The Polemics between Reproductive Rights and Environmental Sustainability

Rosemary Oyinlola Popoola

Abstract


Sustainability- which connotes development that benefits the present generation without impairing the future generations’ ability to meet their needs- is a common term in the social sciences. However, population growth and the demand it imposes on a sustainable environment, particularly with the challenge of climate change, have been major human concerns. The linkage between population growth and global climate change has resulted in various prescriptions and propositions aimed at reducing population through family planning and abortion. The introduction of such mechanisms has led to agitation from women’s groups, who argue that such approach infringes on women’s reproductive rights. The growing tension and debate have exacerbated concerns about what should be most important: enforcing women’s rights or sourcing alternatives for addressing climate change? Using a qualitative and descriptive approach, based on secondary data, this paper addresses the following: should protecting women’s rights be at the expense of addressing climate change? Should protecting the environment be pursued even at the cost of putting women’s health at risk? The study found, among other things, that women are most vulnerable to global climate change and other environmental hazards. Therefore, this paper maintains that while addressing women’s rights and climate change remain fundamental, sustainability requires much more than balancing population growth and combating the challenges posed by climate change. It recommends alternative strategies that protect women’s rights while addressing environmental concerns.


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