Tuesday November 29, 2022
| Last update: Monday at 10:29 PM

Statement on New Orleans mayor’s response to abortion rights movement

Statement by staff |
July 24, 2022
Read more articles in

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Real Name Campaign NOLA.

On Tuesday, July 12th, Mayor Cantrell took a cowardly stance of supporting the presence of Louisiana State Police in New Orleans, despite its ability and willingness to investigate, arrest, and prosecute abortions. The Mayor has publicly claimed “we’re going to do everything that we can to provide that safe haven in our community [for patients and providers of abortions].” But her stance on LSP demonstrates that she has chosen to leave New Orleanians vulnerable to state-level prosecution. Mayor Cantrell’s endorsement of Louisiana State Police is a clear indicator that her priority is to uphold criminalization, not to protect individuals who are seeking or aiding in abortion care.

New Orleanians want to make the city into a true abortion sanctuary by expelling Louisiana State Police. On June 24th, four thousand people joined us to march to City Hall to give this demand to the Mayor and other elected officials. The following week, over a hundred people called the offices of Mayor Cantrell and DA Williams to ask them for action again. Our movement compelled the DA to abstain from prosecuting the right to choose, we won a City Council resolution to restrict local funds from criminalizing abortions, we forced the NOPD to commit to non-enforcement, and we pushed Sheriff to refuse to jail arrests made to enforce the trigger ban. But we were disappointed and infuriated that Mayor Cantrell chose not to respond.

Continuing to seek a response, over 100 people marched to her home on July 1st and July 8th, bringing with them signs, speeches, and delivering a letter to her home asking for a stance on LSP’s presence in New Orleans. Still, Mayor Cantrell blatantly ignored them. After 18 days of trying to contact Mayor Cantrell, large numbers of community members showed up to the District C Public Safety Town Hall that she was attending and demanded a response. The Mayor finally stated that the city will continue to partner with the State Police. She tried to exonerate herself by saying that she is a woman. Despite our movement’s transgender leadership, the Mayor continues to ignore the impacts of the abortion ban on transgender men and non-binary people.

The Mayor’s response is callous and outrageous, as she has chosen to keep New Orleanians, and individuals from across Louisiana and the surrounding states, in danger. Attorney General Jeff Landry, who can investigate abortion cases, recently commented that people who want abortions should move out of the state. This comment is hateful and exclusionary, we know that the vast majority of abortion seekers cannot even afford temporary travel out of state to access abortions. Criminalization of abortion disproportionately affects Black pregnant people and providers, and it expands the power of bigoted state law enforcement in New Orleans. These same state troopers have the power to enforce Louisiana’s anti-LGBTQ legislation, including the Crimes Against Nature Statute. They have only brought more violence to New Orleans and we will continue to demand their expulsion from this city. We call on all progressives and those who care about the right to choose to do the same.

The City Council, while trumpeting its pro-choice resolution, just passed an ordinance to increase the surveillance powers of the NOPD. The state police is likely to get access to their data and use it to enforce an abortion ban. The mayor can prevent this but has chosen not to.

As a majority-Black city, New Orleans should have the right to not only be a sanctuary for abortion care but also to self-govern. As access to life-saving abortion care dwindles in the South, there is no time to act but now.

Signed:

Real Name Campaign NOLA

New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police

New Orleans Workers Assembly

New Orleans Democratic Socialists of America

Green Party of Louisiana

Freedom Road Socialist Organization – New Orleans District

inspector