Louisiana Lagniappe, November 2020
By Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast | Nov. 10, 2020, noon
Onward After Passage of Amendment 1
This election, Louisiana voters approved Amendment 1, a ballot initiative that adds anti-abortion language to the Louisiana State Constitution.
But it’s important to know that abortion is still safe and legal in Louisiana. Abortion providers in Shreveport, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans are still open and providing care. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is still here to provide timely and essential reproductive and sexual health care and information and to help connect Louisianans with abortion care.
Amendment 1 does not outlaw abortion in Louisiana, but it does strengthen our state’s existing trigger law and make it even more difficult to mount future legal fights against harmful abortion restrictions. Unfortunately, this will disproportionately impact communities of color and people with low-incomes, who already face multiple barriers just to access basic health care. Amendment 1’s passage could lead to more efforts to block, criminalize, or ultimately ban abortion. As a result, we may see higher maternal mortality rates, worse health outcomes, and increased pursuit of unsafe care – especially for people of color and those with low incomes. If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned, people in Louisiana could be forced to carry unintended pregnancies or assume the burden of traveling out of state just to access essential health care.
Right now, though, access remains the same, and our fight continues to protect and expand all Louisianans’ ability to get the care they need.
We fought a tough battle against Amendment 1, and our work was not in vain. We are encouraged that over 775,000 Louisianans voted to protect abortion rights in our state. Throughout this fight, we engaged with many supporters – both old and new.
Kristin E., New Orleans Community Organizer, notes, “I want to thank you for all the conversations that have happened because of you. Because of your efforts, we helped people understand the importance of this amendment, the facts surrounding abortion access in our state, and how dignity and bodily autonomy are core, fundamental rights. Though I know it was not the outcome we wanted and worked so hard for, I want you to know that you have done such important work in spite of the results.”
We know these are difficult and uncertain times. At PPGC, your health is our number one priority and that won’t change. We’re right here with you — and we’re in this together. Despite continuing political attacks intended to increase barriers to care, PPGC providers are here for patients, protecting the lives and health of thousands of people and their families in Louisiana. That won’t change.
To help us prepare for future fights, we encourage you to join our Louisiana Rapid Response Team. As a member, you'll effect change on a grassroots level and ensure reproductive rights are a top priority for Louisiana legislators. The 2021 Legislative Session will be here before we know it and, as always, we’re in this together.
Shout Your Vote
“This year was the first time I was eligible to vote in a presidential election. Furthermore, working as a campus organizer during this election cycle has been a monumental experience that has altered the trajectory of my political activism. The conversations I have had while organizing and the emotions I have experienced (during both my accomplishments and defeats) have helped me recognize that I do this laborious work because I love Louisiana. That love inspires me to be resilient and persistent in the fight ahead to bring reproductive freedom and body sovereignty to the place I call home.”
- Sophie, PPGC Public Affairs Intern, New Orleans
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose serious challenges for our community, our patients, and our frontline health care staff. But through these difficult times, we have heartfelt pride for all of our colleagues, particularly those in our health centers who have consistently pushed through the many obstacles that have come their way. Their resilience and commitment are exemplified through the implementation of new processes and safety measures that allow us to continue providing care for our patients in Louisiana -- no matter what.
In order to do that, we expedited the launch of our telehealth services. Telehealth allows our providers to care for patients virtually through a secure video platform, enabling us to safely deliver health care services such as birth control, PreP, STI treatment, infectious disease referrals, and management of other multiple sexual and reproductive health care needs. Telehealth has also allowed us to expand our reach, making health care more accessible to patients who were previously limited by distance or resources.
We are thrilled to share that, thanks to telehealth, our ability to serve and deliver care to the transgender community has also grown. We are providing feminizing and masculinizing trans care to patients all throughout Louisiana. Historically, the transgender community is severely underserved and regularly experiences discrimination in and outside the health care system. At Planned Parenthood, we respect and honor all people, and we proudly serve the trans community. We are working diligently to privilege more providers to meet the growing patient demand for trans care services.
“Our trans and non-binary patients have experienced multiple barriers to accessing life-saving gender-affirming hormone care. While telehealth was implemented as a means of continuing care during the pandemic, almost immediately we found trans and non-binary folks from all over the state making appointments. The ability to provide hormone care virtually has been immensely fulfilling as it breaks down transportation barriers and increases access to all. Knowing that my patients won’t go without their hormones or experience gaps in care because they don’t have to find a ride or take a day off work in order to travel hours to be seen in person has been a welcome bright spot in the midst of difficult times.“
-Shannon, Director of Clinical Services, New Orleans
Connected by Care
On Tuesday, October 27, PPGC hosted our first-ever virtual New Orleans Fall Celebration. Hundreds of supporters tuned in around the state to celebrate our New Orleans community with an exciting night of musical guests, updates from PPGC, and moving stories from community partners. Friends and supporters held virtual watch parties and jammed along to tunes by Jade and Triple Threat from the comfort of their couches, raising over $85,000 to support PPGC’s continued efforts toward building a world where all people can access the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, education, and information they need to live better, healthier lives. We are deeply grateful to all who joined us, and we look forward to clinking a glass in person in 2021!
Photo: Petrice Sams-Abiodun, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Louisiana, closes out the speaking program of the virtual event.
Photo: The event featured special jazz music by Jade & Triple Threat.
Our educators are still diligently working Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Text Program. The program allows people from all over the world to chat in real time, online and via mobile chat platforms, with our expertly trained sexuality educators. Educators across the country are available seven days a week to answer users’ questions about birth control, STIs, pregnancy, abortion, relationships, and so much more. Aijha, a PPGC Health Educator in Baton Rouge, and Bria, a PPGC Health Educator in New Orleans, were trained over the summer to assist users in navigating their questions about sexual health. They now correspond with users as part of PPGC’s regular education outreach programming. To chat, simply visit https://www.plannedparenthood.org/online-tools/chat or text “PPNOW” to 774636.
"Through Chat/Text, we are breaking down barriers and empowering people to make informed decisions about their lives and bodies. Chat/Text allows educators to provide facts, dispel shame, and disrupt stigma around sexual and reproductive health for folks across the globe." --Bria T., Health Educator, New Orleans
On October 20, NOLA Cyclebar dedicated their 6am ride to benefit PPGC. With a full class, the team put in some sweat equity to help support reproductive rights.
1. Give local. Donate to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and 100% of your gift supports Louisianans.
2. Volunteer. Contribute your time and talents, ensuring that we’re able to continue providing health services, advocacy, and education to the communities we serve.
3. Become a patient. Make your next health care appointment at one of our Planned Parenthood health centers in Louisiana.
4. Act. Call your representatives and tell them you stand with Planned Parenthood.
5. Connect. Follow us at @ppgulfcoast, stay engaged with our movement, and use #IStandwithPP to post your support on social media.