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Protest in New Orleans demands non-enforcement of abortion bans

By Jennifer Lin

New Orleans protest against attacks on abortion rights.

New Orleans, LA – On May 7, over 100 people gathered on the steps across from Jackson Square in the French Quarter to fight for reproductive rights. The event was organized in response to a leaked draft decision from the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade. Protesters carried signs and banners and raised their fists to chants of “Abortion is healthcare!” “We won’t go back!” and “Not the church, not the state! People must decide their fate!”

Organizers pushed three main demands: That the mayor and the district attorney must refuse to enforce any laws criminalizing abortion; that major hospital networks must enact a “No Snitching Policy” and refuse to report patients seeking care for self-managed abortions, and that the Louisiana State Police must leave New Orleans. Even if the city refuses to prosecute residents, they may still be subject to enforcement by state police.

Quest Riggs, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization of New Orleans, explained how anti-abortion laws would open the door to attacks on other reproductive rights, including the use of contraceptives. Riggs highlighted how these attacks would hit oppressed nationality women first and hardest. They called for everyone to unite in solidarity to beat back these legislative attacks, chanting, “An attack on one is an attack on all!”

J Martel, an organizer with New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police, highlighted how laws criminalizing abortion would put people at risk of experiencing increased police violence. They uplifted the demand for Louisiana State Police to leave New Orleans immediately. Martel connected the fight for reproductive rights to the fight against police crimes, including local struggles to establish community oversight of police.

David Eden Abraham of Real Name Campaign NOLA, an organization fighting for accessible name and gender marker changes, drew connections between women’s and reproductive rights movements and LGBT+ movements. He explained how trans masculine and non-binary people struggle to access both reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming healthcare. “The right to an abortion is inherently a part of women’s rights. But I also want people in this movement to pledge to include trans masculine, non-binary, and intersex people in this work”, he told the crowd. The Louisiana legislature is considering a bill that would classify abortion as homicide and effectively ban assistive reproduction and various methods of contraception (HB 813). The people of New Orleans are showing that they will not stand down in the face of these state and national attacks. Republicans will not back down and Democrats will not put up a fight unless the people continue to wage mass struggle.

Organizations leading the event included Women With a Vision, New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America, the Louisiana Communist Party, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police, and Real Name Campaign.

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