Women in Louisiana

Friday, June 23, 2017

Louisiana lawmakers, activists urge Sens. Cassidy and Kennedy to condemn Senate health care bill

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana. - CHERYL GERBER
  • CHERYL GERBER
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards said the bill "specifically disadvantages" Louisiana.

With the release of a 142-page draft early Thursday morning, the Senate finally revealed its much-anticipated (and, by many, dreaded) plan that could make good on the long-term Republican promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare.

The bill's release offered the first opportunity for the public — and many underinformed senators — to view and critique the Senate's plan, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Before its reveal, the bill already had come under fire for an unusually secretive drafting process featuring no public hearings and little debate on the Senate floor.

Within its text: higher premiums for older people, the elimination of the individual and employer mandates (you won't have to carry insurance, and employers don't have to provide it for you), a year-long freeze on Planned Parenthood funding, fewer subsidies to help people buy insurance and cuts to federal Medicaid dollars which support the working poor, 40 percent of American children and people with disabilities. (An easy-to-read breakdown is being updated at The Washington Post.)

Throughout the state, a chorus of lawmakers, public health observers and activists have begun to speak out against this health care plan. But the power lies with Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Neely Kennedy, who will now turn their attentions to the legislation ahead of a potential vote next week.

Perhaps due to the bill's length and complexity, they have yet to comment extensively on the bill's details. Instead, they've leaned on familiar rhetoric from the past several weeks.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Report: Louisiana one of nation's worst states for black women

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 11:44 AM

IMAGES MONEY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • IMAGES MONEY / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

A new report from the nonpartisan Institute for Women's Policy Research reveals extremely troubling data about the economic and social challenges facing black women here in Louisiana.

The report, which was compiled with the National Domestic Worker's Alliance, studied factors like political participation, employment, income and family structure to create a snapshot of the state of black women the U.S. The report's findings are genuinely disturbing: it finds black women concentrated in lower-paying jobs (even relative to their academic achievement), being paid less than white women and men in similar occupations and having more limited access to health insurance, often while acting as their family's primary breadwinner.

"Black women continue to experience structural barriers to progress that have roots in the nation’s legacy of racial and gender discrimination and exploitation," the report's authors explain. "A shifting political landscape has put Black women even more at risk for disenfranchisement and marginalization."

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Two June events at Cafe Istanbul highlight abortion rights (rescheduled)

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 2:53 PM

At a Feb. 10 Planned Parenthood rally, a supporter steps in front of an anti-abortion activist. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • At a Feb. 10 Planned Parenthood rally, a supporter steps in front of an anti-abortion activist.

Back-to-back events at Cafe Istanbul highlight abortion rights and emphasize the importance of abortion access in ever-more-restrictive Louisiana.

At New Orleans Abortion Fund's NOAF OutLoud event June 14, participants share realistic stories about experiences with abortion, whether that be work as a clinic escort and activist or the story of terminating a pregnancy. The event opens up a topic that, for a variety of reasons, isn't often discussed. (Similar initiatives, such as the #shoutyourabortion hashtag, have popped up on social media in the past few years.) There are multimedia and discussion components to the evening. It begins at 6 p.m. and is free to attend.

Lift Louisiana hosts a screening of Trapped, the documentary exploring Targeted Restriction of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws and the ways such legal restrictions harm women. (You can watch a trailer for the documentary on its website.) A panel discussion follows the screening, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $12. The June 21 event has been rescheduled for June 27.

As of May 1, the Guttmacher Institute (a research institution that studies reproductive health) found 31 newly-enacted restrictions on abortion nationwide in 2017. Other analysts also point to several potential restrictions on abortion funding in the American Health Care Act, the House-passed bill currently undergoing secretive debate in the Senate.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

Domestic violence protections enhanced in state Senate

Posted By on Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 2:33 PM

State Rep. Helena Moreno.
  • State Rep. Helena Moreno.

Louisiana legislators took steps to broaden and strengthen the state’s domestic violence and protection laws Sunday when they gave the OK to two Senate amended measures, House Bills 223 and 509. The bills now will move to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk for his expected signature.

House Bill 223, by state Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans, would expand the state’s domestic violence laws to cover dating partners. Current law restricts the criminal charge to couples who are married or living together, meaning offenders who are not living with or married to their victim can only be charged with simple battery.

