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Demonstraters gather for pro-choice rally in downtown Charleston

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 9:42 PM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2022 at 4:16 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Supreme Court draft that could overturn Roe v. Wade has sparked protests nationwide including here in the Lowcountry.

An estimated 100 to 150 demonstrators gathered on Broad Street in downtown Charleston Wednesday night for a pro-choice rally.

Planned Parenthood representatives attended and Charleston Black Lives Matter and Stand as One also promoted the event.

Meredith Matthews, the field organizer for Planned Parenthood in Charleston, says this is just the beginning of the pro-choice groups making their voices heard.

“This all comes down to a matter of 24 to 48 hours. If this many people at the last minute can stand up and be loud, that just shows that we’re really determined to make a stand against the handing down of a potential striking down of Roe v. Wade,” Matthews said.

Alexander Michal is a clinic escort at Planned Parenthood who also attended the rally.

“This is a human rights issue, right? So I don’t have to be a person of color to be against racism. So I don’t have to be a woman to be for the rights of people to control what happens to themselves,” Michal said.

People spent about an hour and a half chanting, sharing stories, and giving contact information while displaying signs to passers by with pro-choice messaging.

Sue Condrin has lived in Charleston for about a year and came out to the event when she saw it publicized on social media.

“I’m teared up. I have granddaughters, I have grandsons, but for my granddaughters to lose the right over their bodies...I can’t even begin to imagine the future is in store for them. And every other child and young woman,” Condrin said.

Sen. Lindsay Graham addressed reporters on Tuesday about the draft explaining how if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the decision on legality of abortion will belong to each individual state.

“Right now let’s absorb this decision. I’m pro-life, but before 1973 it was a state decision and I don’t see 60 votes to ban abortion,” Graham said.

He continued to share some opinions and admitted he isn’t sure exactly what South Carolina laws would look like.

“I support exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother, that’s my personal view. I don’t know what South Carolina would do. All I can say is that before 1973, this was the process. If a state does something and there’s a backlash against the people who voted, then you take care of it at the ballot box,” Graham said.

People at the peaceful protest on Wednesday night also talked about exercising your right to vote as a way to make your opinions heard. People at the rally spoke about personal experiences, shared health statistics and chanted messages.

“This goes beyond just ideology and beliefs. This actually affects people’s health, especially in a nation in which Black and Hispanic and Latin X people, especially women...we have such a high level of maternal mortality rate, especially here in South Carolina,” said Matthews.

Matthews says the organizations are planning another event on May 14.

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