Women in Louisiana

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


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
  • 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


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


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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Monday, May 8, 2017

Women's organizations united in opposition to American Health Care Act

Posted By on Mon, May 8, 2017 at 5:42 PM

A protester wears a costume at a February rally in support of Planned Parenthood. - KAT STROMQUIST
  • A protester wears a costume at a February rally in support of Planned Parenthood.

In Louisiana and beyond, women's organizations are raising the alarm about the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which Petrice Sams-Abiodun of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast calls "the worst bill for women's health in a generation."

House Republicans voted May 4 in favor of the bill intended to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. (No Democrats voted for the bill.) Though its passage doesn't necessarily mean anything — the Senate has suggested it will write its own bill, spearheaded by an all-male committee — the substance of the AHCA in its current form has been roundly condemned by observers and providers focused on women's rights and access to health care.

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Child care issues in Louisiana hurting workers and employers, study finds

Posted By on Tue, May 2, 2017 at 11:00 AM


A wide-ranging survey of families with children age 4 and under in Louisiana found that lack of consistent access to child care is hurting workers, cutting into state tax revenues and costing Louisiana employers $816 million a year via absences and employee turnover.

The study, which was released May 1 by Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) and Louisiana State University's Public Policy Research Lab, is the first of its kind to focus on workplace productivity as it relates to child care in the state, its authors said. Its findings describe a landscape in which half of survey respondents are relying on their child's parent or another family member to provide child care during the work day. One in six study respondents had quit a job as a result of child care issues; many who answered the survey described leaving full-time employment to pursue part-time employment or turning down promotions due to problems with child care.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Bills exempting feminine hygiene products and diapers from state sales tax move to full Senate

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 3:48 PM

State Sen. JP Morrell.
  • State Sen. JP Morrell.

The Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs on Monday sent to the full Senate two bills Senate Bill 24 and Senate Bill 27, both proposed by state Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, which would exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from state sales tax. The first would seek the exemption by statute and the second by constitutional amendment.

Under the current state law, diapers and feminine hygiene products are subject to the current 5 percent sales tax rate until June 30, 2018, and a 4 percent tax rate thereafter. The state already has exemptions for food for home consumption, residential utilities and prescription drugs.

Morrell said he feels it is “immoral” to tax items that not only affect some of the state’s low- income populations, but also that are not optional, adding, “This is really an issue that’s bothered me for quite some time.”

SB27 would put the measure to a vote of the people, which requires a two-thirds majority approval.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Orleans Political Woman Forum April 25 takes on the "glass ceiling"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 10:20 AM

State Rep. (and upcoming New Orleans City Council candidate) Helena Moreno.
  • State Rep. (and upcoming New Orleans City Council candidate) Helena Moreno.

A panel April 25 hosted by Voters East of the Industrial Canal (VEOTIC) focuses on women's issues in politics, including political literacy, gender gaps in voting and overall women's rights. The event is notable for its guest list, which includes every female member of the current New Orleans City Council (councilwomen Nadine M. Ramsey, Stacy Head, Susan G. Guidry and newly declared mayoral candidate LaToya Cantrell), plus State Rep. Helena Moreno, who will run for the council seat being vacated by Stacy Head. Veteran organizer Timolynn Sams Sumter moderates the discussion.

Political involvement and activism led by women is fast becoming a powerful force in both local and national politics, particularly on the left. A recent Slate article credits the surprise success of dark horse Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, who will advance to a runoff to represent Georgia's historically-Republican Sixth District, to women organizing on his behalf. The organization EMILY'S List, which supports progressive women as political candidates, has reported a dramatic uptick in the number of women who have reached out to express interest in running for office. These are encouraging signs for proponents of women's rights in Louisiana, where women have historically been underrepresented in the legislature and beyond.

The event, which takes place at St. Maria Goretti Church Community Center, begins at 6:30 p.m. It's free to attend.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Feminist writer Roxane Gay appears in New Orleans July 12

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 11:50 AM


Roxane Gay, the prominent feminist writer, cultural critic and pre-eminent voice of Woke Twitter, will appear at Octavia Books July 12 on a book tour for her new book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. The much-anticipated book is expected to discuss body and food issues from the author's uniquely candid perspective. (If you aren't familiar with her work, try her periodic contributions to the New York Times op-ed page for an introduction to her thoughts on race and womanhood.)

This is a ticketed reading and participants must purchase a copy of the book to attend the event. More details are available via the bookstore's event announcement. Copies of the book are $25.99.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bossier City abortion clinic reported as closed as Trump signs anti-abortion legislation

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 6:07 PM

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

Recent news from upstate Louisiana and from Washington, D.C. suggests an ever-more fraught environment for abortion rights advocates and women who require abortion services.

Earlier this week, a short Associated Press report seemed to confirm the closure of Bossier City Medical Suite, one of the state's four remaining clinics that provided abortion. A news release from the anti-abortion group Louisiana Right to Life cited public records indicating the return of the clinic's license to the Louisiana Department of Health; the clinic's phone number appears to have been disconnected.

Nationally, several major media outlets are reporting that President Donald Trump has signed legislation permitting states to withhold federal family planning dollars (Title X funds) from outlets which also provide abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood. (Federal dollars themselves already cannot be used to pay for abortion services, so this new legislation restricts funds used for other aspects of women's reproductive health, like contraception and check-ups.)

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