‘Slow Burn’ season 7 shares forgotten stories before Roe v. Wade

History June 23, 2022
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“Slow Burn’s” seventh season brings listeners to the 1970s, sharing forgotten stories before Roe v. Wade, an era when abortion’s future was still unknown. Host Susan Matthews chronicles Roe’s path, beginning in the early 1970s when abortion rights had more support from Republicans than Democrats.

This season, listeners will hear about 22-year-old Shirley Wheeler, the first woman convicted of manslaughter for having an illegal abortion in 1970. Shirley went to Florida for the procedure and was arrested after refusing to tell police who performed the abortion. Shirley was charged, prosecuted, publicly criticized, and became a figurehead in the battle for reproductive rights.

In another episode, learn Jack and Barbara Willke’s story, a couple who joined Catholic speaking engagements to share about pleasure and sex in marriage. After their daughter drew their attention to a separate issue, they created and circulated “The Willkes’ Handbook on Abortion,” and jumpstarted the pro-life movement.

In 1968, Ann Hill realized she was pregnant after arriving at Yale Law School. She could either get an illegal abortion or give birth, and her choice ultimately paved the way for Roe v. Wade’s future. Ann took a stand against Connecticut’s abortion ban, and listeners learn how this impacted Roe v. Wade.

There are bonus podcast episodes with behind-the-scenes content, info about abortion laws, and what your state’s abortion access would be if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Stream each standalone season of “Slow Burn” from the first episode. The first season detailed President Nixon’s Watergate scandal in 8 episodes and was hosted by former Slate staffer and current podcaster, Leon Neyfakh. Season 2 unpacked Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky’s affair that rocked the White House and led to President Clinton’s Impeachment.

Listeners heard about 1990s rappers Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. in season 3. Season 4 shared Louisiana political leader David Duke’s quick rise and infamous fall in the 1980s and 1990s. Season 5 investigated the Iraq War, examined why the United States declared war, what went wrong, and if it could have been prevented. In season 6, we learned about Rodney King’s beating and 1992’s LA Riots.

Slate Podcasts’ “Slow Burn” season 7 is produced by Susan Matthews, Samira Tazari, Sophie Summergrad, and Sol Werthan.

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