Community Testimony Against 6 Week Abortion Ban
by WREN Staff on Jan 14, 2021
The testimonies below were presented on January 14, 2021 in opposition to S.1, the 6 week abortion ban. The information below is only what advocates allowed to be published some may not include names or locations.
Maya Ward, Columbia
To start I’d like to say thank you to Senator Davis and the rest of the committee for giving me a chance to speak on this issue. I’d like to give you a couple facts about myself. My name is Maya, I’m 24 years old, and I was born and raised in South Carolina. I grew up in Greenville, went to school in Spartanburg, and I now live in Columbia.
So that is the perspective I’m going to speak from, that of a regular 24-year-old lifelong South Carolinian. I feel a need to speak today because I want to give a perspective on abortion that is often not heard in these committee meetings. That of a young woman who would be directly impacted by an abortion ban like this one.
Access to abortion for me means that as a 24-year-old that is just starting out in my career I have the opportunity to make any choice I want. It means I could go to grad school. It means I can grow and I can learn and I can become who I need to be before I become a parent. I can do those things, because I know that I have the choice in when and how I become a parent.
My situation is not unique. As a 24-year-old I have plenty of beautiful, strong, smart friends who are also actively pursuing their dreams. They are in grad school, they are starting new careers, some are climbing the corporate ladder, and yes, some are parents. And they all have the freedom to do those things because they have the freedom of choice.
Now, could I or they do this if we were forced to remain pregnant and/or become a parent? Maybe. But we shouldn’t be required to find out. I’m not saying that they all would make the same choice that I would if faced with an unplanned pregnancy. But I am saying that they should have the option to make that choice for themselves.
Because what this ban and all others like it really mean is that if I, or any of them, were to become pregnant unexpectedly, we wouldn’t have the freedom of choice to pursue our dreams. We wouldn’t have the opportunity to see who we would become if we were not forced to stay pregnant and give birth. So when you pass a ban in your mind you are “saving a life” but in reality you are stealing ours. By restricting our right to decide what we can and can’t do with our bodies, you are stealing the life that we could have if we had the freedom to make the best decision for ourselves.
I want to close by saying that to me abortion isn’t a last resort and abortion isn’t evil. To me, abortion is a good thing. Access to abortion is opportunity, and choice, and the ability to become who I want to be and to eventually become the parent I want to be.
Today, I am asking you please vote in opposition to S.1. so that you don’t strip me, my friends, my family, and others like me from the ability to become who we can to be. Thank you, please vote NO on S.1.
Alexandra Harris, Greenville
I am writing to add my voice as a resident of Greenville, South Carolina to the calls for you to reject S.1, a 6-week abortion ban in our state disguised under the misleading phrase “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act”. Let’s call this what it is – an attack on a woman’s right to choose.
At 6 weeks, most women do not even know they are pregnant and therefore cannot make an informed decision about whether or not they want to carry the pregnancy to term. A “fetal heartbeat” at this time is not a heartbeat in the way you and I have a heartbeat; it is just detectable activity near the fetal pole. Calling it a heartbeat is misleading and is designed to emotionally sway folks who deserve to have accurate information when making decisions about their lives and bodies.
Furthermore, Roe v. Wade was decided on the basis of a woman’s right to privacy. It is beyond the bounds of our state legislature to dictate to my doctor what our conversation should be. My medical decisions are between she and I. Respect my right to privacy as guaranteed by our United States Constitution.
I would also like to add that women are fully formed, intelligent, capable adult human beings and slowly stripping away the parameters of the decisions we are “permitted” to make is not only unconstitutional, it is just plain insulting. I know my body and my life and my capabilities better than any of you ever will and I should be trusted to make the decisions that are best for me.
If you are genuinely concerned that unwanted pregnancies in our state will lead to abortions, I urge to support policies and initiatives that have actually been proven to reduce unwanted pregnancies: comprehensive sex education in our public schools, access to many forms of contraception for affordable prices (or free if you’re that worried!), increased paid family leave, and protections for mothers in the workplace. Until I see you fighting for those proven policies, I don’t want to hear a single peep from you about caring about families and making sure children are born. Make this state a safer and more secure place for women and children before you try to tell women they are required to carry all pregnancies to term with no support once the child is here.
Courtney Thomas, Columbia
Some of the things presented before this committee today were absolutely abhorrent, ahistorical, and just not true, but let me get to to my prepared statement.
My name is Courtney Thomas, I use she/her pronouns, and I live in Columbia, South Carolina. Thank you for making this virtual option available in light of the global pandemic. This tells me that this body is able to act in response to social progress, sound medical advice, and good sense. I ask that you lean on those three factors and vote no on S.1.
You’ve already heard doctors give their expert advice on the dangers many people face while pregnant. We know that the ability to plan one’s family is not only medically necessary but a social necessity. You’ve already heard from everyday people some of whom have shared heartbreaking stories about their need for abortion care. These stories were shared at great personal risk, but also because they trust this body to do the right thing and have good sense.
I’m here asking you to vote no because I am a 27-year-old Black woman who was raised and educated in this state. I know what we can be better than the paternalism intrinsic to this bill. We can live in a state where individuals are responsible for their bodies, not the government. To members of this committee who ascribe to a political ideology that prizes small government, is this bill not a prime example of government overreach? This bill invites the government into my relationships, my healthcare, and my future in a way that takes away my agency and my ability to plan for the future. I will have a family on my own terms and in my own time.
I ask that you not take away healthcare in a pandemic. This bill will not end abortions, it would end safe abortions. Wealthy white South Carolinians have always had the luxury of shopping around for care. Should this pass they will continue to do so while less privileged people take up less safe means to save their own lives and maintain bodily autonomy.
This bill would disproportionately impact the black brown and queer communities in this state that already have a hard time accessing healthcare of any kind. And is that not the pinnacle of white supremacy? This bill would further serve to widen the gaps between the haves and have nots by removing their choices.
Today, you all have the ability to do the right thing. I ask you to vote no on S. 1 because it’s just good sense.