‘We Won’t Go Back’: Cenla residents protest over Roe v. Wade reversal

Many protesters equipped with signs attended the "We Won’t Go Back" protest in Alexandria.
Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:05 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2022 at 10:16 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - On July 6, Central Louisiana residents gathered outside of the U.S. Western District Federal Courthouse in downtown Alexandria for a “We Won’t Go Back” protest against the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dozens of protesters equipped with signs and speeches voiced their opposition and concern about women’s rights and abortion access.

“They don’t care about the babies. They really don’t, they don’t care about the babies because they don’t give a **** about them after they’re born,” said one protester. “The only thing they care about is controlling women and reducing the amount of healthcare they can access in the state. So, it’s overwhelming with anger. I’m overwhelmed with anger about our loss.”

“I’m here for human rights. I’m here for women’s rights. I’m here for human rights,” said another. “This Supreme Court is just the beginning, it’s just the beginning. You have a very small minority of people on the Supreme Court who are taking their authority and running with it. The vast majority of Americans don’t want this.”

“I’m here because there’s an attack on women’s bodily autonomy, and we’re not going to stand for it,” said another protester.

Speakers at the event included OBGYN Dr. Christiana Lord, who touched on the medical implications the ruling could have, as well as religious leader Reverend Sherri Jackson.

“You can’t have laws that take away affordable healthcare,” said Jackson. “You can’t have laws that make it hard for moms to get prenatal care. You can’t make it hard for those babies’ families to have decent, safe and sanitary housing, and these same babies grow up to be boys and then they’re gunned down in the street. So, that’s not pro-life.”

With the Supreme Court ruling, several are unsure of the future and whether women will have the right to choose an abortion in Louisiana.

Looking ahead, Louisiana does have a trigger law that could go into play any day now, creating a near-total ban on abortions across the state and providing for no exceptions for rape or incest. Governor John Bel Edwards actually strengthened those laws just a few days before the Supreme Court decision.

In almost no time at all, a New Orleans judge put into place a temporary block on the trigger laws, but the legal challenges are not over yet. On Friday, New Orleans District Court Judge Robin Giarrusso will hold a hearing on the legal challenge to Louisiana’s trigger laws. Her restraining order last week blocked the enforcement of the trigger laws, but it was only temporary.

The Shreveport-based Hope Medical Group for Women and several others sued the state over the trigger laws on the merits that they were “unconstitutionally vague.” They raised issues over the definition of a pregnancy and the rights attributed to an unborn child, considering abortion is banned from the moment of fertilization.

Lift Louisiana, an advocacy center based in New Orleans, said:

“The trigger laws have been vague from the beginning, and that ambiguity clearly puts pregnant people’s lives at risk and freezes doctors from making critical care decisions. Also, the lawsuit and affidavits from state health care leaders like doctors Rebekah Gee, former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, and Jennifer Avegno, New Orleans health director, point out how the trigger bans are imprecise and will have a chilling effect on patient care and patients even seeking care. Due to this vagueness, it stands to reason that Louisiana will lose health care providers in a state where there is already a shortage of providers, especially when it comes to prenatal and postnatal care. We demand better from the state. Stop politicizing health care, stop putting people’s lives at risk and allow physicians to provide the best health care possible in a highly restrictive state like Louisiana.”

Lift Louisiana

However, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has come out against those claims, filing a writ over the weekend calling on the Louisiana Supreme Court to dissolve the district court order and allow the laws to take effect before Friday.

“Plaintiffs are willfully misreading clear terms in the law in an attempt to manufacture arguments that the statutes are unconstitutionally vague and therefore violate plaintiffs’ due process rights.”

Attorney General Jeff Landry

The Louisiana Supreme Court has not yet met that request with action. In fact, they decided Wednesday, July 6 to hold off on overturning Judge Giarusso’s ruling. So, for now, a hearing Friday could mean a full stop to virtually all abortions statewide, or the legal challenge in a state with a pro-life majority will only continue without a foreseeable end.

Judge Giarusso’s hearing is set for 11 a.m. on July 8.

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