FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Of Fetuses and the Everglades

The conservative right deploys right-to-life as its battle cry, but when it comes to rallying against environmental pollution that is arguably a greater threat to fetuses than abortion, the right is silent. With a few exceptions, there is hardly a whisper from the pulpits about organizing to protect the unborn by rallying congregations to support tougher anti-pollution laws and candidates for public office who support them. Mercury exposure, for example, is known to cause deformities and developmental disorders. In Florida, mercury is as ubiquitous as sulfur thrown on sugar fields by billionaire farmers, flowing downstream to God knows where.

Southern Christians (I’m singling out Southern Christians, because this writer is from Florida) ought to recognize that the rights of fetuses are harmed by pollution. So why isn’t the conservative right deploying their message machinery to educate Southern Christians about the threats of environmental pollution to the unborn, especially since it is clear thatpollution is arguably a bigger threat to fetuses than abortion?

The rapid rise in autism spectrum disorders has been widely reported in the press. What is less remarked is that the percentage of children born with development disorders — some of which may be attributable to toxins in the environment– is higher per thousand than the incidence of abortion in the general population. Now, new science verifies the significant role environmental pollution is playing in autism rates.

For Southern Christians, supporting the rights of the fetus over the rights of polluters shouldn’t require scientific proof. According to the CDC, between 1997 and 2008, the number of children with a disability rose from 8.2 million to roughly 10 million, or more than 15% of all kids between the ages of 3 and 17. A more recent study indicates that 2 to 3 percent of American children suffer within the range of autism spectrum disorder. In comparison a 2008 report by the non-profit Guttmacher Institute notes that in the U.S. the abortion rate peaked in 1980 at 2.9 percent (per 1000 women) and declined to 2 percent by 2004.

Why is a polluter given a free pass by Southern Christians for imposing toxics on the public that has no choice in the matter, when a clinic that provides poor women with a choice, isn’t? Is it poverty of imagination that keeps Christians from being the nation’s conscience on the environment or is something more sinister at work? That, for example, polluting corporations and their executives like the Koch brothers have invested millions to co-opt the conservative right?

These doubts about conservatives tie back to the refusal of the Republican Congress to unite behind efforts to stop environmental pollution from harming the fetus. Instead the GOP is holding agreement on the debt ceiling hostage until President Obama agrees to sacrifice the EPA. Instead of guaranteeing the unborn will be protected from pollution, Republicans rise in the morning to defend the rights of polluters.

In Florida, a new day for conservatives could start by organizing churches and congregations to lobby Republican legislators in Florida and Governor Rick Scott so that fetuses are protected from a threat greater than abortionists: environmental polluters. Start, for example, with new laws to ensure that mercury contamination is stopped, even when it originates in the sugar fields of wealthy campaign contributors, posing threats to fetuses and killing the Everglades.

Alan Farago, conservation chair of Friends of the Everglades, lives in south Florida. He can be reached at: afarago@bellsouth.net

 

More articles by:

Alan Farago is president of Friends of the Everglades and can be reached at afarago@bellsouth.net

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail