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Wedding & Event Venue Near Allendale, SC.

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Your Magic Moment Awaits

Your wedding day. Without a doubt, it's one of the most significant events you will ever experience - when you and the love of your life officially seal the deal and get married. On this day, your friends and family will gather to celebrate the next step in your life. Photographers will be running around snapping photos, catering plates delicious food for guests to enjoy, and the DJ sets the mood for a night of fun and libation. You've worked extra hard to make everything look perfect and run smoothly. You have examined every moving part down to the tiniest detail. At the center of all your effort is your wedding venue in Allendale, SC.

Your event space can mean the difference between an unforgettable event and an average occasion. Capturing your uniqueness as a couple is paramount to a memorable wedding. But, without the right venue location and staff, your unforgettable event can turn into a painfully average occasion. Fortunately, at Abney Hall, you won't ever have to worry about dingy reception spaces and crummy chow halls.

Constructed in Allendale, SC, in 1962, Abney Hall is 15,000 square feet and sits on 500 acres of land, making it a large wedding venue unlike any other. Abney Hall was originally the home of Mrs. Josephine Abney, a Allendale native who was a lifelong philanthropist. Mrs. Abney devoted much of her time and effort towards supporting charities, educational institutions, hospitals, and other noble efforts. Today, Abney Hall stands tall as a symbol of love, both in our community and for the couples who choose to get married here.

Abney Hall is an exclusive event experience unlike any other, surrounded by verdant forests and sparkling ponds. Our venue is a natural fit for several occasions, including:

Special Event Space Allendale, SC


 Event Venue Allendale, SC

Bridal Showers

 Event Space Allendale, SC

Bridal Portraits

 Rehearsal Dinner Venue Allendale, SC

Rehearsal Dinners

 Bridal Shower Venue Allendale, SC

Corporate Events

 Business Event Space Allendale, SC

Much More!

 Wedding Space Allendale, SC

The Top Wedding Venue in Allendale, SC

The beginning of your life starts at Abney Hall. With our team by your side, we can create the fairy tale wedding you have dreamed about since childhood. Whether you have 100 guests or 1,000, our waterfront ceremony locations and French-inspired courtyard are perfect for your big day. Celebrate in luxurious style surrounded by shady magnolia trees, a private forest, large ponds, and the beauty of Mother Nature. While our venue location and aesthetic have been praised far and wide, so too have the practical aspects of Abney Hall. Looking for a relaxing, comfortable spot for your bridal party to get ready in? We offer an entire floor in the Abney Hall residence to get the bridal party ready. Want to make your groomsman feel extra-special too? We've got a private, plush house just feet from a sparkling pond that is a proper hangout spot for the guys in your group.

To make life easier on you, we also offer Abney Hall as your go-to spot for rehearsal dinners. Why book an expensive restaurant or travel to another location when unmatched beauty and convenience are right at your fingertips? Abney Hall is just the place for that very important dinner the night before your big day. We are also happy to host your bridal shower at Abney Hall. Our venue makes for one of Allendale's most unique bridal shower settings, where your family and friends can gather to give gifts and be merry before you walk down the aisle.

With such a large, magnificent house and a vast property, Abney Hall also makes for an unforgettable location for your bridal portraits and other wedding-related photography needs. Don't take our word for it - book a tour and see for yourself why so many new brides and grooms choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Allendale.

 Wedding Venue Allendale, SC

What Sets Abney Hall Apart from Other Wedding Venues in Allendale?

You've already found the person you want to spend the rest of your life beside. The next step? Finding the perfect wedding venue for your ceremony, reception, and celebration of your lifelong commitment to one another. Remember, the backdrop for photos, dancing, eating, and all other activities will be at your wedding venue. That's why we work so hard to set Abney Hall apart from our competitors - so you and your guests can focus on love and living your new life while we work with your vendors and photographers to make your magic night a reality.

Here are just a few reasons why guests choose Abney Hall as their wedding venue in Allendale, SC, along with some helpful tips from our experienced wedding venue staff:

Venue Size

Choosing the appropriate-sied venue for your desired guest count is a critical decision. A venue's capacity affects the number of people you need to consider having at your ceremony and reception. As you're first starting out, we recommend having a guest count in mind as you're searching for the right venue. Try to stick with that number. You may fall in love with a particular venue, but if its max capacity can't accommodate your guest count, it may be time to cross them off your list.

