Energy & Environment

If Trump is pro-life, why did he pull out of the Paris Agreement?

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Our country’s leader has chanted and tweeted that he is pro-life. Yet, he just put all of our children at risk by pulling out of the Paris Accord. To add insult to injury, many of the lawmakers who shout about protecting the rights of “the unborn” are the very same people applauding him for doing so. We’re a country whose lawmakers pass unnecessary bans on abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, and yet we’re also a country that cares so little about children’s futures that our president just put all of them at risk.

Pregnant women and children are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate. A country that doesn’t recognize the dangers of climate change is not a safe place for women to be pregnant or raise children.

{mosads}Air pollution, pesticides, water contaminants and chemicals, among other environmental threats, all lead to problems such as miscarriages, congenital birth defects, low birth weight and developmental delays.  


Moreover, climate change disproportionately impacts low-income communities. Where do we build coal plants?  Poor neighborhoods. Chemical plants? Poor neighborhoods. What Michigan city is plagued by water contaminated with lead, which is causing developmental delays in children? Flint, not Ann Arbor. 

When food prices go up or the price of energy skyrockets because of climate change, people who are poor will be the first to suffer. And food prices certainly will increase if we do not take action now to reverse damage to our planet. Weather extremes already are impacting agriculture in states such as Kansas and Oklahoma.

Our leaders don’t want to acknowledge the science behind climate change, and yet they purport to support children and families. Their actions do not match their words — or tweets. Disregard for climate change is incompatible with respect for life.

Just before the White House pulled out of the Paris agreement, it also began working to expand exemptions to birth control coverage under employee-provided insurance. Simply put, this will make it harder and more expensive for many American women to get birth control.

Family planning and abortion care allow individuals to decide for themselves whether to become parents or add to the families they already have. Those of us in this movement have great respect for the life of every child. We want every child born to be wanted, cared for and loved. The majority of patients at the clinics I have opened already are mothers — some 70 percent. Our lawmakers have no right to take away their tools to provide for the families they already have. This is another slap in the face to those of us who care about the future of our families.

We can’t afford to further harm our children’s futures by taking contraceptive coverage away from their mothers, just like we can’t afford to gamble our children’s futures by leaving the Paris Accord.

The Population Institute gave the United States a D on its 2016 report card on reproductive health care and rights, and given the current administration, I see that grade falling even lower.

The grade is but one measure of how we are treating women and their families. I fear our planet will give us an F.

Julie A. Burkhart is the founder and CEO of Trust Women Foundation. Trust Women opens clinics that provide abortion care in underserved communities so that all women can make their own decisions about their healthcare. Follow her on Twitter @julieburkhart


 The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill. 

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