Free Abortion, On Demand, Without Apology


Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has signaled his intention to sign the “fetal heartbeat bill” (SB 184, HB 133, HB 484) that would criminalize abortion after a heartbeat is detected, usually at 6 weeks. This bill is the result of decades of work by anti-choice zealots to shut down abortion access state by state.

This bill won’t protect life in Louisiana. It won’t do anything about the maternal mortality rate that is the 2nd worst in the country. It won’t stop the 45% of pregnancy-related deaths that are preventable. It won’t address the fact that childbirth is 4x more deadly for black people in Louisiana, and 3x more deadly for parents over 35. It won’t provide greater access to healthcare. It won’t help a single person living in this state.

It won’t help parents provide for their children’s food, shelter, education, or healthcare. It won’t create jobs and livelihoods to sustain families. It won’t stop violence. This bill is meant to punish and dominate. To steal autonomy and choice from pregnant people. This bill is designed — as most of Louisiana’s abortion laws are designed — to punish working class people and make our lives harder. Already, 95% of parishes don’t have an abortion clinic (75% of Louisianans live in a parish without a clinic). People seeking abortions already have to arrange transportation and travel, take multiple days off work, receive medically unnecessary ultrasounds and state-mandated counseling, and self-fund procedures that cost hundreds of dollars — starting around $500 in the first trimester and getting more expensive as time passes.

New Orleans Abortion Fund has been bridging the gap between the women of Louisiana and access to abortion health care. NOAF has helped over 1,200 people access abortion healthcare, has trained and organized hundreds of clinic escorts, and has fought the Louisiana legislature’s continued attacks on reproductive rights. NOAF is hosting 3 actions this week:
1. Tuesday, May 21st, 5-7 p.m.: Abortion Action Happy Hour at 12 Mile Limit
2. Wednesday, May 22nd, 12 p.m.: Join NOAF and Women With a Vision for Just Laws or Outlaws: Take to the Streets at 1 Shell Plaza
3. Thursday, May 23rd, 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Abortion Action Happy Hour at Sidney’s Saloon

This fight for abortion access cannot be limited to protesting this single act of legislation. This bill is a result of decades of anti-choice cruelty disguised as morality, an encroachment made possible by the Democratic party leadership’s unwillingness to adhere to even the most basic of socially progressive ideals. The fight for abortion access should be understood as a necessary part in a broader movement for basic rights, freedoms, and justice for working people in Louisiana and beyond.

As our representatives in Baton Rouge fail to prioritize our city’s water, our streets, and our housing, they also systematically fail to protect our basic human needs for reproductive justice. This latest betrayal by Democrats stresses the truth that people of color, working-class people, and LGBTQIA+ folks have always known: Louisiana Democrats will hold our votes hostage with the threat of a MORE authoritarian right. They use our justifiable fear of Republican government to tether us to their weak positions while giving us the barest minimum in return. They want to keep us poor, in debt, pregnant, and clinging to survival so we will never have the energy to fight.

The right will continue to leverage exemptions for victims of sexual violence as compromise, and the Democrats will continue to cave and jeopardize the healthcare of people seeking abortions. We refuse this weak position. We demand free abortion, on demand, with no apologies. The capitalist system we live in consistently undervalues the labor of reproduction. It undervalues our children and our love. We see through this attempt to legislate our bodies that they justify as a commitment to human life. We know our value and our power. Our rage and fear are not useless or isolating, they are unifying and powerful. Together we will put our bodies in the streets and organize, not only against regressive attacks on abortion healthcare, but to build a better world with health justice for all.

We believe that we deserve health justice in Louisiana. We envision a future where children are raised by loving families with safe shelter, with food, with quality education and healthcare. A world where we fight back against climate violence. Where no one lives in a place nicknamed “Cancer Alley.” Where we aren’t in the top 5 states with the highest rates of death from gun violence. We want to replace violence with justice. It will take all of us working together to get there.

Our vision begins with expanded and improved Medicare for All: comprehensive health care that covers every single person in the country, for all medical, dental, vision, and mental health needs. For free, with no copays, premiums, or deductibles. Ever. Including free abortion, on demand, without apology.

We believe that reproductive labor (the labor of rearing children, keeping a home, and caring for our elderly) has undeniable value. We believe in a future where decisions to have or not have children are never based on anything but the desires of the individuals involved. Where paid family leave, free universal childcare, living wages, equal pay, and good, reliable public education are standard.

Socialist feminism rejects the feminism that glorifies female billionaires who profit off the backs of working women or celebrates female military leaders while ignoring the women suffering under the bombs they drop. We reject a capitalist feminism that relies on the subjugation of women in the global south for the “freedom” of women in the global north.

We envision a Louisiana where all people have body autonomy, where legislators don’t mockingly toss dollar bills while voting to restrict adult’s access to work. Where all people, no matter their race, immigration status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, can seek reproductive healthcare free of harassment and state violence.

New Orleans DSA is here to fight with you for a better world. That includes defending abortion rights as well defending workers’ rights and the human right to clean air, land, and water. We can win if we build a movement together.

New Orleans DSA will host a free film screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry on Saturday, June 1st at The Dragonfly (3921 St Claude Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117). Mary Dore’s powerful documentary features interviews with over 30 activists who were at the heart of the early women’s liberation movement (1966-1971), including women involved in the National Organization for Women, the Young Lords, and JANE, Chicago’s underground abortion service. Join us in learning from the work of activists before us and for discussions of how we can build on their legacy.
Doors at 6:30, screening at 7 p.m. Dinner provided (additional potluck contributions welcome!). Tea and soft drinks served. (BYOB if desired.) Children welcome. Please email about childcare, accessibility, or any other questions.

Learn more about how to donate, volunteer, and organize with New Orleans Abortion Fund here
Learn more about how to donate, volunteer, and organize with Women with a Vision here
Learn more about how to donate, volunteer, and organize with LIFT Louisiana here
Join the Democratic Socialists of America and fill out the ‘Get Involved’ form at the top of our page to connect with the New Orleans chapter.