Extending the law will offer increased protection to victims and enhanced sentencing for offenders, including stronger sentences for strangulation, burning or the presence of a firearm, as well as access to domestic abuse intervention programs.

The bill extending coverage — including same-sex couples — passed on a 66-32 vote.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

A force of nature: remembering Nancy Marsiglia

Posted By on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 9:28 AM

PHOTO BY JEFF JOHNSTON
  • PHOTO BY JEFF JOHNSTON

We all like to think we’re going to leave the world a better place, but only a few can truly be said to have enriched an entire community. Civic and political activist Nancy Marsiglia was among those few. In actions great and small, she inspired and empowered a generation of women and changed New Orleans very much for the better.

Nancy died suddenly Tuesday at the age of 64, leaving a host of shocked friends and family members to mourn her — and to carry on her work.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Broad Theater to hold women-only screening of Wonder Woman June 8

Posted By on Tue, May 30, 2017 at 8:39 PM

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
  • Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

UPDATE: The show has sold out.

The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas drew some controversy last week when the movie theater announced plans for a screening of the new Wonder Woman film for an all-woman audience — and now The Broad Theater in New Orleans plans the same thing with a similar screening June 8 at 7 p.m.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Protesters fear the worst at 'die-in' against American Health Care Act

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 2:59 PM

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As a thick miasma of Trump-Russia news clouded the national consciousness, a small group of demonstrators staged a "die-in" May 19 to draw focus to the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Around noon Friday, a dozen or so activists — many of whom belong to the Metairie and New Orleans chapters of national progressive group Indivisible — stood in front of Tulane Medical Center, some carrying signs shaped like tombstones. One woman was dressed as the Grim Reaper, with a cardboard scythe that said "Trumpcare." The funereal theme was meant to highlight potential loss of insurance coverage (and, by extension, life) related to the AHCA, which recently passed the House of Representatives.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Planned Parenthood hosts storytelling and community health event May 20

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 9:00 AM

A protester holds a sign at a February rally supporting Planned Parenthood. - PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • PHOTO BY KAT STROMQUIST
  • A protester holds a sign at a February rally supporting Planned Parenthood.

"Standing Strong," a storytelling series hosted by Planned Parenthood, discusses barriers to women's health care in the South. The May 20 event caps off National Women's Health Week.

At the event at Ashe Cultural Arts Center, speakers will discuss the positive impact Planned Parenthood has had on their lives and propose ways Southern women can work to enhance their health care community. Featured speakers include poet and activist Sonya Renee Taylor — you can watch her perform one of her firebrand poems about reproductive rights here — and Erika Jupiter, who was a Planned Parenthood patient when she was younger and grew up to be a senior field organizer for the organization. Local health groups also will table and offer information about community resources.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Saturday. It's free to attend, but advance registration is required.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

'Cherry-Oke' karaoke party May 19 benefits STAR

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 11:00 AM

ANDREW YEE / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • ANDREW YEE / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

Have you recently brushed up on your Madonna lyrics, or do you know all the words to R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It?" Bust them out at NOLA Cherry Bombs' second annual karaoke party to benefit Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response (STAR), the group which advocates against sexual violence.

The party returns to Igor's Buddha Belly May 19; its first installment took place last summer. The NOLA Cherry Bombs marching and dance group has made a point of hosting events that benefit women-centric organizations — a 2014 event benefited The Birthing Project, which works to improve birth outcomes for women of color.

The party begins at 9 p.m. Friday. Admission is $5. Just for fun, here's a '90s-heavy BuzzFeed list (and accompanying Spotify playlist) of solid karaoke songs.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

At New Orleans appearance, a polished Sheryl Sandberg says "it gets better"

Posted By on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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In a 45-minute conversation at Academy of the Sacred Heart with crackly conservative intellectual Mary Matalin, Sheryl Sandberg spoke about bereavement and recovery as told in her new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy.

Sandberg is like a new sort of person: Facebook COO; alumna of Harvard (twice), the World Bank, the Treasury Department and Google; poised, without the hesitation and self-questioning that so often characterizes women's speech; at ease in front of a crowd of hundreds; spin-class slim at age 47; delicate pink pumps; voice like a piece of black velvet.

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