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WV Focus: Reproductive Education and Equality


Women & Water

capitol under chemsOn January 9th, a chemical leak at a Freedom Industries storage facility forced a ban on water usage (including drinking, bathing, cooking and washing) for over 300,000 people in nine counties across West Virginia. This spill into the Elk River is considered to be the worst incident of chemical contamination of drinking water in the history of the United States. Two days after the state imposed drinking water ban began being lifted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructed pregnant women not to drink the water, creating more confusion and fear.

To learn and educate about the spill, and to build and mobilize a reproductive justice‐oriented constituency to create lasting social change, WV FREE facilitated a listening tour across impacted communities to learn about women’s concerns regarding the chemical spill and hear how the crisis is impacting them. These six listening sessions sought to educate community members, partner organizations, and government officials about how toxic exposure impacts women’s reproductive health.

Read the final report on the listening tours here



This report was made possible through the support and collaboration of:

PCACS smallPeople Concerned About Chemical Safety (PCACS)
promotes international human rights pertaining to environmental and chemical safety through education and advocacy. We serve as watchdogs that ensure existing chemical safety laws are upheld by facilities in our communities. Our work broadens access to information about dangers that exist in backyards where toxic chemicals are manufactured, transported, stored and applied. Environmental and social justice principles promoting the active inclusion of people disproportionately impacted by decision-making are at the core of our work. For more information, visit:

HIP smallHuman Impact Partners’
mission is to transform the policies and places people need to live healthy lives by increasing the consideration of health and equity in decision‐making. Through training, technical assistance and research, we help organizations and public agencies who work with low‐income communities and communities of color understand the effects of current or proposed projects and policies on community health. And we help them use this information to take action. HIP is one of the few organizations in the U.S. conducting health‐based analyses with an explicit focus on uncovering and then addressing the policies and practices that make communities less healthy and create health inequities. For more information, visit:

Event co‐sponsors included West Virginia Citizen Action Group, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Healthy Kids & Families, B.M.E.E.K. Community Outreach Program, Inc. and West Virginia Citizens Actively Protecting the Environment.

Learn more about WV FREE’s ongoing efforts to ensure West Virginia has clean, safe water through our Change the Current campaign.

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2017 poll: WV voters support reproductive justice!