By Holly Gatling, Executive Director. South Carolina Citizens for Life
In 1994, I attended my very first National Right to Life Convention. It was held in Houston, Texas, and I remember it in vivid detail: the people I met, the speakers I heard, the workshops I attended. Since then, I have not missed a National Right to Life Convention. It is a priority of my year.
At the annual NRL Conventions, there is solidarity. You go home feeling energized and renewed in your sometimes very challenging work to save unborn babies from abortion and protect the medically vulnerable members of our human family from the growing threat of euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.
It has always been a dream of mine to have the Convention in South Carolina to showcase this remarkable pro-life state.
After all these years, I can say, “Greetings and welcome!” to people who will convene from all over the United States on July 5-6 in the historic Charleston area for the 49th annual National Right to Life Convention.
It is my privilege and delight to welcome you to South Carolina, one of the Thirteen Original Colonies. The Charleston area, known as the Low Country is one of the world’s top tourist and culinary destination.
We are known as the “Palmetto State” because of the role the indigenous Palmetto trees played in Revolutionary War history. It is a symbol of the defeat of the British fleet by the fort built of Palmetto logs on Sullivan’s Island. It was reported that the British cannon balls did little damage to the fort as they bounced off the walls constructed with the softer, more supple Palmetto tree wood.
South Carolina Citizens for Life was incorporated in 1974 as an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee. Ever since, alongside NRLC’s other 49 state affiliates, we have worked tirelessly to restore legal protection to the unborn, to fend off the efforts of those who would medically neglect abortion survivors, and to halt the campaign to legalize assisted suicide.
You might not know South Carolina was the first state in the nation to enforce the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban in 1997 and one of the first to ban doctor prescribed suicide in 1998. Since 1990, our General Assembly has passed 15 pro-life laws and abortions occurring in South Carolina have plummeted by nearly 64 percent since 1988.
Of particular interest to the history of SCCL was our move in 2001 into an abandoned abortion facility, once run by the infamous abortionists Jesse Floyd. Floyd foreshadowed the criminal abortionist Kermit Gosnell in his reprehensible, filthy abortion practices. (See an investigative news report on our website at www.sclife.org/about by scrolling down to the video “Jesse Floyd.”)
Floyd’s own employees reported him to the health authorities when they observed him grinding up the bodies of aborted babies in the sink disposal and rinsing these human remains into the pubic water system. According to the health department, nothing could be done, because there were no regulations of store-front facilities that did abortions up to twelve weeks.
It was then that South Carolina Citizens for Life began an intensive, grassroots lobbying effort to pass the Abortion Clinic Regulation Act that ultimately survived a federal court challenge. As a result, the number of abortion business operating in South Carolina decreased from 14 to three.
After Floyd’s death, the abortion facility on Barnwell Street in Columbia, S.C., never reopened. Ultimately a Christian businessman, Denis Yeo, purchased the building for redemptive, grassroots pro-life work. South Carolina Citizen has been headquartered there ever since.
The National Right to Life Convention promises you not only an exhilarating pro-life experience, but a taste of classic Charleston Southern culture with local music and cuisine.
We hope to see you there.
I wouldn’t miss it for anything.