 Corporate Conference Hall Allendale, SC
Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that this is your big day. You shouldn't feel obligated to invite the college roommate you shared a dorm with for one semester. At the end of the day, your wedding venue should be one that can accommodate those closest to you. Abney Hall is equipped for both small and large weddings, consisting of 500 acres of forest, ponds, and lush natural beauty. Whether you want an intimate wedding with only your best friends or a grand ceremony with hundreds of people, we have the right amount of room to make you comfortable.

Location and Nearby Lodging

On your big day, you're likely to have friends and family traveling in from other parts of the state or country. These folks will need a place to stay during and even after your wedding. Accessibility and ease are important factors when it comes to choosing your wedding venue for both you and your guests.

Located in Allendale, SC, Abney Hall is situated in a memorable, natural setting, giving your wedding a private vibe in the midst of Mother Nature. While we pride ourselves on having a secluded wedding event space, our venue is within an easy driving distance of hotels and vacation rentals.

Abney Hall Pro Tip

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

When you contact us for a tour, make sure to speak with our experienced venue manager about nearby hotels and shuttle service options. We understand that your guest's comfort and convenience are important, and we're happy to work with you to figure out the best way to get your guests to Abney Hall.

Venue Staff

At Abney Hall, our staff has earned its reputation as one of the industry's most friendly, accessible teams. We will provide you with a purpose-minded point of contact that can help answer questions relating to timelines, preferred vendors, and every aspect of your wedding. When you tour our wedding venue in Allendale, SC, for the first time, we want you to feel like you have all the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.

We would be happy to go over:
  • Venue Pricing
  • Ceremony Specifics
  • Reception Specifics
  • Catering Possibilities
  • Decorating Possibilities
  • Entertainment Options
  • Photography and Photo Opportunities
  • Venue Amenities
  • Bridal Party Needs
  • Groomsman Needs

At Abney Hall, our goal is to be your first resource when it comes to setting up and coordinating the details of your wedding day.


When it comes to your wedding's decor, you probably already have a few ideas in mind. We love it when our brides and grooms have a vision in mind because one of our greatest joys is turning that vision into a reality. At Abney Hall, our team is available to help you and your decorator fit, accent, and accommodate your fairy-tale wedding - whatever that may be.

Are you looking to dress up your wedding with decorations galore? Just want to add a few accents that tie into your preferred color palette? Abney Hall is versatile and ready to help however we are able.

 Reception Hall Allendale, SC

Abney Hall Pro Tip:

If you're thinking about bringing in your own greenery, lighting, floral pieces, and more, we recommend discussing your vision with us on your initial tour of our event space. That way, we can get a head start on making your big day exactly how you envision it.

Photo Opportunities

10 years from now, when you and your spouse are celebrating your anniversary, you will pull out photographs from your wedding and will reminisce about the unforgettable time you spent at Abney Hall. Your wedding photos will be with you forever, and as such, we work closely with you and your photographer to suggest extra-special photo op spots that you can only find on Abney Hall grounds.

From the grand staircase and French-inspired courtyard to our manicured gardens and lovely pond, there is no shortage of photo-op locations for your photographer to choose from. As one of the most popular wedding venues in Allendale, SC, we have worked with dozens of photographers over the years.

Our experience has allowed us to cultivate a list of preferred photographers - all of whom have the talent to take your pictures to the next level in a setting they're familiar with. We encourage you to check out our gallery to get a sense of the scope of our wedding venue and gain inspiration from other happy couples.


Abney Hall Pro Tip

The gallery on our website is extensive but be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages as well. We keep our social pages updated with recent wedding photographs, giving you an incredible resource that you can use for your own photography purposes.

Special Event Space Allendale, SC

The Premier Corporate Event Venue in Allendale, SC

Abney Hall is known across the United States for our stunning weddings, but we also play host to some of the largest corporate events in South Carolina. Why choose a bland, lifeless meeting space when you can enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature coupled with a professional atmosphere? If you have an important team-building event or corporate conference that you have to coordinate, look no further than Abney Hall.

The epitome of class and style, our corporate event space is large, lavish, and chock-full of onsite amenities for you and your co-workers to enjoy. If your team needs a morale boost, don't bring them to the local Olive Garden for a cheap lunch. Treat them to a refreshing experience in our main dining room, where we can work with you to incorporate your catering options with the goals of your event.

When the hard work is done, and your team needs a breather, what better way to relax than with a quick dip in our pool? To burn off a little steam, head over to our brand-new tennis court - the perfect place to get some exercise in an ultra-private setting while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Don't forget to bring your fishing poles for a couple of hours of fishing. There's even an opportunity to go hunting if you wish.

