By Agalby Morel
One of the ways in which we can advocate for reproductive rights is by educating ourselves on it, which would give us the opportunity to teach and educate others on reproductive rights issues as well. An educated individual can not only advocate for justice but also be aware of the unjust systems that govern the American government.
Here’s a comprehensive list of podcasts to listen to and books to read to educate yourself on reproductive rights:
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington
From the era of slavery to the present day, starting with the earliest encounters between Black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, Medical Apartheid details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It details the experiments Dr. James Marion Sims made on enslaved Black women to create gynecological advancements in medicine.
It reveals how Blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of Blacks. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.
Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts
In 1997, this groundbreaking book made a powerful entrance into the national conversation on race. In a media landscape dominated by racially biased images of welfare queens and crack babies, Killing the Black Body exposed America’s systemic abuse of Black women’s bodies. From slave masters’ economic stake in bonded women’s fertility to government programs that coerced thousands of poor Black women into being sterilized as late as the 1970s, these abuses pointed to the degradation of Black motherhood—and the exclusion of Black women’s reproductive needs in mainstream feminist and civil rights agendas.
Reproductive Rights as Human Rights: Women of Color and the Fight for Reproductive Justice by Zakiya Luna
How did reproductive justice—defined as the right to have children, to not have children, and to parent—become recognized as a human rights issue? In Reproductive Rights as Human Rights, Zakiya Luna highlights the often-forgotten activism of women of color who are largely responsible for creating what we now know as the modern-day reproductive justice movement. Focusing on SisterSong, an intersectional reproductive justice organization, Luna shows how, and why, women of color mobilized around reproductive rights in the domestic arena. She examines their key role in re-framing reproductive rights as human rights, raising this set of issues as a priority in the United States, a country hostile to the concept of human rights at home.
The Family Roe: An American Story by Joshua Prager
Despite her famous pseudonym, “Jane Roe,” no one knows the truth about Norma McCorvey (1947–2017), whose unwanted pregnancy in 1969 opened a great fracture in American life. Journalist Joshua Prager spent hundreds of hours with Norma, discovered her personal papers—a previously unseen trove—and witnessed her final moments. The Family Roe presents her life in full. Propelled by the crosscurrents of sex and religion, gender and class, it is a life that tells the story of abortion in America.
Drawing on a decade of research, Prager reveals the woman behind the pseudonym, writing in novelistic detail of her unknown life from her time as a sex worker in Dallas, to her private thoughts on family and abortion, to her dealings with feminist and Christian leaders, to the three daughters she placed for adoption.
You're the Only One I've Told: The Stories Behind Abortion by Meera Shah
For a long time, when people asked Dr. Meera Shah, Chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, what she did, she would tell them she was a doctor and leave it at that. But when she started to be direct about her work as an abortion provider an interesting thing started to happen: one by one, people would confide that they'd had an abortion themselves. The refrain was often the same: You're the only one I've told.
This book collects these stories as they've been told to Shah to humanize abortion and to combat myths that persist in the discourse that surrounds it. A wide range of ages, races, socioeconomic factors, and experiences shows that abortion always occurs in a unique context.
The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having-or Being Denied-an Abortion by Diana Greene Foster, PhD
A groundbreaking and illuminating look at the state of abortion access in America and the first long-term study of the consequences—emotional, physical, financial, professional, personal, and psychological—of receiving versus being denied an abortion on women's lives.
What happens when a woman seeking an abortion is turned away? Diana Greene Foster, PhD, decided to find out. With a team of scientists—psychologists, epidemiologists, demographers, nursing scholars, and public health researchers—she set out to discover the effect of receiving versus being denied an abortion on women's lives. Over the course of a 10-year investigation that began in 2007, she and her team followed 1,000 women from more than 20 states, some of whom received their abortions, some of whom were turned away.
The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service by Laura Kaplan
A history of an underground abortion referral service that existed in the years prior to Roe v. Wade discusses the evolution of the group, its impact on thousands of women, and its role in providing safe, affordable abortions and health education.
Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal
Tracing the path to the pivotal decision in Roe v. Wade and the continuing battle for women's rights, Blumenthal examines, in a straightforward tone, the root causes of the current debate around abortion and its repercussions that have rippled through generations of American women. This urgent book is the perfect tool to facilitate discussion and awareness of a topic that affects each and every person in the United States.
This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences by Sarah Hill
This groundbreaking book sheds light on how hormonal birth control affects women—and the world around them—in ways we are just now beginning to understand. By allowing women to control their fertility, the birth control pill has revolutionized women's lives. Women are going to college, graduating, and entering the workforce in greater numbers than ever before, and there's good reason to believe that the birth control pill has a lot to do with this. But there's a lot more to the pill than meets the eye.
Reproductive Justice: The Politics of Health Care for Native American Women by Barbara Gurr
The book examines the reproductive healthcare experiences on Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota—where Gurr herself lived for more than a year. Gurr paints an insightful portrait of the Indian Health Service (IHS)—the federal agency tasked with providing culturally appropriate, adequate healthcare to Native Americans—shedding much-needed light on Native American women’s efforts to obtain prenatal care, access to contraception, abortion services, and access to care after sexual assault.
rePROs fight back
Join us for a deep-dive into reproductive health, rights, and justice issues like abortion, birth control, sex education, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and more. New episodes debut every other Tuesday, giving you an insider’s perspective on what is happening and what you can do to fight back.
Crossing The line
CROSSING THE LINE (CTLpod) is a verite’ style audio documentary series telling stories from the frontlines in the fight for reproductive freedom. The series follows individuals who seek abortion services and the heroes who help along the way. Each episode allows the listener to experience the numerous barriers faced and the ways people overcome them as the battle for abortion rights rages across the U.S.
Frank conversations with women's health experts investigating important, often misunderstood women's health topics empowering women to become the CEO of their health.
The Femtastic Podcast
Katie Breen interviews feminist activists, researchers, and advocates working to make "women's issues"...well, non-issues. Femtastic explores issues of reproductive rights and health, progressive politics, gender equality, sexual violence, LGBTQ+ perspectives, racism, social justice, and more - examining topics through the lens of intersectional feminism and reproductive justice. We also laugh.
ACCESS: A Podcast About Abortion
You've heard a lot of debates about abortion. But how much do you know about it, really? ACCESS pulls back the curtain, demystifying abortion by bringing you real, first person stories and expert perspectives. Each episode tackles a different topic.
The Supreme Court has done the unimaginable, repealing the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and stripping Americans of a fundamental right: abortion access. On the latest season of Ordinary Equality, hosts Kate Kelly and Jamia Wilson ask: what now? What does resisting bans and seeking care look like in a world without federal protection of abortion access? How can we build community and support the most vulnerable? How are abortion providers in states where abortion was already severely restricted working around the system? Join us as we decipher the future of abortion access and explore the stories of survival and resistance in a post-Roe world.