The Religious Right Mobilized to End Roe. Now What?

Reveal

Jun 25 2022 • 51 mins

Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that gave women in the U.S. the legal right to an abortion, has now been officially overturned. The Supreme Court rarely reverses itself. The ruling means states can set their own laws around abortion. Many plan to ban it outright. How did we get to this point?

For decades, mostly White Evangelicals and Catholics joined forces to put political pressure on Republicans to oppose abortion access – which has serious implications for communities of color. Reporter Anayansi Diaz-Cortes talks with Jennifer Holland, a history professor and author of the book “Tiny You: A Western History of the Anti-Abortion Movement,” and Khiara Bridges, a reproductive justice scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, about the racial dynamics of the fight over abortion.

Most abortions now happen with pills rather than a surgical procedure at a clinic. The ability to get the pills via mail and telehealth appointments has helped expand access to abortions. Now, religious anti-abortion activists are promoting the unproven idea that medication abortions can be reversed. Reporters Amy Littlefield and Sofia Resnick investigate the science and history of this controversial treatment called abortion pill reversal.

But there’s another religious voice that often gets drowned out by the anti-abortion movement. Reveal's Grace Oldham visits the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, which back in the late ’60s was part of a national hotline for people seeking an abortion. Callers could be connected with clergy members who would counsel them and give a referral to a trusted doctor who would safely perform abortions. We hear how the church is continuing its legacy of supporting abortion access today, helping people in Texas who want abortions get them out of state.

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