♪ In the ’51 flood the river got mean
The levee broke at a town downstream
Up on our levee where the county lines meet
Caught a couple of their boys with some TNT ♪
— Forty Days and 40 nights 1 since the pernicious Dobbs decision has seen a flood of harmful legislation.
Would you2 kill off one of America’s great cities to preserve a few thousand fetuses?
Recasting the question, would you3 ensure deadly floods unless you could compel every person who became pregnant in a low-lying target of frequent tropical storms to remain gravid for a full 40 weeks?
What would you4 decide if the choice came down to killing an impregnated individual by inundation, sepsis, hemorrhage, or homicide?
“C’mon, Uvular,” you5 scoff. “Those options would never counterpose. Where in the world would wastewater management directly conflict with access to reproductive health care?”
Well, laissez les mal temps rouler in New Orleans.
As reported by Politico, “A Louisiana commission is withholding approval of New Orleans flood control funds over city officials’ opposition to the state’s strict abortion ban.”
Voting on nonconsecutive occasions, members of the Louisiana State Bond Commission denied a request for a$39 line of credit to fund the building of a power station for drainage pumps. Both votes, Politico notes, occurred “at times when New Orleans was under an active flood advisory.”
Two days before the U.S. Supreme Court undid 50 years of precedence and stripped the right of self-determination from more than half of American residents by overturning Roe, Louisiana’s Democratic, ultra-Catholic, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a nearly total ban on abortion. That law went into effect in July.
Currently, Louisianans who, to borrow a term from another language often heard in the Crescent City, find themselves embarazada cannot legally obtain an abortion unless they can prove one of the following:
- Likely death of the pregnant person,
- “Medical futility” resulting in stillbirth or complicated miscarriage, or
- Ectopic pregnancy.
Rape and incest victims with viable fetuses must carry those reminders of their violation to term. Medical professionals who provide abortion services to people who do not qualify for an exception to the ban face felony convictions punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Focus on the phrase “abortion services.” Legislators left it to prosecutors and judges to decide whether that encompasses counseling or transportation and funding for out-of-state medical procedures.
Precipitously, a predictable perversity played out.
A Baton Rouge woman who very much wants a child learned the zygote gestating in her uterus failed to form a skull. That should have qualified the woman for an abortion under the medically futile exception. Except acrania does not appear on the list issued along with the abortion ban. And, Nola.com observes, hospital staff likely hesitated to treat the woman because they “may view the fetus as currently viable because acrania is not immediately fatal and there is still a heartbeat. It also doesn’t immediately endanger the life of the mother, even though the health risks and psychological risks are significant as the pregnancy continues.”
Doctors and nurses may have opted not to act to prevent future suffering because lawmakers who deliberately decide not to understand how pregnancies work placed doing so into a legal grey area. Making all this even worse, the terrible tale of the skull-less fetus represents something of a best-case scenario.
The Baton Rouge woman has the resources needed to success abortion care in another state. She and her partner wanted the potential child. No crimes occurred during conception, and questions over legal adulthood never arose.
Intimate partner violence increases during pregnancy. More prospective mothers die from physical violence than gestational or birthing complications. New mothers, especially teens, experience the highest rates of poverty and unemployment.
But, sure, damn New Orleans to devastating deluges to prove your pro-life bona fides, bond board bastards. Fuck.