A Third of Young Adults Agree With AOC: Climate Change Affects Family Planning

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's comments about how climate change factors into people's reproductive choices upset some right-wing media outlets. But many young adults are already mindful of the environment when it comes to family planning.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez outside of the capitol

In an Instagram Live video last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke frankly about the future of our planet and the threat of climate change. "Our planet is going to hit disaster if we don't turn this ship around. There's scientific consensus that the lives of children are going to be very difficult. And it does lead, I think, young people to have a legitimate question: Is it okay to still have children?"


Shortly after her comments, right-wing news organizations and journalists like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth accused the congresswoman of promoting "civilization suicide" and a "no child policy."

A 2018 New York Times study conducted by the research company Morning Consult showed that a third of young people agree with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. In the study, 33 percent of young adults who had or expected fewer children than they considered ideal cited that worry over climate change factored into their family planning decisions.

In her Instagram Live video, the congresswoman called the decision of whether or not to have children while we face the largest climate crisis ever a "basic moral question." That very question is what young people who are concerned for both the environment and the quality of life for the next generation are asking themselves now. In 2016, Broadly spoke to women who had already made the decision not to bring new life into the world based on our heating climate. Among them was Harriet Spark, a social media coordinator and dive instructor. "It sounds dramatic, but I'm just being realistic," she said. "The way we live currently simply cannot sustain more people."

The science seem to agree with Spark—as does Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who is spearheading the Green New Deal, a resolution that includes goals, projects, and requirements to help curb climate change. From financial health to an increase in the quantity and intensity of hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, and more, researchers say much of the planet will be uninhabitable in the future without serious changes. "People are trying to introduce watered-down proposals that are frankly going to kill us," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on Instagram. "A lack of urgency is going to kill us."