Difference between revisions of "Anti-Environment, Anti-Choice Groups Make Their Moves"
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(Created page with "<pre> Zero Population Growth Washington, D.C. This article discusses the Right's involvement in working to weaken environmental protection. Population advocates are wel...")
Latest revision as of 13:43, 29 July 2020
Zero Population Growth Washington, D.C. This article discusses the Right's involvement in working to weaken environmental protection. Population advocates are well served by an understanding of their formidable opponents, namely the anti-choice and anti-environmental "user" groups (deceptively termed the "Wise Use" movement by its participants). Both these groups perpetuate effective misinformation campaigns: Users pit jobs vs. the environment; anti-choice extremists preach a "family values" agenda that promotes sexual ignorance over education. The tactics and moralistic language used by the anti-choice and anti-environmental groups are remarkably similar, and have become all too familiar to many population advocates. Such groups play a significant rule in shaping political debate, and have proven themselves effective opponents to both reproductive choice and a health environment. Preaching Spontaneous Abundance The anti-choice and anti-environmental movements are similar in that they both espouse a pro-growth doctrine and a faith in the limitless abundance of natural resources. Anti-choice leaders take the biblical mandate to "be fruitful and multiply" literally -- promoting an anti-abortion, anti- contraception and anti-sex education agenda. In a similar vein, the anti- environmentalists believe that humankind's mission is to dominate and "subdue the earth." Their political agenda includes opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for all exploration, clear-cutting old growth forests, gutting the Endangered Species Act and opening 10 million acres of designated wilderness to development. As Ron Arnold, one of the most outspoken leaders of the User movement, explained, "We want you to be able to exploit the environment for private gain, absolutely. And we want people to understand that is a noble goal." "It's a holy war between fundamentally different religions," proclaims Charles Cushman of the National Inholders Association, an anti-environmental organization, "The preservationists [environmentalists] are . . . worshipping trees and animals and sacrificing people . . ." A similar viewpoint is expressed by Judie Brown, anti-choice leader and president of the American Life League: "[Environmentalists] are more concerned with saving animal life such as whales, seals, snail darters, owls and hawks. They are equally concerned about controlling the numbers of human beings who live on the earth because they view human beings, another animal form, as a threat to the animals they claim are 'endangered species.'" Anti-environment and anti-abortion extremists also portray environmental and pro-choice advocates as the new political threat. It's as if they are looking for a substitute for the Cold War. As former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall aptly puts it, "the color green has become red" in the eyes of the far Right. Allusions to a "socialist plot" to control people and destroy the economy are found throughout anti-environment and anti-choice rhetoric. "The phony environmental crisis is a socialist plot to create so much bureaucratic control of business in the name of saving the environment that it will cost billions of dollars and thousands of lost jobs during the next ten years," writes Fundamentalist Reverend Tim LaHaye, former board member of the Moral Majority. The anti-choice organization, Human Life International warns that ". . . the birthrate is below reproduction, and the industrial power of the nation will certainly decline . . a direct result of Planned Parenthood's work." Know Thy Enemy Combining skilled rhetoric and a subtle distortion of the facts, the anti- choice and User movements have successfully employed similar tactics to stymie pro-choice and environmental initiatives. With the help of two sympathetic presidential administrations, anti-choice and anti-environmental ideologues have infiltrated the courts and federal agencies -- wielding tremendous influence over policies relating to reproductive health and the environment. In particular, both camps have effectively used the judicial system to advance their agendas and undermine precedents that protect reproductive rights and the quality of the environment. In two symbolic decisions handed down this June, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey and Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, the U. S. Supreme Court confirmed every population advocate's deepest fear -- that we can't rely on the highest Court to protect our fundamental rights to individual reproductive choice and a healthy environment. Both cases have sent a confusing and insidious message. While on the surface the decisions appeared to uphold the right to choose and the right to protect the environment, by the same stroke the Court undermined the principles that enable us to exercise these very rights, thereby diminishing their constitutional protection. In Casey, the Court severely weakened Roe v. Wade, the precedent establishing a constitutional right to choose abortion, by allowing states to restrict access to abortion services. In the Lucas case, the Court set a disturbing new precedent which calls into question the ability of state and federal government to enforce environmental regulations when they impact upon private property owners. As a result, the Court catapulted reproductive rights and environmental issues squarely into the political debate and shifted the battleground from the judicial to the legislative arena. The anti-choice lobby has effectively impeded the progress of pro-choice legislation by "littering" pro-choice bills with anti-choice amendments such as mandatory parental involvement for minors seeking abortion and mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion. Likewise, anti-environmentalist are gearing up to load the federal Endangered Species Act with debilitating amendments as the reauthorization process begins. To rally support for their legislative agendas, both camps have taken a unique approach to grassroots activism. Many of the User organizations are, in reality, merely frustrated corporate interests. Compulsory activism in which mining and timber industries fund and coordinate "grassroots demonstrations" of workers to protest un-employed by Users. Anti-choice leaders use mandatory "school trips", sponsored by private religious institutions to fill their ranks at political rallies. Through this technique, these movements attempt to falsely project the appearance of broad voluntary support for their political agendas. The "Vision Thing" Difficult economic times have helped to fuel increasing fears about the future. Anti-environment and anti-choice leaders have effectively used this fear to energize their crusades. The vision of the future promulgated by the Users is one in which a healthy environment can only mean lost jobs and lost profits. Anti-choice groups contend that women must not "deny their feminine nature" and should leave the workforce to return to the job of procreation as their fundamental mission. Such a vision ignores the economic necessity of women having to work outside the home to support their families as well as the economic and social impact of forcing women to have unwanted children. In addition, the long-term costs of a polluted and degraded environment are dismissed at a time when an increasing member of economists and political leaders recognize the connection between environmental health and economic well-being. The challenge facing the pro-choice and environmental communities is to regain control of the debate and promote a new vision of the future. A variety of polls show that Americans are committed to preserving freedom of choice and protecting the environment. A poll conducted by the League of Conservation Voters found that 69 percent of Americans choose environmental protection over the economy. A recent Associated Press poll found that 60 percent of Americans support a woman's right to choose abortion. As the nation struggles for solutions to escalating social, economic and environmental problems, many voters have expressed a desire for change. Unfortunately, while wide-spread support for choice and the environment clearly exists, the public has found itself mired in the elaborate rhetoric surrounding these issues.