Violations of Reproductive Rights through Environmental Degradation

Andrea Smith, an American academic, focused on violence against Native American women states, “Many feminist theorists have argued that there is a common connection between the patriarchy’s disregard for nature, women, and indigenous people.” The common connection between violations of reproductive rights and environmental degradation is extremely evident in SD. 

More than 7,000 holes have been drilled for uranium mining in the Black Hills and 272 abandoned mines still exist and are emitting radiation in SD. The United Church of Christ found that race was one of the most significant factors in the location of waste facilities. More than 50 reservations have been targeted as waste dumps and more than 50% are subject to uranium radiation.

The lack of concern for environmental protection in South Dakota subsequently impacts the reproductive rights of female citizens. Women of All Red Nations conclude that there is a strong relationship between high miscarriage rates and reproductive cancers as consequences of uranium mining. Thus, Native American women’s rate of miscarriage in South Dakota are six times higher than the national average. Paired with a very high infant mortality, cancer, and birth defect rates. It’s time for a change in South Dakota, enough is enough. 


Smith, A. (2005). Conquest. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.