NEW ORLEANS — Public media organizations WWNO in New Orleans, WRKF in Baton Rouge, and PRX today announced “Banned: The Mississippi Case to End Roe V. Wade,” a new podcast series.
“Banned” is hosted and reported by public health reporter Rosemary Westwood of WWNO/WRKF. A production of WWNO and WRFK, the series is distributed by PRX. An audio trailer is available now.
As 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, the constitutional right to an abortion is now on the brink. “Banned” is the story of the highly consequential Mississippi court case that led to this moment in America.
The seven-part podcast series will launch on Tuesday, May 31 with three episodes available to listeners. The additional episodes comprising the series will be released on Tuesday, June 7. The series will be available free across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and at bannedpodcast.org.
In episode one, “Banned” will bring 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, leading to the question: why was it passed?
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. In addition, the series will feature reporting from inside Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi, which sued the state of Mississippi due to the 15-week ban. As women travel from across the South for care at the facility, the only clinic of its kind in the state, what does it take to get there? For those currently working at the clinic, what drives their work? If Roe V. Wade is overturned, what will become of it?
“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,” said host and reporter Rosemary Westwood. “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 production team for “Banned” includes host, reporter, and producer Rosemary Westwood, production and editing from Eve Abrams, editorial assistance from Patrick Madden and Priska Neely, engineering by George Ingmire, and digital assistance from Katelyn Umholtz and Orlando Flores Jr.
Details regarding a public radio special rooted in the reporting of “Banned” — which will be made available to the public media system nationwide — will be shared at a later date.
“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,” said Patrick Madden, News Director at WWNO and WRKF. “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.”
“Public media has a responsibility to deliver critical information and perspective to listeners, on the stories that matter most,” said Jason Saldanha, Chief of Business Development and Content at PRX. “We’re proud to help bring this important podcast and reporting from WWNO, WRKF, and Rosemary Westwood to audiences everywhere.”
PRX is also the distributor of the “Life Raft” podcast from WWNO and WRKF, exploring questions about living with climate change.
For more about “Banned,” visit bannedpodcast.org.
WWNO New Orleans Public Radio is a member-supported news and cultural organization dedicated to telling Southeast Louisiana’s stories to the world and bringing the world to Southeast Louisiana. WWNO is an NPR member station and is licensed to and operated by the University of New Orleans. WWNO provides local news and cultural programming on 89.9 FM; 24-hour classical music on Classical 104.9 FM; and 24-hour jazz on 89.9 HD3. Visit wwno.org for more information.
WRKF is Baton Rouge’s locally owned and operated public radio station. Thanks to community support, WRKF brings NPR news, local journalism, and cultural programming to Baton Rouge and 18 parishes in South Louisiana. WRKF provides news and cultural programs at 89.3 FM. WRKF Classical is on HD radios at 89.3 HD2 24 hours per day. Go to wrkf.org for more information.
PRX is a non-profit public media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling. PRX serves independent producers and organizations by helping them connect to their most engaged, supportive audiences. One of the world’s leading podcast publishers, PRX works in partnership with TED, PBS, the Smithsonian, Futuro Media, GBH, Religion of Sports, and more. PRX is also home to Radiotopia, known as one of the most creative and successful podcast networks. In addition, PRX distributes trusted and treasured public radio programming to hundreds of stations nationwide, including “The World,” “The Moth Radio Hour,” “This American Life,” “Snap Judgment,” “Reveal,” “The Takeaway,” and “Latino USA.” PRX programs have been recognized by the Peabody Awards, the duPont-Columbia Awards, the IDA Documentary Awards, and the Pulitzer Prizes. Visit PRX.org for more.