In a response to the abortion restrictions speeding through the Louisiana Legislature — and state legislatures around the country — abortion rights activists are planning a protest at One Shell Square (701 Poydras St.) at noon on Wednesday.
Amy Irvin, director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, said the event is “part two” of the demonstration that took place at the Capitol on the Wednesday, where ten activists held a “die-in” — complete with fake blood — to protest the restrictions.
Lakeesha Harris, director of reproductive health and justice at Women With A Vision in New Orleans, read demands for abortion rights, equal pay and an end to maternal mortality as part of the demonstration. Protesters chanted for around half an hour before being arrested and escorted out the Capitol by security.
Jennifer McCoy returned to the State Capitol to testify again for Milkovich’s bill. Last month, her appearance attracted attention when it was discovered she served 30 months in prison for conspiracy to commit arson at two Virginia abortion clinics.
Irvin, who has testified against the current abortion bills before legislators, said she and others felt it was time to take take a different, additional approach.
“Despite years of testimony, legislators continue to pass anti-choice bills that would limit access to abortion,” Irvin said. “They seem to ignore the facts...So after years of doing this and legislation still being passed, the stories and real experiences of women being ignored, we thought it was important to do something more drastic.”
The New Orleans Abortion Fund, Women With a Vision and the New Orleans Peoples’ Assembly are organizing the second protest — titled “Just Laws or Outlaws: Take to the Streets” — which Irvin said will “bring the same sort of tone and sense of demonstration” as the first.
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“Here in New Orleans, we know that not everyone can take a full day off to go to Baton Rouge to sit in a committee hearing or engage their legislator at the Capitol,” Irvin said. “This is an opportunity for people to come out during their lunch hour and show their opposition to abortion bans and the attack on reproductive justice.”
At the time of publication, 96 people have replied to the event on Facebook saying they are going, while 255 have indicated they’re interested.
“This is not going to be business as usual,” Irvin said.