Abortion is important because “it helps to address the number of people that we have on this planet” so that “we can get to a sustainable population,” the president of the Sierra Club told FOX News’s Tucker Carlson on Thursday.
“Last year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade you all issued a press release saying that the Sierra Club stands in solidarity – I think I’m quoting – with Planned Parenthood,” said Carlson. “Now, people feel that way, okay. What does that have to do with the environment? Why does legal abortion make the environment better?”
“Well, we believe in empowering women’s rights,” Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, responded. “We think that, uh, women who have rights and who have the ability to have choice about their reproductive – make their own reproductive choices – uh, will help to produce strong families and will help to protect the environment at the same time. Sierra Club is pro-choice.”
“But why?” Carlson pressed him. “What does that have to do with the environment? How specifically does more abortion or legal abortion help the environment?”
“Well, it helps to address, uh, the number of people that we have on this planet,” said Brune. “We feel that one of the ways in which we can get to a sustainable population is to empower women to make choices about their own families.”
Carlson suggested the Sierra Club has been “hijacked” into “a left-wing advocacy organization” rather than one that focuses on protecting the environment. Brune defended the Sierra Club’s leftist stances on immigration, transgender bathrooms, and “reproductive rights,” as “the right thing to do” and said these stances are causing a boom in membership.
“Many Sierra Club members may be gay, they may be transgender, they may be Latinos, they may even be undocumented,” said Brune. “We believe it’s important to stand up for people’s rights so that we can all stand together to advocate for a better environment.”
The Sierra Club has been issuing multiple daily press releases since President Trump was elected and inaugurated. They range from opposing the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to opposing the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, which makes the Hyde Amendment prohibiting federal funding of abortion permanent. The Sierra Club has also opposed Sen. Jeff Sessions becoming the United States Attorney General because he is “a proven opponent of environmental protection, civil rights and civil liberties and he must be stopped.”
The Sierra Club was an official partner of the pro-abortion Women’s March on Washington because “Trump’s administration has proven itself to be a threat to women, immigrants, workers, LGBTQ rights, clean air and water, climate safeguards, and so many other people and places.”
Below is a transcript of most of the exchange.
CARLSON: Won’t somebody think of the carbon? That’s the question being put forward by Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune. He and his organization have opposed President Trump’s cabinet picks. Michael Brune joins us from Oakland, California…You all issued a press release the other day saying that President Trump’s border tax on Mexico [that] he’s gonna use to pay for the wall is xenophobic. Now it may be or – you know, you could kind of debate…why is that within your purview as an environmental organization?
BRUNE: “Part of the Sierra Club’s job, our mission, is to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet. And we don’t think that separating some parts of America is, is a good way to do that. Sierra Club stands to protect the rights of all Americans to have clean air, clean water, and a healthy democracy in order to fight for their rights. Uh, if we start to deny a pathway to citizenship for millions of Americans, then those are the Americans who won’t have an ability to use our democracy to fight for a better world.
CARLSON: It seems a little bit of a stretch, so are you against putting gates on the national parks? ’Cause that kinda divides the country.
BRUNE: Are we against putting gates on national parks? Uh…
CARLSON: You said you’re against a border wall ’cause you’re against dividing barriers between places.
BRUNE: There aren’t gates on our national parks.
CARLSON: [Mentions driving through gate to drive through Yellowstone]…Protecting the environment sometimes means walling it off from too many people.
BRUNE: Not really. There’s no gate around Yellowstone. There is a little fence where you have to pay a $20 fee…there’s not a wall around it just like there shouldn’t be a wall around our country. Have you been to Yellowstone?
CARLSON: Yeah, I was just there…why is that [walls, xenophobia] germane to your mission as expressed in your mission statement? I’ll give you another example: abortion. So last year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade you all issued a press release saying that the Sierra Club stands in solidarity – I think I’m quoting – with Planned Parenthood. Now, people feel that way, okay. What does that have to do with the environment? Why does legal abortion make the environment better?
