Fossil fuel pollution and right-wing justices the industry helped install on the Supreme Court are combining to compound health and legal risks for pregnant people, Atmos reports. Climate change and pollution caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels (and wildfires) increase the risk of stillbirth (miscarriage after 20 weeks of pregnancy), preterm birth, and low birth weight. It is virtually impossible for a doctor to distinguish a miscarriage from an abortion.
With the Supreme Court poised to strike down the federal right to obtain an abortion — and 26 states likely or certain to ban criminalize abortion once it does — people whose pregnancies end in miscarriage could face police investigations and even prosecution for something over which they had no control and in many cases never wanted to happen.
Black people are also three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white people, and people of color are increasingly giving birth at home, in part to avoid the entrenched cultural racism of the U.S. health care system. The threat of criminalizing both spontaneous miscarriage and abortion (and even the use of contraception) puts Black, Indigenous, and pregnant people of color at even greater risk because these communities are disproportionately targeted by police forces. The draft opinion could also seriously undermine the ability of the federal government to limit industrial pollution, further exacerbating the vicious cycle of pollution and pregnancy threats. (Climate-abortion intersection: Atmos; Health care racism: NewsOne; Impending criminalization: The 19th* News; Contraception: The Guardian, Today, Mother Jones, Forbes, Idaho Statesman, Washington Post $)