For years, abortion rights advocates have worried about the United States drifting towards abolishing Roe vs. Wade. Could this be the moment? The Trump-heavy, right-wing, partisan Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The court may overturn two decades’-old decisions–Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey–that protect the right to an abortion. At the same time, a Texas case that bans abortions after six weeks is also making its way through the court. On this episode of Darts and Letters, we look at the road from Roe: years of court cases and anti-choice activism that have led to the current showdown that threatens the right to choose.
- First, (@8:28) anti-choice activists have long used the courts to try to rollback or block abortion rights. Becca Andrews is a writer with Mother Jones and the author of the forthcoming book on the history and future of Roe v. Wade, it’s called No Choice. She takes us through the court cases in Mississippi and Texas. Plus, she talks about what it’s like reporting on abortion while living in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Then, (@26:14) what is it like to drive hundreds of miles to get an abortion only to be met with some onerous, anti-choice regulation that forces you to drive back? Laurie Bertram Roberts is the head of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund and the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama. They discuss their own reproductive rights experience and their work on the ground helping folks secure access to reproductive health–from rides to gas money, hotels, and more. They also take us through the broader battle for reproductive justice in the United States.
- Finally, (@54:35) Abortion used to be primarily a Catholic issue. Today, it is the wedge issue for conservative evangelicals in the United States. How did that come to be? Chelsea Ebin is Assistant Professor at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and the co-founder of the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism. She looks at the strategy and coalition building that turned abortion into a partisan mission to build a radical future.
——————-FURTHER READING AND LISTENING——————
- Becca Andrews has done plenty of reporting on abortion rights and access. Have a look at some of her work at Mother Jones, including the cover story “When Choice is 221 Miles Away: The Nightmare of Getting an Abortion in the South” and her pieces on the Texas abortion case here and here. See her Mother Jones page for more, plus an interview with her about her upcoming book No Choice.
- Learn more about Laurie Bertram Roberts’ work by visiting the Mississippi Reproductive Fund and the Yellowhammer Fund, and donate to the former here and the latter here.
- Have a look at Chelsea Ebin’s work on her website and keep an eye open for her forthcoming co-edited book Male Supremacism in the United States and her upcoming monograph Prefiguring the Past: Conservative Catholic and Protestant Coalition Building on the Right (1965-1985). Also, visit the Institute on Male Supremacism to learn more about their work.
- Plus, for a primer on Roe and Casey, check out this CNN article and this SCOTUSblog piece. You can read the Mississippi law here and the Texas law here.
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Darts and Letters is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn. This week’s assistant producer is Ren Bangert. Our managing producer is Marc Apollonio. David Moscrop is our research assistant and wrote the show notes.
This is a production of Cited Media. And we are backed by academic grants that support mobilizing research and democratizing the concept of public intellectualism. This episode is part of a wider project that supports episodes on the rise of far-right political ideologies. This project is supported by professors André Gagné at Concordia, Ronald Beiner at the University of Toronto and A. James McAdams at the University of Notre Dame. The research assistants on these episodes were Isabelle Lemelin and Tim Berk.
Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples.