By Denise Descamps Tofani
This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to intern with the New Orleans Abortion Fund. Amidst the chaos and unpredictability of the pandemic, knowing I would be able to work with such an incredible team about topics I was passionate about excited me. When my supervisor asked if I wanted to come back and intern during the Fall semester, I jumped at the chance. When I was first hired, the exact premise of my internship position was blurred, I was just excited to start working on anything. As I started the digital organizing campaign on Instagram, I soon realized how important my work was. In just two months, we have been able to reach over 1,500 people about the importance of abortion care in Louisiana. Although the page causes some contention because of the nature of the topic (unfortunately, there will always be people that oppose basic healthcare),f knowing that the work I am doing is affecting the way people view and talk about abortion is incredible. This semester, I will be continuing the important work I started during the summer. I will continue being a fierce advocate for abortion rights in Louisiana, particularly by working on defeating Amendment 1 on the ballots this November. Amendment 1 would add to the Constitution, word for word, that in order “to protect human life, nothing in [the] constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” The Amendment is an incredibly dangerous bill that would make it easier to continue passing anti-choice legislation in Louisiana, a state which has already enacted 89 abortion restriction in the past (Louisiana is actually the most hostile state for accessing abortion care). The bill will make it more difficult to pass progressive reproductive rights legislation in the future, and it is a direct infringement on our rights. During the summer, I was anxiously awaiting the news for the June Medical Services v. Russo case, which could have closed two out of three abortion clinics in Louisiana, making it even more difficult to access abortion. On June 29th, the Supreme Court gave reproductive rights a win, but it did not let us breathe for long. Anti-choice legislators are going to continue trying to pass hateful and dangerous legislation, and it drives me every day to work harder and harder, reminding me of the importance of continuing the work I have been doing with the New Orleans Abortion Fund.