 Event Venue Allendale, SC

Elegance at Its Finest - Only
a Phone Call Away

If you're ready to learn more about Abney Hall as your wedding venue, don't hesitate to reach out. We would love to hear more about your plans, your vision, and your needs. We know that planning a wedding isn't easy. It takes time, attention to detail, and a whole lot of patience. Our goal is to help provide you with all the info you need to learn more about our venue. Once you decide on a date, we'll work closely with you and your vendors to craft a wedding experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

Our available dates for your big day are going quick, especially during peak seasons like spring and fall. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Contact us today for a FREE initial consultation
 Event Space Allendale, SC

Latest News in Allendale, SC

A man captured video of a large tornado in South Carolina. Here's what it looked like.

Heavy damage has been reported in the area after a large tornado came through the rural area in South Carolina.ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. — A large, dangerous tornado is confirmed to have touched down in Allendale County, South Carolina, but the full scope of the damage it caused is still being evaulated.The twister was seen on radar...

Heavy damage has been reported in the area after a large tornado came through the rural area in South Carolina.

ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. — A large, dangerous tornado is confirmed to have touched down in Allendale County, South Carolina, but the full scope of the damage it caused is still being evaulated.

The twister was seen on radar around 4 p.m. Eastern Tuesday, and quickly, there was high concern. Forecaster could see a strong area of rotation with the system, and the debris that the storm was creating could be seen on Doppler radar.

RELATED: Tornado warnings expire in the Midlands after large outbreak of severe weather in South Carolina

That prompted the National Weather Service to issue this rare statement, a tornado emergency: "A Tornado Emergency is in affect for Allendale, SC and headed toward Sycamore, SC. THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION!!"

Videos quickly surfaced on social media showing the large twister on the ground. At present, it's not known exactly how large or how fast the wind speeds were. That evaluation will come later by National Weather Service officials.

RELATED: Here's the latest updates on tornadoes, storm damage in the Midlands

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division said they have one confirmed injury but that one is non life-threatening. An earlier report of a storm-related death appears to have been inaccurate, according to the agency.

Images of downed trees and power lines and other damage showed some of destruction. Emergency teams from both the county and state officials were sent to assess the situation.

Edisto Electric Cooperative, which serves that area, confirmed the winds had damaged parts of our distribution system in that area, including at least three substations. Customers were urged to call 1-800-433-3292 to report outages.

The Allendale County School District confirmed there will be no class on Wednesday due to the damage.

A rapidly moving cluster of thunderstorms was responsible for the severe weather outbreak. In anticipation of severe weather, the Storm Prediction Center has placed the southern Midlands in an enhanced risk of severe weather, and that turned out to be the area that saw the worst of the storms.

Historically, South Carolina's greatest risk for tornadoes is the month of April.

Three injuries reported after tornado rips through Allendale

ALLENDALE, S.C. (WIS) – On Wednesday families in Allendale County were picking up the pieces after a tornado ripped through the area on Tuesday, leaving significant damage.According to the South Carolina Emergency Division, three non-life-threatening injuries have been reported.The American Red Cross of South Carolina is currently assisting 15 families after the tornado impacted their ho...

ALLENDALE, S.C. (WIS) – On Wednesday families in Allendale County were picking up the pieces after a tornado ripped through the area on Tuesday, leaving significant damage.

According to the South Carolina Emergency Division, three non-life-threatening injuries have been reported.

The American Red Cross of South Carolina is currently assisting 15 families after the tornado impacted their homes.

Representative Justin Bamberg has asked that Governor Henry McMaster declare a state of emergency in Allendale and Bamberg counties.

Officials say four homes were destroyed, five homes had major damage and six homes had minor damage. More damage assessments will be done Wednesday.

Eletha Kearse, who lives in Ulmer, suffered damage to her trailer, and is praising God because she said it could have been much worse.

As a tornado ripped through the county, Kearse was watching coverage on TV until it came to her doorstep.

“I’m letting everybody else know what the storm was doing, and not knowing not that the storm was headed our way,” she said. “Next thing you know lights went off, next thing you know I heard a sound over my trailer. And I said ‘Lord, it done hit.’ And all I could do was just pray and cry and just ask the Lord just to cover us.”

Half of her awning got blown to the other side of the home.

The window of Kearse’s car got smashed by a refrigerator that was outside. She credits her carport for stopping the fridge from being picked up and thrown on top her home.

There’s also a leak on inside, and she didn’t have power until 7am this morning.

