Reproductive Freedom Coalition Responds to AG Landry’s COVID-19 Task Force
NEW ORLEANS, April 14, 2020--The Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom has responded to actions taken by the state attorney general. The coalition wants to ensure that patients can continue to access essential, time-sensitive abortion services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Louisiana Attorney General Landry has formed a COVID-19 task force to investigate health care facilities, including abortion clinics, for puportedly violating the Louisiana Department of Health’s directive to postpone non-essential medical or surgical procedures. Landry has publicly announced his intention to close clinics, stating, “abortions are not essential procedures.”
Landry has also sent task force investigators to abortion clinics, demanding to review confidential patient charts. Landry’s actions and intentions clearly contravene the guidance of leading health and medical authorities.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology have issued recent statements that abortion is an essential, time-sensitive procedure that cannot be delayed during this pandemic.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to immediately block the state’s attempts to shutter abortion clinics. The Center is working in partnership with Lift Louisiana.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s COVID-19 Task Force investigation into abortion clinics in our state is yet another politically-motivated attempt to strip Louisianians of access to abortion. It is unconscionable that politicians are taking their cues from a small minority of anti-abortion extremists, who during the governor’s Stay at Home Order have continued to risk the lives and public health of critically needed healthcare workers by violating state guidance regarding social distancing and gathering outside of health centers in large numbers to harrass people seeking care. All people deserve the right to accessible health care during this crisis, and as a coalition we will continue to fight to preserve this right.
Individual quotes from The Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom
Statement of Steffani Bangel, Executive Director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund
"This pandemic is a true crisis in Louisiana, one that touches every person in our state. It is immoral and cruel that anti-abortion extremists would even consider using this crisis as an opportunity to push through yet another backdoor ban on abortions. Every person deserves the right to bodily autonomy, and in a crisis that need is even more profound."
Statement of Michelle Erenberg, Executive Director of Lift Louisiana
“It is shameful that Attorney General Landry would use this crisis as a means for closing down abortion clinics. Harassing clinics and trying to shut them down just as the coronavirus upends lives could have long-lasting consequences and harm patients’ physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing and the wellbeing of their families.”
Statement of Pearl Ricks, Executive Director of the Reproductive Justice Action Collective
“Abortion has been and always will be essential. Louisiana is experiencing a crisis. Neighbors across the state are pulling together to support one another. We should have no lesser expectations for our politicians. Actions taken by the Attorney General and his task force are working to eliminate safety for all seeking reproductive care in Louisiana--this is insensible and unsafe. The focus should be increasing the access of communities to essential, obstacle free, healthcare and resources.”
Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom is a statewide alliance of organizations and individuals, and works to ensure sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all people through advocacy, law and policy change, and movement-building.