The pro-birth group Louisiana Right To Life published an article on their website this week calling for Louisiana “foodies” to begin calling and harassing New Orleans restaurants who choose to support a woman’s rights.
On Saturday, June 22, more than 50 New Orleans-area restaurants are scheduled to participate in Just Cause – A Boozy Bake Sale for Reproductive Rights. The event will be held at the Magazine Merchant House, and 100% of the profits will benefit Planned Parenthood Gulf South and the New Orleans Abortion Fund.
“We want to protect future foodies, not abortion businesses,” the pro-birth group states. The group published a list of participants in the event along with links to their websites, phone numbers, and email addresses and asked its readers to begin harassing these restaurants and other companies to get them to pull out of the event.
In May, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed one of the country’s strictest abortion bans into law, banning abortions at six weeks – before most women even know that they’re pregnant. However, the law only goes into effect should a similar law in Mississippi be upheld by the courts.
When talking about abortion, pro-birth groups such as the Louisiana Right to Life often conjure up images of full-term babies being ripped from their mother’s womb. However, according to the CDC, more than 91 percent of all abortions occur before 13 weeks gestation. In the United States, nearly one-third of all abortions obtained after 12 weeks are obtained by teenagers. Louisiana has the seventh-highest teen pregnancy rate in the country, with a birth rate of 37.5 per 1,000 teenagers aged 15 to 19, with Hispanic and black teenagers more than three times more likely to get pregnant as whites.
But the discussion about abortion can’t take place in a vacuum. The debate is meaningless without a quality-of-life context.
Louisiana has one of the highest child poverty rates in the nation, with 28 percent of the state’s children living below the poverty line. In addition, more than one in six Louisiana households – 17.3 percent – are listed as being “food insecure,” meaning that they aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from.
Louisiana is also one of the worst states in the nation for domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 81 percent of women killed in Lousiana are murdered by their partner or ex-partner.
When pro-birth groups such as the Louisiana Right To Life try to frame the debate without this context, they are ignoring a critical aspect: what kind of life is a forced-birth child being brought into?
If they are truly pro-life (and not just pro-birth), perhaps their efforts would be better spent on improving the overall quality of life for Louisiana’s children (so that fewer women feel the need to have an abortion) rather than harassing local businesses.
Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor whose work has been featured in publications such as The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_