Scan, sign, share: Demand action on abortion ban

By Laura Haight
President, DWGC

On March 2, 1975, I was a senior at Wagner College in Staten Island, NY, and editor of the college paper. I went to Manhattan to be present at the first United Nations International Women’s Year symposium. It was a tremendous thrill for me. First to be a tiny part of history; and second to meet a hero of mine: Judy Klemesrud of the New York Times, who both interviewed me AND quoted me in her article.

Days later the UN would declare March 8 International Women’s Day and it has been celebrated every year since. 49 years later, we face International Women’s Day in the same stance we were then: combative, fighting for our rights, striving for equality. At the time, we were on the cusp of attaining it. The ERA had been passed three years before. 

But 52 years later, that simple statement: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex” is still not enshrined in the Constitution.

To the contrary, our rights are being abridged with shocking regularity.

Women’s ability to be financially independent, to rise in the ranks at their workplace, to earn higher educational degrees, is all to some degree dependent on our bodily autonomy. 

South Carolina is one of 16 states that – since 2022 – have banned abortion completely or instituted a meaningless 6-week ban (essentially the same thing). Last summer, DWGC had a program that asked the question “Reproductive Rights: What Now?” The answer appeared to be a very unsatisfying one: Elect more Democrats. While that’s our goal, it will take several election cycles to start to make a dent in the Republican supermajority.

But now, thanks to the work of a statewide coalition formed by Planned Parenthood, there is something more we can DO! The organization- Repeal the Ban SC – is initiating a non partisan petition drive to demand that legislators repeal the current draconian law. With its partner organizations – the League of Women Voters of SC, the ACLU, WREN, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Palmetto State Abortion Fund – hopes to get a minimum of 100,000 signatures – maybe as many as 250,000. 

Practically, you and I know that a repeal of the abortion law is unlikely given the supermajority Republicans currently enjoy in Columbia. But a quarter million voters putting their name on something ain’t nothing. What it could be is leverage. Leverage to push for amendments to the law that might ameliorate some of the more draconian provisions, such as in the area of exceptions. It could also be a bullwark to prevent more legislation from gaining footholds, such as the “personhood” bill, a ban on contraception, or efforts to make travel for abortion care purposes illegal. We can finally give our hard-working minority a powerful tool in this fight.

Dem Women is all in on this program. And we ask you to be with us. According to Planned Parenthood polling, we should be joined by the vast majority of South Carolinans. New polling suggests 77 to 86 percent of South Carolinians are opposed to the abortion law. That means we have common ground on this issue with close to 9 out of 10 people. The odds are with us on this one – but we have to ask!

So what does that look like?

There are several layers of possibilities:

Sign the petition yourself.
– Send the link to family, friends, coworkers, and others in your network.
– Reach out to your social media networks. Here’s a graphic that will work on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
– Elevate the efforts of Dem Women and the partner organizations – Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters of South Carolina, WREN, the ACLU, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Palmetto State Abortion Fund – on social on media by SHARING their posts on the petition drive.
– Take opportunities to talk to people about the petition (remember, 9 out of 10). Print out a hard copy of the petition to carry with you and/or keep a copy of the QR code on your phone. Wherever possible get people to sign the petition while you are with them; it’s the only way you really can be sure they do it.

Ready for more?

We have business-sized cards ready to be picked up at the GCDP office – just stop by 1300 J East Washington St., downtown, and pick up a handful to distribute at meetings, group gatherings, and other events you may attend, or businesses you may visit. Ask those you give the cards to to pass them on to others after they’ve signed. 

We’ll be brainstorming ways to reach more people and we welcome your ideas and suggestions. Know of a farmer’s market, a street fair, or other event, please let me know.

The next level

Next steps could involve having tables at events, calling lists of people, or canvassing our neighborhoods, even sending postcards are all possibilities. We will have more to come on options.

But you can make your own option. Are you in a book club? Take some cards with you. PTA? Take some cards with you. We are on the right side of this issue. But we have to ask!

Flip 1 Damn Seat

We talked about this last month. At the GCDP convention, I gave one of these buttons to Colleen Condon, the SCDP 2nd vice chair. She asked me if this was our goal. I said “No. We are solidly behind Priority 6 and Our goal is to win every seat we contest. But we must win one.” To prove the concept to Democrats in this county that winning is possible. 

Wear the button as a conversation starter. We need to get Democrats engaged and ready to vote across the county. Every week, I encounter Democrats who were convinced they were the only one. Each of us is an important bridge to bring these Dems into the party, into a number of Democratic organizations, and into the polling place. If you need more buttons, let me know.. More are coming. When I see people I don’t know walking down the street with a Flip 1 Damn Seat button, I’ll know we are working it!

Get your button – and a couple of more for friends – at the GCDP office. Are they out? More are coming the week of March 25.

Be the change you want to see: Help the party with a much-needed donation or volunteer to help!