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Louisiana Flood Funding Blocked by Anti-Abortion Officials

Louisiana Flood Funding Blocked by Anti-Abortion Officials

The Louisiana State Bond Commission has withheld approval for New Orleans flood control funds after city officials took a stance in opposition to the state’s severe abortion ban.

Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Louisiana became one of several states to pass a trigger law outright prohibiting the procedure. The state-wide abortion ban does not include exemptions for rape or incest, only making exceptions in cases where the mother's life is threatened.

City officials in New Orleans responded by taking a stance against the ban, with Mayor LaToya Cantrell stating she will not accept inmates in violation of the law at local prisons. The district attorney has also refused to prosecute abortion providers or patients, and has instructed law enforcement officers not to issue summons or make arrests.

In retaliation, Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry urged the commission to vote to delay the approval of a future $39 million power station set to run drainage pumps throughout New Orleans. The pumps would prevent flooding in the city, protecting its 384,000 residents, and has been described as "critical for the city’s ability to adapt to climate change."

With Landry's endorsement, the commission has twice voted to delay the funds, with both votes taken while the city was under an active flood advisory. Landry justifies his stance through his outrage with city officials' reactions to the abortion ban, stating, “This is them coming right out to the rest of the citizens of the state saying, ‘We don’t care what your law is.'"

The commission refused Landry’s motion to indefinitely withhold approval of the funds, leaving the line of credit open for another vote in one month. City officials have since condemned Landry's actions, with City Council President Helena Moreno promising they will not back down from their positions.

“The City of New Orleans will not prioritize targeting women and their doctors who are balancing what is best for the patient and gray areas of the law," she said. “The fact that the City of New Orleans is being punished for its careful consideration of new state laws is troubling and inappropriate."

Moreno cited a recent case from a woman in Baton Rouge who was denied an abortion despite her fetus developing with no skull, a fatal condition. These are the patients that New Orleans seeks to protect, as Moreno continued, "In my opinion, all that has been accomplished by some members of the bond commission is to show that they do not care for the people of New Orleans, nor do they care and have compassion for women who are facing incredibly tragic circumstances.”

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