The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Abortion-rights protest exercises First Amendment rights

Meadow Myers
Social Justice Club President Olivia Brannen speaking during the Bigger Than Roe rally Jan. 2.

Approximately 40 protesters and five local organizations gathered in Chapin Memorial Park in Downtown Myrtle Beach on Jan. 20 to voice their opinions on the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.


In South Carolina, abortion is banned at six weeks of pregnancy. This ban was deemed constitutional in August 2023 by an all-male Supreme Court, according to AP News.


According to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Roe v. Wade granted a federal constitutional right to abortion in 1973, which was taken away by the reversal in June 2022, allowing states to ban abortion altogether. Many states’ positions on the matter have changed frequently with new introductions of bills being proposed monthly.


Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, there have been two protests at Chapin Memorial Park held by local organization Grand Strand Action Together. Grand Strand Action Together is a nonprofit organization that supports the right and free access to reproductive healthcare.


Their sister organization, Palmetto State Abortion Fund, co-hosted the event. One of the many things the Palmetto State Abortion Fund does is provide financial, logistical and educational support for those seeking an abortion.


Junior President of the Social Justice Club Olivia Brannen presented a speech explaining how there is a need for representation in all places. In attempt to bring this change about, she has created a new organization at Coastal Carolina University called Planned Parenthood Generation Action.


“Our bodies are being attacked throughout the whole country and so we are speaking out about systems that were built to oppress and discriminate,” Brannen said. “I’ve noticed that a lot of students are really scared for the future of their rights and if they have bodily autonomy, and I think that it is honestly scary. But, I think students are mad and fired up to fight back.”

Judy Cooper is pictured with a sign going against former Donald Trumpduring the Bigger Than Roe Rally. (Meadow Myers)

Associate Professor of sociology Jamie McCauley was another primary presenter, sharing local initiatives and nonprofits helping those who may suffer with access to reproductive healthcare, food and LGBTQ+ discrimination. These organizations include the Palmetto State Abortion Fund, Fyre Bird Recovery, The Shepard’s Table and Fresh Brewed Coffee.


McCauley said now is a time to love.“ We must envision the world we are fighting for,” McCauley said.


Fyrebird Recovery, who attended the protest, is a harm-reduction program in Horry County that through its efforts, focuses on the social detriments of health, drug use and support for high-risk communities. The recovery initiative provides free emergency contraceptives, no questions asked, safe sex education and supplies.


Azhane Powell, an Horry County local and Fyrebird volunteer, said the event is one of many that should happen.


“It is a very quiet aspect because we live in a red state, and even from the supplies that we provide, there is obviously a lot of controversy around it from the supplies and the fact that we do not charge,” Powell said. “I think the missing part is that we support choice. There is representation because we have so many colleges here and they should know that there are options.”

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