The Resurgence of the Abortion Underground

There’s a common story about abortion in this country, that people have only two options to intentionally end a pregnancy: the clinic or the coat hanger. They can choose the safe route that’s protected by Roe v. Wade—a doctor in a legal clinic—or, if Roe is overturned, endure a dangerous back-alley abortion, symbolized by the coat hanger. But a close look at the history of abortion in this country shows that there’s much more to this story. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case that could overturn Roe v Wade in June, activists are once again preparing to take abortion into their own hands.

Reporter Jessica Bruder explores the abortion underground to learn about the movement’s origins, and reveals how activists today are mobilizing around effective and medically safe abortion methods that can be done at home. 

A transcript of this episode is available.

Further reading: “A Covert Network of Activists Is Preparing for the End of Roe

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This episode was produced by Gabrielle Berbey and Alyssa Edes, with help from Salman Ahad Khan. Editing by Michael May and Julia Longoria. Reporting by Jessica Bruder. Fact-check by Michelle Ciarrocca. Sound design by Joe Plourde. Engineering by Jen Munson. Transcription by Caleb Codding.

Music by R McCarthy (“Fine”), Ob (“Ere”), Parish Council (“Leaving the TV on at Night” and “Mopping”), Laurie Bird (“Detail Wash” and “Jussa Trip”), Safa Park (“Loose Yams”), Ceefax (“Dissolving Skull”), and Column (“「The Art of Fun」 (Raj)”), provided by Tasty Morsels. Additional music by Joe Plourde. Additional audio from CBS, Hope 2020 (Clip 1 and Clip 2), NBC News (Clip 1 and Clip 2), KCRG, WLKY, and KXAN.