A pair of Louisiana public radio stations partner with PRX for a new podcast series that explores the 2018 banning of abortions in Mississippi.
Produced by Louisiana State University news/talk WWNO New Orleans (89.9) and Public Radio Inc. news/talk WRKF Baton Rouge (89.3), “Banned: The Mississippi Case to End Roe V. Wade” is hosted by WWNO/WRKF Public Health Reporter Rosemary Westwood and will be distributed by PRX.
The first three episodes will be posted Tuesday, May 31 with episode one bringing listeners to 2018, when Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. At the time, the law was noted as “the nation’s toughest abortion ban.” Under 50 years of U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the law was considered by many as unconstitutional.
Episodes of Banned will also track how the 15-week ban moved through the federal courts, illuminating how one footnote might have set the stage for a showdown over Roe v. Wade on December 1, 2021, when the Mississippi case was heard in the U.S. Supreme Court.
A recently leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court implies that a majority of justices are prepared to overturn the 1973 landmark decision of Roe v. Wade. Banned is the story of the highly consequential Mississippi court case that led to the potential ruling.
The series will also feature reporting from inside Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi, which sued the state of Mississippi due to the 15-week ban. The clinic is the only one of its kind in the state of Mississippi.
“It's hard to overstate the impact for individual women, and for the country, if the U.S. Supreme Court ends constitutional protections for abortion,” Westwood said. “The story of Mississippi's law illuminates how diligently anti-abortion activists have been working, how much power they have amassed, and how places like the Pink House––the Jackson Women’s Health Organization––have been holding on by a thread for years.”
The remaining four episodes of the series will be released on Tuesday, June 7. A radio special for public media stations is also in the works.
"Reporter Rosemary Westwood, along with producer Eve Abrams, have produced a powerful, timely, and important series on the inside story of this landmark Supreme Court case,” WWNO/WRKF News Director Patrick Madden said. “This podcast represents months of hard work, on-the-ground reporting, tough interviews, and talented writing. We’re excited to work with PRX to share it with a national audience."
Jason Saldanha, Chief of Business Development and Content at PRX added, “Public media has a responsibility to deliver critical information and perspective to listeners, on the stories that matter most. We’re proud to help bring this important podcast and reporting from WWNO, WRKF, and Rosemary Westwood to audiences everywhere.”