Have you heard the term intersectionality? It means examining the overlap between systems of inequity — based on gender, race, disability, class etc. — and the effects created by this combination of issues.
For example, overturning the Roe v. Wade decision means the Supreme Court isn’t just coming for abortion — they’re coming for the right to privacy and other legal precedents that Roe rests on, which include gay marriage, civil rights, and even the United States government’s ability to tackle the climate crisis.
That is why intersectionality is so important right now, and for movements to come together in force to stand up and fight back. We collectively need to hold the Supreme Court, our politicians, and the president accountable to protecting the rights of all of us. The world is watching.
That is why 350 is supporting the “Bans off our bodies” march happening across the US on May 14.
Climate and reproductive rights have a strong intersection with class and race. When climate impacts hit, low-income and underinsured communities have a much harder time coping and recovering. The same is true with reproductive health outcomes, and especially in the foreseeable outcome of a patchwork of state-based abortion rights.
Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Statistically, Black people remain more likely to lack health insurance than their white counterparts. Statistics are similar with income levels.
These disparities might sound familiar to the climate movement, because they sound like environmental justice numbers. For example, toxic air pollution levels are persistently higher in Black and low income populations over the very long time researchers have been tracking these things.
Take disproportionately higher levels of heat intensity, a climate issue that has dangerous implications. Two distinct groups, the average person of color and people living in households below the poverty line, live in census tracts that are more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit hotter in the summer, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. Public health experts continue to research the effects of extreme temperatures and the risks of stillbirth, and published studies do not look good.
Climate and reproductive rights are justice issues with clear intersections with class and race, and the people who are fighting to remove access to reproductive healthcare are the same people who are fighting to slow or halt climate action, financially and in the courts.
And unfortunately, the Supreme Court likely won’t stop with Roe — as Senator Whitehouse said, ‘they are poised to weaken anti-discrimination laws and reverse what progress this country has made towards equal justice. The societal costs will be devastating and immense.’ This could lead the way to significantly worsening climate impacts by threatening the EPA’s ability to regulate emissions in the US.
The climate movement has intersectional relationships with reproductive rights, gender issues, racial justice, class, labor and other social movements. That is why we are joining the “Bans Off Our Bodies” mobilizations happening across the US on May 14, and why we will continue to build stronger ties across movements.