Jessica Frankel was glued to the U.S. Supreme Court’s website each morning for weeks.

“Every morning that was a possible decision day, I’ve been waking up early and frantically refreshing my computer,” says the co-ordinator of the Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom.

And then on June 24, it happened. The court, stacked with right-leaning, Republican-appointed judges, overturned the ruling that had for 50 years enshrined the right to abortion in the United States.

“I was very sad. Very sad,” says an exhausted Frankel, sitting in a New Orleans coffee shop six days later. “But I was not at all shocked.”

Frankel’s organization, which has worked since 1989 to fight attempts to roll back reproductive rights, had been planning for this moment for years. Ever since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 and appointed three conservative justices to the court, which then announced its intention to hear a case that could upend Roe v. Wade. Preparations intensified recently when a leaked draft decision suggested the court would overturn the ruling.

Three justices, all appointed by Democratic presidents, opposed the decision, noting: “Young women today will come of age with fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers.” Overturning Roe means “from the very moment of fertilization, a woman has no rights to speak of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term even at the steepest personal and familial costs,” they wrote in their dissenting opinion.

“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”

Louisiana is one of more than a dozen states to enact so-called trigger laws, which came into effect the moment Roe v. Wade fell. Patients who showed up for abortions that morning were turned away. Those with future appointments were suddenly cast into limbo.

Protests — and celebrations — were underway within hours in cities and towns across Louisiana. Lawyers were scrambling to find avenues to block the trigger laws, at least temporarily. Frankel’s phone was ringing relentlessly, emails were pouring in, social media was on fire.

Louisiana is one of more than a dozen states to enact so-called trigger laws, which came into effect the moment Roe v. Wade fell. #US #SCOTUS #ReproductiveRights #ForcedBirths

On Monday, a Louisiana court issued a temporary restraining order to block the trigger laws until a July 8 hearing that will decide whether they are constitutional. Depending on that ruling, abortions may again be immediately banned.

Two Louisiana clinics, in Shreveport and Baton Rouge, resumed services Tuesday, while the New Orleans clinic began performing procedures again Thursday.

The small, light yellow brick building does not belie what is inside. Its windows are barred, unlike surrounding buildings, and security cameras are mounted on all sides. A screen shields people in an outside waiting area from the prying eyes of the public and the protesters who sometimes show up, though that’s far less common in the city often referred to as a progressive, liberal oasis across a staunchly right-wing south.On the sidewalk outside, some words are painted over, indecipherable. Someone had stencilled, “God loves all” in red paint. Drivers waited in cars parked by the curb, and in the waiting room behind locked wrought iron bars, a man sat with his head in his hands.

Louisiana’s trigger laws do not allow exceptions for rape or incest, only if the pregnancy threatens the life of the pregnant person or if the fetus would not survive after birth (both exceptions require two doctors to sign off before the procedure can be performed). Doctors who perform an illegal abortion face up to 15 years in prison and $100,000 in fines, sparking concerns they may delay life-saving procedures for fear of criminal prosecution.

A further law is set to come into effect that would outlaw out-of-state providers supplying medication to induce abortion.

Louisiana has one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the U.S., which has the worst rate in the developed world. Black people are far more likely to die in childbirth than white people, and Black babies are twice as likely to die as white babies.

Before Roe was overturned, people who can get pregnant in Louisiana already faced some of the most restrictive laws surrounding abortion and some of the worst access.

Anyone seeking an abortion had to undergo mandatory “counselling” — at a cost of $150 — designed to dissuade them, and then wait 24 hours before having the procedure. They also had to have an ultrasound, which a technician had to show and describe to them. Anyone under 18 needed the consent of a parent or, alternatively, to go before a judge to argue for an exemption.

As the Guttmacher Institute notes, “the state requires abortion clinics to meet unnecessary and burdensome standards related to their physical plant, equipment and staffing.”

The state has, over the years, used a plethora of legal tools to chip away at the availability of abortions, shuttering more than a dozen clinics since the early 1990s. Just three are left: one in New Orleans, one in the capital, Baton Rouge, and one in Shreveport in northwest Louisiana.

Many health insurance plans do not cover abortions, which range in cost from about $450 to more than $800, and public funding has only been available in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. Along with the medical costs, people often needed to travel, stay in hotels, find child care and take time off work, making it even more prohibitive.

While the law may complete the process of banning abortion in the state, it’s already been far out of reach for most people who live there.

“Access to abortion care has been so limited [for] many folks, especially Black and Brown folks, young people, people living in rural areas, poor people, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, just to name a few; it’s already been so far out of reach,” says Frankel.

“This just makes it feel even more impossible.”

Surrounded by states that also have laws triggering immediate or imminent abortion bans, people in Louisiana are some of the farthest geographically from places where the procedure is still legal.

“It really just punishes poor people,” says Frankel, “because many folks who have the money or can get the money together will find a way to go out of state.”

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