“We could’ve been gone yesterday but God spared our life because as you know, a trailer don’t stand a chance on a tornado, that’s just like a piece of paper,” she said. “So like I said, I am truly blessed. My daughter and my niece are truly blessed today because we’re alive and this is my testimony that I can tell people, do not take a tornado for a joke because it is real.”

Surveying storm damage across the county on Wednesday, WIS found trees ripped up and downed power lines on multiple roads.

WIS also found metal tanks rolled across fields on Railroad Ave. in Allendale, and cars smothered by fallen trees.

There were also collapsed silos on farms, and all sheet metal crumpled like aluminum foil.

Amid the wreckage, Kearse found perspective.

“Like I tell people, my trailer and my car are material things, but God spared our life yesterday and that’s a blessing,” she said.

Allendale County Schools were closed on Wednesday, and will be closed again on Thursday.

Allendale-Fairfax Elementary School was used as a shelter on Tuesday night following the storm.

The Red Cross tells WIS that it’s unclear at this point if the school will be reopened as a shelter on Wednesday night.

Per SCEMD, those wanting to help Allendale County residents affected by the recent storm in Allendale County can make donations of non-perishable food and cleaning supplies. You can do that by calling 803-584-4556 or 706-360-0443.

#Allendale residents who are safe in their houses need to stay home & off the roads.Emergency responders are answering calls rights now.They need the roads cleared of other drivers as they work around debris and help those in need of help.If you have an emergency, call 911.

— SCEMD (@SCEMD) April 5, 2022

SCEMD tweeted these photos after the storm Tuesday.

Copyright 2022 WIS. All rights reserved.

Notice a spelling or grammar error in this article? Click or tap here to report it. Please include the article’s headline.

Queen Wood Products expanding operations in Allendale County

More than $6 million investment will create 19 new jobs COLUMBIA, S.C. – Queen Wood Products, a subsidiary of Queen Horse Bedding, today announced plans to expand operations in Allendale County. The more than $6 million investment will create 19 new jobs.Founded in 1998, Queen Wood Products is a family-owned and -operated business that specializes in providing wood shavings for barn stall...

COLUMBIA, S.C. Queen Wood Products, a subsidiary of Queen Horse Bedding, today announced plans to expand operations in Allendale County. The more than $6 million investment will create 19 new jobs.

Founded in 1998, Queen Wood Products is a family-owned and -operated business that specializes in providing wood shavings for barn stalls.

Expanding to 538 Multitex Street in Ulmer, Queen Wood Products’ new location will increase the company’s capacity to meet growing demand.

The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2021. Individuals interested in joining the Queen Wood Products team should call (803) 584-4777.

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved a $250,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to Allendale County to assist with costs related to the project.


“Queen Wood Products is excited to announce its expansion to the old Mohawk Carpet facility in Ulmer, S.C. The move to Ulmer is just minutes down the road from our original location in Allendale, where we have enjoyed doing business since 1998. We will be spending over $6 million and the expansion will allow for 19 additional jobs. We are hoping to be up and running in Ulmer with the first phase in September and should have the next phase in operation by the end of 2021.” -Queen Wood Products Owner Skip Queen

“Queen Wood Products’ decision to expand in Allendale County is a testament to our state’s world-class workforce and strong business environment. We congratulate them on this $6 million investment and the addition of 19 new jobs and look forward to seeing them continue to succeed in our state for years to come.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“I am proud that Queen Wood Products has decided to expand their Allendale County operations and create 19 new jobs in one of our state’s rural communities. This expansion is great news for Allendale County and the entire state of South Carolina.” -Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt

“Allendale County congratulates Skip Queen on this achievement of expanding his company’s footprint. We appreciate the impact Queen Wood Products has in our county, providing direct and indirect jobs to many families in the region. We look forward to working with his team to make sure we provide the best business environment for his continued success.” -Allendale County Council Chairman Rick Gooding

“SouthernCarolina Alliance (SCA) salutes Queen Wood Products, a great renewable resource industry that has flourished in Allendale County. We are proud of Queen Wood Products’ success, which is a great American success story built on ingenuity and determination combined with the hard work of local employees and resources. SCA congratulates Skip Queen and will continue to assist him in growing his operations in our region.” -SouthernCarolina Alliance Chairman Marty Sauls

“We welcome Skip Queen and Queen Wood Products to Ulmer. Their investment and job creation will boost our local economy, and we are happy to have this longtime Allendale County business expanding in Ulmer.” -Mayor of Ulmer Ervin Mathias

Editorial: SC Education Department must keep up pressure on districts, despite pushback

The decision by a Columbia school district to fight the state’s efforts to get the district’s fiscal house in order is a painful reminder that all too often, troubled school districts don’t welcome anyone trying to set them on the right course. It’s also a reminder of how crucial it is for the S.C. Education Department to continue its often-thankless work in this area.The idea that it’s the Legislature’s job to provide a decent education to all kids — and therefore it’s the state’s...

