1. Various of demonstration of hundreds in New Orleans
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Amy Irvin, Abortion Rights Activist (she serves as executive director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, the agency that funds abortions in the New Orleans area):
"In this moment we really need people to come out. As people have seen in the news, six-week abortion bans are being passed across the country. It's a strategy to undermine Roe, to make abortion illegal in the entire country. But already here in Louisiana, abortion access is nearly impossible for people to access. We've been fighting these bills for years."
4. Various of protests
5. UPSOUND of Amy Irvin speaking to crowd: "Shame on these legislators who voted down an amendment that would have allowed exceptions for rape and incest."
6. Various of protests
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Tony Carubba, Protestor:
"Well, one thing, people are still going to have abortions either way. May have to travel far, can't afford it, or they might do something crazy and hurt themselves. Um, and it's just a woman's right. It's not a man – no man should tell a woman what to do with her body. It's – it's ridiculous, to me."
Police were called to disband an abortion ban demonstration in New Orleans on Wednesday after about an hour of speeches and pro-choice chants.
The protest comes as lawmakers move to make abortions illegal in Louisiana, passing a bill that would ask voters in the largely conservative state to rewrite its constitution to ensure it offers no protections for abortions.
Among those speaking at the protest was Amy Irvin, Executive Director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, the agency that funds abortions for those who cannot afford them.
She spoke out against anti-abortion measures proposed in Louisiana's legislative session, including a bill nearing final passage that could ban the procedure as early as six weeks of pregnancy.
The Senate voted 31-4 Tuesday for the proposal by Democratic Rep. Katrina Jackson, of Monroe, asking voters to add language into the state constitution declaring that it doesn't protect abortion rights. The House already has approved it but must take another vote to send it to the fall ballot.
The legislation, backed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and the majority-GOP Legislature, would come into play if the US Supreme Court ever reverses the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
"In this moment we really need people to come out," she told the Associated Press after her address to the crowd.
"As people have seen in the news, six-week abortion bans are being passed across the country. It's a strategy to undermine Roe, to make abortion illegal in the entire country. But already here in Louisiana, abortion access is nearly impossible for people to access. We've been fighting these bills for years."
Abortion foes want to ensure that if states can determine the legality of the procedure, a federal court couldn't cite the Louisiana constitution as conferring rights that keep lawmakers from limitations or an outright ban. Legislators years ago passed a law prohibiting abortion in Louisiana if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Abortion rights supporters object to the constitutional amendment.
They say it would lay the groundwork for outlawing abortions entirely in Louisiana, which only has three abortion clinics and many laws restricting the procedure.
Signs in the crowd included one that read "GOP Family Planning" with wire hangers dangling from it – a tool some used to abort fetuses before abortion was legal.
"Well, one thing, people are still going to have abortions either way," said Tony Carubba, one of the male demonstrators in the crowd, holding the sign: "A Woman's Body A Woman's Choice."
Another protester, Jennifer Holl, said her concern was women's health.
"You're not stopping abortion from happening. You're just making it less safe".
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