Tennessee Urban Heat is an Emerging Threat to Reproductive Justice, But You Can Help

From Guest Columnist MTSU Professor Adelle Monteblanco:

Many TN residents are quite familiar with what scientists call the urban heat island effect: when our cities experience warmer temperatures than nearby suburban and rural areas because of how well the surfaces in each environment absorb and hold in heat. With our global climate heating up, Nashvillians and Knoxvillians can expect to encounter hotter summers, with dire health consequences for some of our most vulnerable residents. Read on to find out how extreme heat exposure may worsen the U.S. maternal health crisis and a local volunteer opportunity in August to map the hottest parts of these two cities.

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Eviction Court Watching Reveals Concerning Reproductive Injustice and Housing Inequity

Check out this blog post from our Summer Policy Intern, PY Liu:


To halt the spread of COVID-19, the CDC issued a moratorium in September of 2020, preventing landlords from evicting their tenants so that they don’t enter congregated spaces such as homeless shelters dense with COVID transmission. But the imminent end of the CDC moratorium on July 31st means Nashvillians unable to make rental payments are on the edge of losing their homes while the lethal Delta variant of COVID looms over Tennessee. The morning of July 13th, eighteen days before the expiration of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) eviction moratorium, I walked through the entrance of the Justice A.A. Birch Courthouse in downtown Nashville with the rest of the Healthy and Free Tennessee staff. I expected to see tenants and landlords coming to court to resolve their conflicts through equitable negotiation, but what I found was that tenants were having a difficult time defending themselves and utilizing the very CDC order designed to protect them.

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What’s At Stake When We Call a Fetus a Person

Not every pregnancy ends in a live birth. Some estimates show that nearly half of all pregnancies end in miscarriages, 1 in 160 end in stillbirths or fetal deaths, and 18% end in abortion. When these outcomes happen, sometimes family members and the state look for someone to blame. No one should be punished for experiencing a pregnancy loss or exercising their legal right to an abortion. But when a fetus, and even an embryo, is determined to be a legal person, that can happen. In Tennessee, it already did.

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Doula Resolution Unanimously Voted Out of Subcommittee; Virtual Day on the Hill, a Big Success

This week, like in years past, advocates from across the state joined together to advocate for reproductive freedom at the Capitol. Adapting to COVID, this year was entirely virtual. Kicking off our day on the hill, Nina gave a grassroots lobbying training on Monday night, walking participants through the Tennessee government, reproductive freedom policy work, and practicing real life scenarios in preparation for their meetings with legislators the next day.

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