After overturn of Roe v. Wade, protesters gather in Augusta, Aiken

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 11:24 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgia’s six-week abortion ban is still held up in court, and women across the two-state are waiting for when the final decision comes down.

People took to the streets of downtown Augusta and Aiken over the weekend, protesting for women’s rights and future patients who may need help. This comes after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Oncoming drivers honked their horns passing by the Augusta Common on Friday, beeping for support and giving energy to people advocating for reproductive rights.

“That’s the most important part of it, since just knowing that maybe they couldn’t join us, but they still support our cause,” protestor Cynthia Li said.

Li said she was determined to do something.

“Some of my buddies decided it’s not helpful to sit at home and be angry. If you can get out there and show people that there are other people that might think similar to you,” she said.

Around 20 people made their way to Broad Street to make signs and voice their support, a gathering some didn’t see coming.

“We’re so glad that people from so many different parts of the community, so just really happy about the turnout,” said protestor Madeline Snipes, “I’m just super happy to be out here with like-minded folks that support women’s rights.”

And support came in different ways - some even donated money to buy water and snacks for a gathering to show power in the community.

“We were hoping to get as much support as possible, just to show that there is a voice in Augusta,” Snipes said.

The movement continued into Saturday, as over four hundred people gathered in downtown Augusta for a second march for human rights and abortions. The march started at the corner of 12th and Broad Street and looped around to Augusta Common.

“My rights were taken away and I don’t feel like that’s fair to me or to any other woman, so I’ll stand in 100-degree heat for a good cause,” Ariel McSwain said.

At age 17, march organizer Elleana Garcia says she wouldn’t let her age stop her from standing up for people of all ages affected by the decision. “I like to think age doesn’t define me,” she said.

Another young organizer was 18-year-old River Good, who says she was proud of the result, in the numbers that came out.

“I organized this from the start, then some people helped me, this was organized by very young people. It’s just a beautiful thing that 400-500 people showed up today to be heard and fight for our rights,” she said.

“We estimated 200 at the most, so to see this many people come together in Augusta to support one issue is absolutely mind-blowing,” Garcia said.

Across the river...

Across the river, some Aiken community members gathered for a protest in front of the Odell Weeks Activity Center on Sunday.

Protestors say they came out to make their voices heard about the most recent Heartbeat Law. The law bans most abortion procedures after six weeks into a pregnancy.

Protestor Paige Davis says she has a 5-year-old child and is now 9 weeks along with her second child. She says she is scared because she is not out of the miscarriage phase yet.

“If I were to have a miscarriage and needed a life-saving D&C, what do I do?” She asked. “If I have a miscarriage, what are they going to do? Come after me criminally because I can’t prove that I didn’t try to have a miscarriage?”

Paige says she’s at least thankful to be living in the CSRA, but is scared for other South Carolinians that don’t live as close to Augusta.

“Thankfully I am on the edge of the state where I could go into Augusta where the DA has said that he will not prosecute, but for other mothers who are in other places of S.C., they don’t have the privilege that I have,” she said.

And for those protesting, many feel as if they’re being ignored.

“Henry McMaster does not care about the women of South Carolina and he has made that very clear for a very long time now. And I just really don’t think he really cares about our health,” Phylesha Hiers, with public relation of Reproductive Rights of Aiken said.

Sunday’s protest was an event organized by Katie Brown and Emmalee Wood, who are the founders of Reproductive Rights of Aiken.

Their hope is for this non-profit to become a way to get people out to vote, and realize that what they say can help make South Carolina protect them.

“I work in the NICU at a Children’s Hospital of Georgia and I see women coming in all the time. And I see all these babies born so sick, and sometimes they are just nonviable, and it is really sad,” Brown said. “It’s absolutely devastating.”

On Friday, Reproductive Rights of Aiken will team up again with the Aiken County Democratic Party for a march at 6 p.m. at the courthouse. They say anyone is welcome to participate.

Copyright 2022 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.