Our Statement on the SCOTUS Decision Overturning Roe vs Wade

In an appalling Supreme Court decision, the highest court in the land has effectively overturned the fundamental right to bodily autonomy guaranteed by Roe vs. Wade. 

Many reading this statement may wonder why an environmental justice group like Clean Air cares about abortion rights and reproductive justice? What does this have to do with environmental justice and clean air? Our answer: everything

Environmental justice is reproductive justice, and reproductive justice is environmental justice. In the same breath as the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, the Supreme Court also is also considering a case which could stop federal agencies such as the EPA from enforcing fundamental environmental laws like the Clean Air Act in West Virginia vs. EPA. This clear disregard for dignity, health, and protection demonstrates that these decisions are not motivated by the desire to “save lives”. Rather, the Dobbs and potential West Virginia decisions are about control of people’s bodies, and both work together to establish even more dangerous legal precedents moving forward. 

Our movements for environmental and climate justice recognize that everyone has the basic human right to clean air, clean water and safe communities protected from pollution and neglect. When our lungs are scarred from silica dust, our blood is poisoned by PCBs, and our bodies are riddled with cancer, we take comfort in our right to healthcare and our ability to make medical decisions based on our own needs and beliefs. Our right to the full spectrum of healthcare is no different. 

Beyond the violation of bodily autonomy, white supremacy and xenophobia are also intrinsic to the anti-abortion movement. When the white supremacist gunman deliberately targetted and killed 10 Black Buffalonians in their own community on May 14th, he took inspiration from the ‘replacement theory’: a conspiracy theory promoted by far-right groups that falsely asserts that Democrats are ‘replacing’ white voters with Black, Indigenous, People of Color and immigrants. In order “take back” a white, Christian nation, the theory calls on white people to increase the population’s birth rates. From this foundation, this dangerous ideology is woven into the far-right forced birth movement. As the Dobbs v. Jackson decision sets the legal precedent for further attacks on our civil rights, white supremacy further embeds itself into our national landscape. Through this, Dobbs v. Jackson again exposes our community to bodily and structural harm in concert with the potential outcome of West Virginia v. EPA.

Most importantly, this fight is far from over. The far-right is and always has been playing the long game. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago, it felt impossible to imagine Roe v. Wade being overturned, but the far-right created coalitions, elected candidates, mounted intense public opinion campaigns, and built upon small victories over time to reach this moment. All of this was backed by billionaire donors, many of whom are the same people that funded attacks against environmental regulation. This decision today is not the end of their strategy. The legal and public-opinion door is now open for the gutting of same-sex and inter-racial marriage laws, the right to contraception, and much much more. If, as Adrienne Maree Brown says, ‘all organizing is science fiction’, then today we are one step closer to the far-right and one percents’ dystopian future. 

Our staff wrote this statement today knowing that many of our members will disagree with us. Each of our full-time staff members are Catholic or grew up in the Catholic Church. Still, we believe that we must take a stand with our BIPOC sisters, brothers and siblings in both the reproductive justice and environmental justice movements. We wrote this statement to assert that our fights for justice, freedom, and health are inextricably linked and that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. 

With bread and roses, 

Chris, Bridge and Emily 

Ways to Take Action:

Bans off our Bodies Rally in Niagara Square in front of City Hall today at 6PM

Donate to the National Abortion Fund to help women receive full inclusive health care

Donate to Clean Air as we continue to fight at the intersection of all these issues

We will be sharing further ways to take action as they become available.

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