The decision by a Columbia school district to fight the state’s efforts to get the district’s fiscal house in order is a painful reminder that all too often, troubled school districts don’t welcome anyone trying to set them on the right course. It’s also a reminder of how crucial it is for the S.C. Education Department to continue its often-thankless work in this area.

The idea that it’s the Legislature’s job to provide a decent education to all kids — and therefore it’s the state’s job to ensure that the legislatively created districts are doing that — has been slow in taking.

After the pushback that then-S.C. Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum got from her efforts early in this century to improve Allendale County schools, the state backed off for years, experimenting with an all-carrot approach that didn’t provide a whole lot of carrots. And it didn’t get the job done.

It was only after Superintendent Molly Spearman took office in 2016 that the Education Department and the Legislature worked together to create a clearly defined system for providing troubled districts with assistance, whether they wanted it or not. The result was a series of district takeovers — some welcomed and some not — that has produced modest improvements.

State law now spells out a series of interventions the department is to take to help districts correct both fiscal and academic problems. The new law recognizes that problems in either area can result in children being cheated out of a decent education.

Currently, the agency is running the school districts in Allendale and Williamsburg counties. It had hoped to return control to the Allendale district this year, but that effort was delayed after voters elected a felon who is barred from holding office; that mess, along with another board member’s election to the county council, temporarily left an incomplete school board that Ms. Spearman didn’t feel comfortable putting back in charge.

An additional 300 schools are receiving special attention from the state agency to improve the education they deliver to the students. If things go well, the state will step away; if not, the state could intensify its oversight.

On the financial side, one district is under what’s called fiscal caution, the lowest level of supervision, while four are on fiscal watch, the middle level of oversight and the one that Ms. Spearman imposed on Richland School District One after an audit of its spending practices.

That audit followed reporting by The Post and Courier’s Avery Wilks that found misspending by district employees, including a former purchasing official who has since been indicted on embezzlement and corruption charges and whom the district did not fire but instead allowed to resign. The state audit confirmed that the district’s lax oversight allowed employees to spend taxpayer dollars on personal items, swipe their district procurement cards with vendors that were supposed to be banned and regularly fail to document their spending with receipts.

Fiscal watch, as Mr. Wilks reports, is simply “an unbecoming designation that requires school districts to work with the Education Department to improve their financial practices” — something that shouldn’t be a problem for a district that’s done nothing wrong, as Richland One insists is the case.

Unfortunately, Richland One’s leaders, like the leaders in so many districts that are clearly failing to deliver the education their students need and deserve, have no interest in being told they need to do better. So on Tuesday, they voted to appeal the designation.

That likely will keep the situation in limbo until after Ms. Spearman leaves office next month.

Her successor, Ellen Weaver, has a lot of work to do to gain the level of trust that Ms. Spearman has won throughout most of the state’s education community. While Ms. Weaver works to gain that trust, it’s essential that she also keep the pressure on districts that aren’t delivering. It’s a difficult balancing act, but one she must achieve.

Thousands of SC women are living in maternity care ‘deserts,’ map shows

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A growing number of women in South Carolina are living without access to maternity care, according to a new map.The map, released by the University of South Carolina (USC), shows the number of clinics, hospitals, licensed midwives, and other women’s health providers available in the state.Thousands of women in the state are livin...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A growing number of women in South Carolina are living without access to maternity care, according to a new map.

The map, released by the University of South Carolina (USC), shows the number of clinics, hospitals, licensed midwives, and other women’s health providers available in the state.

Thousands of women in the state are living in a maternity care desert—an area without a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care and without any obstetric providers.

The map also highlights the inadequacy of maternity care in rural parts of the state. Five counties in South Carolina currently have limited or no pregnancy and childbirth-related health services, including Allendale, Barnwell, Greenwood, Saluda, and Williamsburg counties.

“You’ve got several counties where someone would have to travel more than 30 minutes to an hour to get to a prenatal care provider,” Kathryn Luchok, a senior instructor of women’s and gender studies at USC said.” “It essentially affects all of the rural residents of South Carolina.”

