50 years in time and we’re not moving forward,” Brenda Breedon, an abortion rights activist, said. “America is supposed to be about moving forward, we’re moving back. Every day we’re moving back and especially in this state.”

Charles Swann, an anti-abortion activist, said he believes that state lawmakers should pass more restrictive abortion laws.

“I support life and those that are with me today support life at conception, so we want more than just the Heartbeat Bill because we believe that life begins at conception based upon what scripture teaches,” he said.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic’s Public Affairs Director Vicki Ringer said that one of the main frustrations about this six-week ban is that many women do not even know they are pregnant at that point.

Ringer said she has already heard from women who are being turned away from having an abortion in the state.

“People are stunned by that, and they’re brokenhearted, especially those who have limited means and have to figure out a way to get to North Carolina or Virginia or another state,” she said.

Meanwhile, the evangelical anti-abortion organization “A Moment of Hope” welcomes this law.

Mark Baumgartner, founder and Executive Director of “A Moment of Hope,” said the group is looking forward to what could come next.

“We are elated that the Heartbeat Act is now in place, it’s saving lives right now as we speak,” he said. “So, we’re now looking forward to the legislature banning abortions entirely, that’s our prayer.”

A Moment of Hope would like to see a ban on all abortions, without exceptions.

Alexander Wirth, an anti-abortion activist, agrees.

“There should never be a choice to murder a child, never,” he said.

Ringer said women make up 55 percent of the state’s population, and the majority of them do not hold this view.

“If they ban abortion, women will die,” she said.

A Moment of Hope has its RV stationed outside Planned Parenthood in Columbia daily, seeking to offer alternatives to women who are considering abortions. They offer ultrasounds, pregnancy tests and housing resources to women.

Some abortion rights activists view this as a call to action and a call to vote.

“We have to make a stand and we have to make a stand now,” Breedon said. “November is coming.”

According to Ringer, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic does have funding on hand to help those seeking abortions travel out of state for them.

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