Reproductive Rights and Environmental Justice Are Deeply Connected

The impact of the most restrictive bans on abortion in American history has been felt across the country, with thousands of people taking to more than 500 rallies across the country, angry, fed up, and ready to defend their rights. And yet, it was just a few months ago that I was celebrating. More women ran for local, state, and federal offices than ever in history. We elected more women to the US House of Representatives than ever before. Unfortunately, this attack against women's bodily autonomy is the backlash. But to every legislator and person who’s trying to take away our power—we’re still here and we’re more connected and organized than ever.

En masse, environmental and social justice organizations are joining the resistance to reject these abortion bans. At the Sierra Club, we know protecting the human and natural environment means ensuring that everyone is able to lead healthy lives. Access to health care—including comprehensive reproductive health services—is essential to that goal.

And it’s not a mere coincidence that when women have power, voice, and true agency to act on the issues that affect us, we see better environmental outcomes: cleaner air, safer drinking water, and healthier communities.

On the other hand, women will be subject to a dangerous, unhealthy future if we allow these bans to go through. The Sierra Club supports comprehensive, voluntary reproductive health care for all. Reproductive freedom is a human right.

The times we’re in require a strong, coordinated progressive movement to push back on Trump’s terrifying agenda. We have joined the #StopTheBans movement across the country because this is a huge moment in our country—one that could put us on the path toward a more equal and just society or one that could set us back centuries.

Forty-six years ago, the Supreme Court upheld a woman’s right to choose. But today that right and other reproductive rights, including access to birth control, are being challenged. More than 30 states are proposing sweeping policies to effectively undo Roe v. Wade. This is happening despite overwhelming public support; 7 in 10 Americans support safe and legal abortion. What’s worse, the reproductive rights of the most vulnerable women—low-income women and women of color—are the most at risk.

We know the environmental injustices that women of color, women in low-income areas, and women in rural areas face: a disproportionate number of Superfund and hazardous-waste sites near their homes, unequal distribution of funding that leads to lack of infrastructure and unsafe drinking water, and so many other daily obstructions to basic needs like drinkable water and breathable air.

But many lower-income women, women of color, transgender and nonbinary people, and women living in rural areas also face disproportionate barriers in accessing abortion. Gutting Roe would send us back to a time when abortion was illegal. We know that means more women will die or be injured without safe and legal abortion access, and that is absolutely unacceptable. Women with less access to money, transportation, and other support will likely find unsafe abortions.

We are not outnumbered. We are powerful. We need to bind together and use our voices to fight these attacks—and we need to do it now.

We all want a world where every person has a good quality of life, with access to education, economic and social opportunities, and health care. That’s why the Sierra Club is taking action to stop the abortion bans sweeping this country. We stand with people across the nation to protect Roe v. Wade because everyone deserves to be able to lead a healthy life—and that includes the right to reproductive healthcare.

Join us to say #StopTheBans. Visit

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