At Planned Parenthood, more protests, support in wake of Texas decision
Posted Sept. 20, 2021
Yells of “Roll down your window!” and, “Let us help you!” reverberated down Middleburg Drive on Tuesday as clusters of anti-abortion supporters flagged down cars driving past them and towards the parking lot of Columbia’s Planned Parenthood health clinic.
Since Texas’ new abortion restrictions went into effect on Sept. 1, there has been an increase in the number of protestors outside of the clinic.
“We know that these laws going into effect have emboldened and energized the opposition,” said Allison Terracio, the organizing program coordinator for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. “Across South Carolina there is for sure an increase in protest activity.”
Valerie Berry, program manager for A Moment of Hope, an evangelical, Christian group that aims to dissuade women from having abortions, is a regular outside Planned Parenthood.
But in the wake of Texas’ new restrictive abortion ban, Berry said she feels more excited and hopeful for the end of abortion in South Carolina. She and volunteers from her organization stand outside Planned Parenthood every Tuesday and Friday, the days that abortions are performed at the clinic.
“A woman came a week ago for an abortion,” Berry said Tuesday. “She was inside, very unsettled about it and decided to think about it some more, so she rescheduled and, on her way out, she stopped to get a bag, and a week later she called in and asked for an ultrasound.”
The woman ultimately decided not to get an abortion, Berry said.
“So stories like that keep us going and help us know that people just want to know that someone cares,” Berry said.
Planned Parenthood also has volunteers in the parking lot, a good distance away from the anti-abortion supporters who try to convince patients to consider other options. Their job is to greet patients and help drown out the noise of the protesters on the street.
“(The Texas abortion ruling) absolutely horrifies me,” said Diane Grant, one of the volunteers. She likened what happened in Texas to the dystopian novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and fears that other states, such as South Carolina, could follow suit.
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