By Mike McCombs
A week after the leak of a draft opinion indicating the U.S. Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision making abortion legal, between four and five dozen protesters took part in a rally Monday evening in front of Beaufort City Hall to support women’s right to abortion.
The event was organized by several groups, including Indivisible Beaufort, League of Women Voters Beaufort and local members of the Democratic Party. Protesters lined the street on both sides of Boundary Street where it intersects Ribault Road.
Most in the crowd – made up primarily of women, though there were a handful of men and children – carried homemade signs. A few wore shirts bearing slogans, and one even dressed as a “Handmaid” from A Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel by Canadian Margaret Atwood where a totalitarian society subjects fertile women to child-bearing slavery.
Beaufort resident Emily May thought the turnout was “fantastic.” She was one of a handful to protest earlier in the week in much smaller numbers.
“I hope to get out here more,” May said. “Despite this being a red state and despite these (potential) laws, we have to show that there really is a voice.”
May said the difference in opinion on abortion is more than a typical red-state, blue-state divide.
“It’s more specific. Cities and counties is what it comes down to. They have to organize against this,” she said. “The difference between a red state and a blue state might be just a few points. There are clearly people here that don’t want to see these changes.
“If we can reach just a few people with these protests, to let them know, even if they are the minority here, that there are other people who feel the same way they do, we can start to make a difference.”
May said those in the Lowcountry who support a woman’s right to choose will have to do far more than protest if they hope to have an impact.
“Honestly, right now, the thing to do is to call your state senator (or representative),” she said. “It may seem hopeless, but we have to call our state senators, because that’s who’s going to matter. And then, of course, you have to vote.”
While the occasional passerby made the effort to voice their opposition to the protesters, the majority of drivers who reacted simply honked their horns in support. However, a couple of vehicles did circle back, passing several times to yell profanities.
“I do worry (about safety); it’s about being aware of your surroundings,” May said. “Luckily we’re getting more honks than people calling us murderers. I’ll take that.”
Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.