‘Life and Death Decisions in Post-Roe America’: The Ms. Q&A with Shefali Luthra

Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, 2022. But according to Shefali Luthra, author of Undue Burden: Life and Death Decisions in Post-Roe America, “it had been on the verge of collapse for decades.” After all, most Medicaid recipients had lost insurance coverage for the procedure in 1977 and a plethora of restrictions—from parental consent and notification requirements for minors, to mandated counseling sessions to dissuade people from ending their pregnancies—had long kept procedural abortion out of reach for large segments of the population.

Undue Burden digs into this lack of preparedness by introducing diverse people who have been directly impacted by the decision—people who have had to travel hundreds of miles to have an abortion, people whose highly-anticipated pregnancies became untenable, a trans man who became pregnant shortly after beginning his transition, and a young couple who lacked the emotional and financial resources to welcome a second child, among them. Their stories are juxtaposed with those of overwrought clinicians as well as staff at abortion funds. The result is a poignant and dramatic look at the stakes of losing Roe and a compassionate assessment of the human toll wrought by Dobbs.

Separate Is Never Equal: Authors Margaret Beale Spencer and Nancy E. Dowd on Ensuring Equality for America’s Children

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the “separate but equal” doctrine that allowed public schools to segregate students by race in 1954, it opened the possibility of radical change. But 70 years later, the promise of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education has yet to be realized.

Psychologist Margaret Beale Spencer and attorney Nancy E. Dowd, authors of Radical Brown: Keeping the Promise to America’s Children, interrogate why progress has been slow and uneven.

The Ms. Q&A: Dr. Jen Gunter on Combatting Misinformation and Democratizing Knowledge on Women’s Health

Dr. Jen Gunter’s third book, BLOOD: The Science, Medicine, and Mythology of Menstruation, is an accessible look at the multiple ways that the patriarchal control of medicine has allowed misinformation about reproduction, sexuality and anatomy to flourish.

Ms. sat down with Gunter to discuss the book and how she hopes to “democratize knowledge and make a difference in people’s lives.”

A Story of the Unhoused: The Ms. Q&A with Author Roxanne Chester

How should you talk about unhoused people with children? Read them This is My Bag.

The children’s picture book looks at the day-to-day realities of diverse people—children and elderly, able-bodied and disabled and diverse in race—who are forced to carry their valuables with them because they lack a permanent residence.

The author, Roxanne Chester, spoke to Ms. reporter Eleanor J. Bader in late December, several weeks after the book was released.

Documentary ‘Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird’ Explores the Fight for Birth Control Access and the Road Ahead

Bill Baird, the man who successfully challenged the U.S. law banning the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, is the subject of Rebecca Cammisa’s powerful documentary, Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird. The film sounds a loud and dire warning about the need for reproductive justice advocates to remain vigilant and active if we want to keep the rights we currently have. This, Baird cautions, requires us to pay attention to politics at the local, state and federal levels. 

“The world is on fire,” Baird says in the film’s final frame. “Freedom is on fire.” Nonetheless, he makes clear that he has already done what he could. It’s now our job to drown the flames and continue the fight for bodily autonomy, human rights and liberation.

The Ms. Q&A: Award-Winning Playwright Catherine Filloux Takes on Femicide, Trauma, War, Immigration and More

Catherine Filloux’s writing delves into the many ways that human rights are abrogated by gender-based, racial and economic violence. Filloux spoke to Ms. reporter Eleanor J. Bader about her work.

“As a writer, whether of a play or of an opera, I want to focus on the largely male dictators who allow trauma and genocide to exist and flourish. I can’t let this go.”

Breaking the Silence Around Sexual Abuse: The Ms. Q&A With Maya Golden About New Memoir ‘The Return Trip’

Award-winning multimedia journalist Maya Golden’s searing but redemptive memoir, The Return Trip, takes readers on a harrowing journey. The book offers a no-holds-barred look into the sexual abuse that began when Golden was 5 and charts her course through a troubled adolescence and young adulthood. Along the way, she probes the long-term impact of repeated sexual violation and zeroes in on the ways religious institutions, educational systems, and familial denial continue to intersect and allow the perpetuation of violence.

Golden spoke to Ms. reporter Eleanor J. Bader before The Return Trip’s Nov. 14 release. Their wide-ranging conversation touched on the book as well as the work of the 1 in 3 Foundation, a group Golden founded to support survivors of sexual assault.

The Ms. Q&A With CNN Anchor Fredricka Whitfield: ‘My Work Honors the People on Whose Shoulders I Stand’

CNN Newsroom anchor Fredricka Whitfield has a lot to be proud of. As the 2023 Women’s Media Center’s Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Whitfield’s three-plus decades as a radio and television journalist have included stints across the country, where she has covered both domestic and international issues.

Eleanor J. Bader sat down with Whitfield to learn more about her incredible story.

“My work honors the people on whose shoulders I stand. I know that I have not had it as difficult as my parents or predecessors. They had to endure so much to create the path I walk. I refuse to be deterred. I’m mindful that even on my toughest days I have it better than the people who came before me.”

In Novel ‘Bessie,’ Linda Kass Takes on Antisemitism Through the Story of the First and Only Jewish Miss America

“Bessie was not raised to be a beauty queen,” said Bessie novelist Linda Kass of Bess Myerson, the only Jewish Miss America. “She sought to have a voice, to make a difference.

“Antisemitism, racism and sexism were virulent, and homophobia was taken as a given. The arguments voiced then are similar to what we’re hearing and seeing today.”

Who Is Funding Your University? Unpacking the Hidden Influence of U.S. College Donors With Jasmine Banks

In colleges and universities across the U.S., right-wing donors endow “chairs” and departments, set up free-market boosting thinktanks, and get themselves on college boards, to ensure that progressive influences are limited, if not outright eliminated.

“Koch Industries and the entire Koch network are willing to fund projects for many years. They understand the importance of deep investment. The progressive sector needs progressive funders who are willing to mirror the philanthropy of the right.,” said Jasmine Banks, executive director of UnKoch My Campus, a national organization devoted to disrupting hidden corporate influence on U.S. college campuses.