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Midlands organizations feeling impact of SC's latest abortion law

DayBreak Lifecare Center and Palmetto State Abortion fund are seeing stark increases in clients

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The DayBreak Lifecare Center in Columbia has been helping women facing unplanned pregnancies for more than a decade. 

The faith-based center does not perform abortions, but offers services like free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. 

"We provide diapers, formula, clothes, counseling services and we have parenting classes," said executive director Eddie Benton. 

Benton said mothers and fathers are able to come back to DayBreak for free diapers, baby formula, and baby clothes for up to a year after their child is born. 

Within the center is 'Taylor's Boutique', a large, decorated room filled with brand new blue and pink baby clothes. There is also a section of gently used maternity clothes and strollers, car seats, and more.  

"Once they’ve made the decision to carry the baby, we want this to be a pleasant experience," said Benton as he walked around the boutique.  

In 2021, 700 women walked through the center's doors. 

But in the post-Roe Era that began last month, that number is growing. 

"We’ve seen an Increase in requests for appointments," said Benton. "We welcome that additional activity."

However, for those seeking an abortion after six-weeks, traveling across state lines is their only option.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic tells News 19 they have referred on average, more than a dozen South Carolina Residents a day from their South Carolina Health Centers to clinics in North Carolina, where the law still allows the procedure. 

In a statement to News 19 Planned Parenthood said in part:

"This week, more than a third of the patients seeking an abortion at our North Carolina health centers are from out-of-state, the vast majority of whom are from Tennessee and South Carolina."

Many women are turning to organizations like the Palmetto State Abortion Fund, which helps women pay for abortion care and other costs associated with it.

RELATED: South Carolina center helps women facing crisis pregnancy

"Before Roe fell we were probably helping only like, let's say, four to five clients a month. This month alone. We've helped over 10," , said Director of College outreach for the Palmetto State abortion fund Talisa Effinger.

Effinger said demand and support has never been higher. 

"We've had so many people pouring into volunteer so many donations, followers, people who are just outraged and ready to speak out about how they feel," said Effinger.

With state lawmakers preparing to pass more restrictive abortion laws, both organizations are standing ready.

"I think that's where we are just trying to see like, long term, how can we continue to service the numbers we don't want to turn anyone away," said Effinger. 

"We Can handle anyone who wants to come here and we hope they will," said Benton.

 Both organizations rely on the help of volunteers and donations. 

Thursday's public hearing on abortion legislation will begin at 12 p.m. in room 110 at the Blatt Building on the State House Grounds. Those who want to speak will have to do so in person. 

RELATED: 'Equal Protection at Conception' Act would ban nearly all abortions in South Carolina

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