New Orleans, LA – On March 10 members of several student and community organizations rallied in front of the Fifth District Federal Courthouse in New Orleans. They gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day and to speak out against the continuing attacks on reproductive healthcare and LGBTQ rights.
The event was hosted by members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Real Name Campaign, who demanded increased access to contraceptives and policies to make New Orleans a sanctuary city for abortions. Speakers from New Orleans for Community Oversight of Police (NOCOP) and Students United at University of New Orleans gave speeches that connected the attacks on women’s rights with the day-to-day issues affecting the working class. Attendees also included members of the LGBTQ student group UNITY at University of New Orleans and Democratic Socialists of America New Orleans.
After a rally at the federal courthouse, activists marched through downtown to City Hall in rush-hour traffic. The march repeated the route of the 4000-strong march that shook the city after Roe v. Wade was overturned in July 2022.
Marchers followed banners that read “International Women’s Day” and “Defend the right to abortion.” They also carried many signs including large cutouts of revolutionary women like Claudia Jones, Alexandra Kollontai, Sylvia Rivera and Clara Zetkin, who was one of the original organizers of International Women’s Day over a century ago.
Ed Abraham from the Real Name Campaign pointed to the links between the attacks on abortion rights and the current widespread attack on trans rights in states across the country. “The right wing always tries to hide the true nature of these policies by saying they’re ‘protecting children’ from unruly women and trans people. This is a blatant lie. Louisiana ranks in the bottom for living standards, education and safety for children and these politicians are doing nothing about it.”
NOCOP speaker Abbey Lodwig pointed out, “In Louisiana there are thousands of backlogged rape and sexual assault investigations that police are simply not following up on. Not to mention the NOPD themselves have hundreds of allegations of sexual assault and domestic abuse against them. This is why women are demanding community control of police, because the pigs don’t keep us safe!”
“I’m a student and simply want a good education,” Raven Ford from Students United told the crowd, “but I know that I have got to be out here demanding my rights and fighting for a better society, because these attacks are very real. It’s not good enough to stay at home and follow on YouTube, students need to be in the streets getting organized.”
The fight against attacks on LGBTQ and reproductive rights in Louisiana will sharpen in the Louisiana legislative session, as Republican politicians try to advance their draconian bills in the coming months.