Friday, June 24, 2022

New Orleans last abortion mill is now closed; In Louisiana abortion is immediately illegal


New Orleans abortion clinic closed, workers sent home after Roe v. Wade overturned

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its Roe v. Wade decision on Friday, activists gathered outside New Orleans’ only abortion clinic as workers locked its doors for the last time.

Their reactions were visceral: A Tulane Law student worried that women’s rights were being systematically stripped away as a pastor praised the glorious day that babies’ lives were saved.

And by 11 a.m., it was quiet again.

The Supreme Court’s decision ended constitutional protections for abortion that had existed for nearly 50 years, and is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half of the states, including Louisiana. The state’s three abortion clinics, including in New Orleans, were forced to shutter.

“I started sobbing in the car,” said State Rep. Mandie Landry, speaking to journalists outside of the closed clinic. Louisiana’s three clinics had been overwhelmed in recent weeks, she said, with women seeking abortions ahead of the ban, and from those traveling from out of state to take advantage of the clinics before they shuttered.

She said she worried for women who would seek abortions regardless of the state’s decision to ban them. “Those coat hanger stories are real,” Landry said.

Janet Bacon, a member of Raven Ministries in Gretna, arrived to the clinic Friday morning as she does each week to pray for the women and workers inside. “I guess we’re not praying here today,” she said. “Our prayers have already been answered.”

Shortly after, Rebecca Goldstein, a student at Tulane Law, said the highest court’s decision was “devastating and horrible,” adding that it most deeply hurt women living in poverty and minorities. “Rich white women will always have access to abortions,” Goldstein said.

Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in Metairie, said he had been “praying for this day for 36 years.” There were 10 abortion clinics three decades ago when he began his outreached, he noted as he stood in front of the city’s last and now closed abortion clinic.

“No little boys and girls will be killed in this city anymore,” he said.

Moments later, a woman who lives near to the clinic walked by and heard Shanks’ words. “Your definition of what you want to call a child is not the same as others’,” the neighbor, Pamela Girod, said. “And that’s not something you’re willing to acknowledge.

“If your mama would have had an abortion, you wouldn’t be here,” Shanks shot back.

As the last clinic workers drove from the parking lot, Shanks and a friend, Christine Harper, yelled at them. “The babies are free of your murderous hands,” Harper yelled gleefully.

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