California governor places abortion access billboard in Columbia

COLUMBIA,  SC (WOLO) — A new billboard promoting abortion access may catch your eye while driving on Gervais Street in downtown Columbia.

The billboard stands just a few blocks away from the State House and just across from the Hilton Garden Inn.

“Need an abortion? California is ready to help,” reads the billboard with a Bible verse at the bottom that reads, ” Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.”

The billboard was paid for by the campaign for California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

Newsom, who is up for re-election this year, has said that he may run for president should President Biden decide not to seek re-election.

Newsom has placed similar billboards in seven states with restrictive anti-abortion policies. Texas, South Dakota, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Oklahoma are the six other states where Newsom’s team has placed billboards.

Governor Henry McMaster responded to the billboard at a recent event.

“I think that’s somewhat unusual. But I like our slogan, Smiling Faces and Beautiful Places. I think South Carolina is a happy place. We try to stay happy and friendly. People are free to do…like Governor Newsom…to do whatever they want. But I think that’s unusual,” says Governor McMaster.

The president of the women’s group Columbia NOW, Annette Bethel, says she’s thankful for Newsom’s support, but many women can’t afford to travel to California for abortion services.

“We have a hard enough time getting people in S.C. with the three centers that we have with waiting periods. Think about child care, taking time off, etc. So it’s a nice gesture by Governor Newsom from California. We really do appreciate the support, I just wish our legislators would not try and do such harmful legislation for the people in S.C.,” says Bethel.

The S.C. House of Representatives meets next week to discuss the Senate’s amended version of the abortion ban bill.

“The consensus is that there will need to be exceptions. Both houses now have included some. We’ve already passed some into law which I signed with the heartbeat bill. So I’m fairly confident that they are going to work hard and present a bill that is acceptable to most, and the vast majority of people in the state,” says Governor McMaster.

But, Bethel feels differently.

“You’re just thinking, how did we get there? How did we get to the point where we have to have exceptions? You know birth control does fail. It’s hard for women to have children in this state.  And to take reproductive rights away, you know it’s just another one of those ideas that people are not making sense to think through what they are actually doing to the community of women — to hate women,” says Bethel.

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