BRUNE: Well, we believe in empowering women’s rights. We think that, uh, women who have rights and who have the ability to have choice about their reproductive, um – make their own reproductive choices – uh, will help to produce strong families and will help to protect the environment at the same time. Sierra Club is pro-choice.
CARLSON: But why? I mean, I get that you’re pro-choice, that’s fine. What does that have to do with the environment? How specifically does more abortion or legal abortion help the environment?
BRUNE: Well, it helps to address, uh, the number of people that we have on this planet. Uh, we feel that one of the ways in which we can get to a sustainable population is to empower women uh to make choices about their own families.
CARLSON: Okay, so fewer people is better for the environment, alright. Well given that…then, the United States population has pretty much doubled in the last 50 years. It’s now at about 225 ish million people. So doubling in 50 years is a pretty quick rate of expansion. Most of that has come from immigration, as you know. So why would the Sierra Club, if it’s concerned about population’s effect on the environment – and you should be, in my view – why would you be agitating for more immigration?
BRUNE: We’re not agitating for more immigration. We believe that the people who are in America should have a pathway to citizenship.
CARLSON: You’re against the wall, well sure, if they’re here illegally, why wouldn’t it be better for the environment to make them leave? …
BRUNE: Because it’s wrong, Tucker. I live in California. I have undocumented immigrants who are on my son’s Little League team, they go to my children’s school. These are families. These are people, who uh, are part of our economy, they’re part of our environment, when we go to parks we play with them, we hang out with them. These are folks who shouldn’t be deported just because of, um, your political beliefs or other people’s political beliefs…
CARLSON: Nothing to do with the environment, and neither does transgender rights, so you could argue that it’s great, that transgender bathrooms are great, and that’s legitimate, I mean, I think it’s a fair argument. It has nothing to do with the environment and yet you’ve issued a press release saying, and I’m quoting, ‘the lack of access to safe restrooms for transgender, non-conforming citizens is an urgent matter.’ It may be. Why is it an urgent matter for the Sierra Club? What does that have to do with the environment?
BRUNE: Again, we think it’s the right thing to do. The Sierra Club is the country’s largest and oldest environmental organization. We’re an iconic organization whether you like us or not, you used to be a member of ours…
CARLSON: Are you even listening to my questions? What does it have to do with the environment? I’m not attacking your position on it, I wanna know why it’s germane to the position of the Sierra Club. Can you answer that, or no?
BRUNE: I was about to answer it, before you interrupted me. I was saying we took a position, we take a position on the border wall, or on reproductive rights, we join the Women’s March or on transgender rights because we think it’s the right thing to do. Because many Sierra Club members may be gay, they may be transgender, they may be Latinos, they may even be undocumented. We believe it’s important to stand up for people’s rights so that we can all stand together to advocate for a better environment.
CARLSON: That’s fine, then become – go work for the DNC, but you’re not running an environmental group, you’re running a left-wing advocacy organization where every trendy issue gets thrown into the same basket and it dilutes you mission. Do you not see that, or no?
BRUNE: I most definitely am running an environmental group, I thought that’s what we were going to be talking about today. The other issues that we’re working on. The Sierra Club is working hard to transition off of fossil fuels, to move towards clean energy –
CARLSON: That’s fine –
BRUNE: We’ve been working diligently and having great success at protecting millions of acres of public lands. We also take positions that our members care about that might not be the traditional issues that you grew up on, but they’re important to our members. And the Sierra Club members want us to speak out on those issues.
CARLSON: You’re turning off a lot of people like me who care about the environment and want to help. But why would I sign up for this? It has nothing to do with your core mission and you’re hijacked that and it’s just distressing to see that you’ve done that…
BRUNE: We’re actually turning on a lot of members, we’re breaking records…we’re having a surge in membership because of these issues.
CARLSON: Congratulations, you just, you don’t have my support anymore, I’m sorry.