Louisiana Budget Project Executive Director Jan Moller issued the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court decision:
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade should serve as a clarion call to Louisiana policymakers to increase the support our state provides to low-income families and communities of color.
Today’s decision means access to abortion services is now illegal in Louisiana, thanks to state “trigger” laws that also will criminalize people who provide abortions. This will have a disproportionate impact on Black women, who make up one-third of Louisiana’s population and two-thirds of those who received abortions in 2021. It will also disproportionately affect people with low incomes, as national data shows that nearly half of all people who get abortions have incomes below the federal poverty line.
This decision does not mean the end to abortions in America or Louisiana. It means that pregnant people with financial means will still get abortions in other states. Others will defy the law and get abortions in Louisiana, risking imprisonment and death.
But many other Louisianans will now be carrying unwanted pregnancies to term, thanks to policy choices made by our elected officials. This means Louisiana policymakers must provide stronger support for women and families that struggle to make ends meet, something they haven’t always done in the years leading up to the Roe reversal.
Policymakers should use this moment to redouble their efforts to reduce the state’s shameful maternal mortality rate, and ensure families have access to paid leave after giving birth. It means Congress must expand the federal Child Tax Credit, and that the state should pass its own credit to provide financial support for families. It means finally establishing a minimum wage to make it easier for people to provide for their families, and ensuring that everyone has access to safe, affordable housing.
Louisiana has long been a state that prides itself on being “pro-life.” Today’s court decision adds urgency to policymakers’ decisions to more fully support all Louisiana families.