Louisiana withholds $39M from New Orleans' Sewage & Water Board for not enforcing abortion ban

Rain falls on Bourbon St. in the French Quarter as Tropical Storm Cristobal nears the coast on June 07, 2020, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Rain falls on Bourbon St. in the French Quarter as Tropical Storm Cristobal nears the coast on June 07, 2020, in New Orleans, Louisiana. | Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Louisiana's Bond Commission has agreed to withhold a $39 million line of credit from New Orleans over city officials' refusal to enforce the state's abortion ban.

Last week, the commission voted 12-2 to withhold the line of credit for a Sewerage & Water Board New Orleans power plant while allowing millions of dollars to go to other projects, according to local media outlet WWL-TV.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell called the decision "disappointing and appalling," stating that "abortion remains legal statewide" due to an injunction.

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"What also remains is the fact that we are in the middle of another above-average hurricane season, in which this city needs its entire Sewerage and Water Board system performing at its peak in order to protect vital assets, businesses and residents from flooding," Cantrell said.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said in a statement that it is a matter of making sure that New Orleans, which may get the line of credit approved next month, follows state law.

"The same folks who have turned the Crescent City into America's murder capital by refusing to prosecute violent crime must now choose whether they prioritize playing partisan politics over granting basic amenities for their constituents," stated Landry.

"I hope they come before the Bond Commission to explain why New Orleans should continue to receive millions of taxpayer dollars while refusing to comply with the laws enacted by our Legislature as required by our State Constitution."

Louisiana is one of several states to pass a trigger law, a near-total ban on abortion that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, effectively allowing states to ban abortion.

Pro-choice groups filed a lawsuit against Louisiana in an attempt to prevent the trigger law from taking effect.

Last week, Judge Donald Johnson in Baton Rouge issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, which will remain in effect until the litigation is resolved and allows for the state's three abortion clinics to continue operating. 

Abortion bans are in place in states neighboring Louisiana, including Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

In addition to being a reporter, Michael Gryboski has also had a novel released titled The Enigma of Father Vera Daniel. For more information, click here.

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