New Orleanians already have a plan in place to rally against the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling with protests planned outside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals downtown. We always have a plan because, as one of many sacrifice zones, the whole Gulf South knows we’re better off relying on each other, whether that be through mutual aid or volunteering or doing what we do best and sharing culture. Hell, the show I went to last night was a benefit, and I can imagine more benefits popping up to help those seeking abortions make the arduous trip away from the place they love that clearly doesn’t love them back.
The overturning of Roe is also not just about abortion. Reproductive rights are an intersectional issue tied to environmental justice and health justice and so many other issues—all of which hit vulnerable communities the hardest, especially in states like mine. It feels like genocide to have policies like Louisiana’s in place, especially given the state’s sky-high poverty rate and ongoing crisis when it comes to health care access. There are ways to help, including donating to support clinics that offer ways of helping those seeking an abortion in “trigger law” states like mine. And pushing back against the opportunistic lawmakers who take advantage of horrible moments like these.
Louisiana’s been the canary in the coal mine for an awful lot of issues, and abortion rights certainly doesn’t feel like an exception. I’m going through a hellscape of emotions grieving this loss of bodily autonomy and also a feeling of deja vu because maybe I never had it in the first place. Were I stuck carrying a child to term, I’d be truly putting my life at risk given Louisiana’s high maternal mortality rate and history of racist health care practices. I’m lucky to have the privilege of even knowing my rights and the ability to advocate for them, but at the end of the day I’m a childless Latina woman living in a white supremacist society. No structure of power—certainly not the Supreme Court—has ever given a fuck about me.
I’m certainly not naive enough to think this is the end of the battle for reproductive justice, though. That resilience people throw at poor southern states? I’m gonna use it to fight this ruling and the laws attached to it with every fibre of my being. Louisiana and so many communities know to look out for each other, and this is one of those moments where there’s strength in our collective power. It’s what makes states like mine worth fighting for and makes those fights so empowering. From the abortion safe havens to the most vulnerable underresourced communities, we’re in this together. And if we’re not all free, no one is.