This Independence Day, people across the Carolinas may be interpreting freedom in different ways.
While some used their Fourth of July celebrations to protest for abortion rights, others are gearing up for their effort to enact full-fledged abortion bans.
“It’s kinda hard to celebrate independence when people’s freedoms and rights are being stripped away,” protester Courtney Steinberg said.
Among American flags flying in the wind in downtown Concord Monday afternoon, there were also protests following the Supreme Court overturning the ruling that made abortion a federally protected right.
“They demonstrate that they don’t care about our rights and standing up for the rights of people,” added Jaymond Bryant-Herron.
Groups pushing to hold on to abortion rights, like Steinberg and Bryant-Herron’s group, the Cabarrus Justice Coalition, said the purpose of the demonstration they organized was twofold: Firstly, supporting those who come to North Carolina seeking access to care. “It’s really getting money and whatever they ask us for, whatever support they need, we’re gonna try and get to them,” Steinberg explained.
But Monday’s protest was also designed to make an impression on voters. “We have to defend Governor Cooper’s veto power by electing more democratic people to the legislature in Raleigh,” added Mackenzie Reedybacon, who is with the Young Dems of Rowan-Cabarrus.
Their sense of urgency was likely sparked by the pace of reaction to the Roe v. Wade ruling. “North Carolina is hanging on by a thread,” Steinberg said. “We are like the only state left in the southeast that has access to abortion care and we are even considered a hostile state.”
Later this week, the South Carolina House is expected to begin work on a bill that would outlaw all abortions, with few exceptions.
“On this day and days to come, babies are going to be killed in abortion clinics until we make abortion illegal in this state,” said Sen. Richard Cash of the South Carolina State Senate.
Cash, a Republican, represents the northern part of Anderson County. He co-sponsored a bill that would outlaw abortions at any stage of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is at risk.
“I’m representing my district, but also representing what I believe to be what is true and what is moral and right,” Cash explained. “If we can pass this bill in South Carolina, I think it’s the right thing to do.”
The South Carolina Senate is said to be still formulating a plan to meet to discuss abortion legislation.
(WATCH BELOW: Hundreds protest in Fort Mill against proposed tougher abortion restrictions in SC)