Tip/Thought of the Day

Justice by Geography

Justice by geography is nothing new.

When I worked at Planned Parenthood in my teens those who had money and connections could get quality reproductive care, even abortions, in Canada and Europe. The rest? They had to be satisfied with raising a baby they didn’t want or going to Mexico, alleys, or using a hanger.

In the 1900’s, segregation and hangings were rampant. Survival depended on where you lived. The struggle to ensure people of color, different backgrounds, sexual preferences and beliefs, and women have the same rights of citizenship granted white men started just a few decades ago. Many alive today still bear the scars those years produced.

In the last 50 years that fight forced more uniform laws across our nation. It wasn’t perfect, depending on the state it may not have been great, but it was progress none-the-less. Abortions became legal. Segregation was outlawed and affirmative action tried to increase the options for those so long denied. Interracial and gay marriages became legal, and more LGBTQ rights honored.

We had seen uplifting and breathtaking changes for so long we forgot how quickly it can change.

Live in Oregon you can get access to women’s reproductive health care without fear of breaking the law or reprisals from the state. Nothing changed when Roe v. Wade was overturned- birth control, fertility interventions, abortions, appropriate miscarriage treatments. Just across the state line in Idaho, reproductive rights were effectively abolished, unless of course you have the wealth, time and ability to travel. Live In Louisiana you’d have to go thousands of miles to find a state that honors your rights. But even then, Republican governors in 19 states are advocating tracking you down and making you and anyone who helped, pay. 

The military has acknowledged for decades that borders can impact health depending on where you’re stationed. As a result, they authorized the right to seek care in another state or country when needed. Now a single senator, Tommy Tuberville, is blocking all necessary promotions and putting national security at risk to end that option.

Unlike other countries, education in the U.S. is not standardized. Each state decides its own curriculum and books. Want a well-rounded education that teaches all aspects from the good to the bad to the ugly? It’ll depend on where you live. 

Florida just announced a social studies curriculum that actually teaches slavery helped slaves by “developing skills that could be used for personal benefits.”

Texas Governor Abbott signed a bill that requires at least one teacher and campus administrator attend a civics training program on how to teach race and racism in Texas schools.

Book banning has reached an all-time high and, in some states, like Florida, just one person can force a book off the school shelf

The color of your skin can be the deciding factor whether you sit in a jail cell while awaiting trial, get shot at a neighbor’s door or die because you slept in your car at Wendy’s. As well as the legal consequences to the ones who pulled the trigger through “stand your ground,” and “castle doctrines” laws.

Depending on where you live, gun laws, or lack thereof, impact your risk of dying. Florida and Texas have a per capita death rate from firearm death 3-4 times New York. The southern part of America has the highest rate of gun violence. 

Geography puts the poor at highest risk for exposure to climate changes when they are unable to provide shelter, heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. Just cranking up the furnace or air conditioner isn’t an option for those without units or the ability to pay. More deaths have occurred from heat than floods, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. It’s the deadliest weather-related event in the United States. An insidious danger because we don’t see it coming or feel the effects until it’s too late. 

Those in power have the ability to redraw, or gerrymander, political districts effectively guaranteeing they’ll stay in office forever. Ensuring justice by geography never ends.

An onslaught of anti-LGBQT laws makes life in some states intolerable and in others potentially deadly. The ACLU is tracking 492 anti-LGBTQ bills that prevent healthcare, bans books on the subject, turns over medical records to attorneys general of the state, threatens arrest for putting on a drag show, prevents people from using public bathrooms without proving their gender first, or participating in sports.

After World War II, we saw the unimaginable horrors perpetrated against people because of their faith, skin color, or cultural background. They were used as scapegoats to rouse up the population and distract them while those in power created a choke hold so strong no one would eventually survive. After McCarthyism and Watergate, we realized the devastating loopholes in our own democracy that could allow for such abuses. 

We saw the future those paths created.

We are at another tipping point. Each of us can impact where we land.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.