And, the problem of rural healthcare disparities is worsening across the state, according to advocates.

“Our numbers for care deserts is up,” March of Dimes’ Director of Maternal Infant Health for South Carolina Tameca Wilson said. “During the period of COVID, we’ve lost some providers and some practices may have closed in our rural areas.”

Maternity care deserts can contribute to a lack of prenatal care during pregnancy or treatment for pregnancy complications.

A 2022 March of Dimes report found that 18 percent of South Carolina mothers received inadequate prenatal care compared to 14.5 percent nationally.

“Some kinds of problems that might develop during pregnancy can be targeted and addressed during that time,” she said. “So, if you have someone who has missed a lot of those visits, you might miss a problem that’s going to come up in delivery that you weren’t expecting.”

Those regions with fewer services also tend to have lower quality birth outcomes, Luchok said, which includes higher infant and maternal mortality rates.

“A lot of people go in and out of care and they don’t have those [preexisting conditions] well addressed, so they come into pregnancy already at a deficit that makes them more high risk,” “So they’re going to come into delivery perhaps with something major unaddressed that’s going to cause a problem during delivery.”

A DHEC study found that roughly 62% of maternal deaths between 2016 and 2020 in South Carolina were pregnancy-related and that more than two-thirds of those deaths were preventable.

But those results are even starker for women of color who have a maternal mortality rate 2.4 times higher than White women, according to the same study.

“That’s been like a 200-year disparity that has not gotten much better,” Luchok said.

Overall, March of Dimes gave the state an “F” grade for preterm births—a contributing factor to infant mortality. The 2022 infant mortality rate in South Carolina was 6.5 compared to 5.4 nationally.

“If we could make prenatal care very accessible to the maximum number of people in the state, we would probably see better birth outcomes,” Luchok said.

That sentiment is shared by Wilson who said, “Unfortunately, your zip code impacts the health of your baby.”

The disparity can be explained, in part, by the disproportionate access to healthcare and some expectant mothers needing to travel long distances to receive services.

For example, there are no obstetric service providers in Allendale, S.C., meaning a pregnant woman would have to travel at least 15 miles to reach the nearest clinic in Hampton, S.C. Depending on the circumstances, traveling may not be a feasible option for some women.

“If you are in a rural area without care, what else is missing in that area?” Wilson asked. “Is there limited access to food and grocery stores, is transportation a problem, are you an hourly employee which can also make a difference.”

Wilson added that the obstacles force some women to forgo prenatal care and education that would be beneficial for themselves, the baby, and their families.

Lawmakers and advocates pushing for policy changes

The March of Dimes highlights several policy changes which would improve the issue of maternity care deserts across South Carolina, many of which are echoed by Luchok.

One of those solutions would be to expand Medicaid coverage in the state to individuals who fall at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. Nonprofit organization KFF estimates that more than 105,000 uninsured adults in the coverage gap would become eligible if Medicaid was expanded statewide.

“The state has a huge number of births that are covered by Medicaid,” Luchok said. “There’s an extension of the women on income that expands when someone is pregnant, so once someone becomes pregnant, they can get Medicaid even if they weren’t eligible for it prior to their pregnancy.”

The organization also advocates for using alternative birthing services, such as midwives and doulas–who are licensed in South Carolina to carry equipment and medications and are required to have years of training and apprenticeships. The problem, however, is that most are clustered in urban areas and often not covered by insurance.

“A doula can be a person who can help in that education component and that care component just to bridge the gap—not replacing an obstetrics visit but just filling the gap,” Wilson explained. “Nationwide, we’re working on legislation to help make doula care something that is reimbursable so patients can use insurance to pay for this extended care.”

The rural healthcare disparity has also grabbed attention at the Statehouse where lawmakers have touted it as a top priority heading into the 2023 legislative session.

One step to improving healthcare in rural areas, according to S.C. Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R-Edgefield), would be to repeal the Certificate of Need requirement for new and expanding facilities across the state.

The Certificate of Need is approved by DHEC and can be challenged by competing for health systems, a process that can take years.

Supporters of the repeal like Sen. Massey believe that process is outdated, but opponents like the South Carolina Hospital Association say it protects rural hospitals and can prevent hospitals from overspending because of competition.

Legislation to repeal the requirement passed the Senate last year but stalled in the House. Sen. Massey said he expects the issue to be taken up again in the Senate again early in the session.

South Carolinians living in maternity care deserts can use the USC map to find services and providers closest to them.


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