In this episode, our hosts talk with Elizabeth Hines and Ruby Sales. The group discusses Elizabeth’s upcoming anthology, “Aftermath: Life in Post-Roe America.” Ruby Sales shares her abortion story and what bodily autonomy means today, especially for Black women. Elizabeth Hines talks about how the book came to be and what you can do as an individual and a listener.
All episodes begin and end with the 2017 single “Rise” by rock group Betty (www.hellobetty.com)
Abortion itself has never been about abortion. It has always been about whether women will have an equal place in this world.Gloria Feldt
In this episode:
The hosts start with what they’re pissed about (01:55)
Carol introduces our two guests, Elizabeth Hines & Ruby Sales (06:46)
Elizabeth talks about the work it has taken to get this book out in less than six months (10:45)
Ruby Sales shares her abortion story & what reproductive rights mean in the Black community (14:47)
Gloria Feldt talks about her piece in the book (20:35)
Betty Spence reads an excerpt from a Black abortion provider (30:20)
How you can help: Grassroots organizations need you! (36:22)
The Hosts Start by Sharing What They’re Pissed About
Sherrye wasn’t able to be on podcast recording with the other hosts, but she did pre-record what she was pissed about. In a strange turn of events, Sherrye and Donald Trump were pissed about the same thing this week — but for different reasons. Sherrye is pissed at the cruelty of Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who orchestrated the movement of migrants up to Martha’s Vineyard. Trump is pissed because DeSantis stole his thunder. Neither one of them belongs anywhere near the White House.
Betty is always pissed about Donald Trump, but she’s also looking in awe at E. Jean Carroll. This November, E. Jean Carroll is going to file a civil suit against the former President. She’s taking advantage of a new law that will go on the books in New York that allows adult victims of sexual assault to bring civil lawsuits against their attackers, even if the statutes of limitations have passed. E. Jean Carroll has previously sued Donald Trump for defamation after he branded her a liar for accusing him of raping her in the 1990s.
Gloria is pissed that male tyrants like Vladimir Putin are called “strong men,” even as they take away the rights of people they’re meant to protect.
Carol is pissed that the Senate hasn’t voted to remove the time limit on the Equal Rights Amendment. She wants it to go to the Senate floor before November 8th (see our countdown on the home page) so that we can see exactly which senators don’t support women’s equality – and then we can vote them out.
Our guest Elizabeth Hines is pissed about what is happening in Iran. On September 16th, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in custody after being arrested by morality police for wearing her headscarf incorrectly. Her death has sparked massive outrage in Iran, with women taking to the streets without headscarves and cutting their hair.
Our guest Ruby Sales is pissed about a “laundry list” of things happening in the country right now, but a lot of her anger boils down to this: she’s pissed that, by and large, we don’t seem to be pissed enough by what’s happening.
How “Aftermath” Was Published So Quickly
When the news leaked that Roe v. Wade was going to be overturned, Elizabeth Hines was plagued by the question: “What are we going to do?” She reached out to her friend, Brooke Warner, of She Writer Press. Elizabeth asked how fast they could get a book like this out, and Brooke Warner gave a fall timeline. Since May, Elizabeth has been working full tilt to get this anthology put together.
Ruby Sales Shares Her Abortion Story
As one of the featured writers in “Aftermath,” Ruby tells our hosts her incredibly personal story. At 15 years old, she was raped by a family friend. Her mother had been “morally ambivalent” on the subject of abortion, given that she was a nurse in the time where Black women were systemically sterilized. After Ruby came to her mother about her rape and subsequent pregnancy, Ruby’s mother helped her obtain an illegal abortion.
Ruby also discusses the fact that throughout history, Black women have never had the right to bodily autonomy. That reality makes the question of abortion rights and reproductive health care are different for women of color.
January 6th and the Dobbs Decision
Our very own Gloria Feldt is featured in the “Aftermath” book, and she discussed about the through line she sees. The connection between the patriarchal thinking that caused the January 6th incursion and general opposition to equal rights for anyone else except for straight, white, Christian males.
She also goes on to say that we don’t need to focus so much on the idea of “saving” Roe v. Wade. Instead, we need to create an entirely new jurisprudence around reproductive self-determination that’s based on our ability to decide if and when to have children and with whom.
The beauty of the stories in this book cover a large waterfront. They illustrate different circumstances, legal issues, medical issues, and, of course, those intimately personal abortion stories.
Diversity in the Storytelling
It was critical to Elizabeth to tell the abortion stories of a collection of women. This loss of protection at the federal level means different things in different communities, and Elizabeth wanted to share as many of those angles as she could.
These stories come from a broad spectrum of writers, and Elizabeth found that she was able to collect these stories simply by asking.
A huge portion of this book was assembled by Elizabeth overcoming her hesitance to reach out to those to ask for favors. By and large, people got back to her quickly and wanted to know how they could help. This issue really cuts to the core of human freedom and the right to determine what is best for ourselves.
A Black abortion provider’s perspective on post-Roe America
Betty reads an excerpt from Bria Peacock, MD. “As a Black woman raised in the South, I have seen how policies affect the ability of marginalized people to make choices about their own bodies and reproduction. Witnessing my older sister become a mother at sixteen years of age and learning that my grandmother birthed my mother at fourteen years of age, I became all too familiar with unintended pregnancies and how the complex intersectionality of racism, sexism, and classism is used to challenge the morality of abortion.”
Fund Grassroots Organizations
It might not seem like much, but donating money to organizations that are out there doing the work in communities can make an incredible difference. Resourcing the fight is one of the most impactful ways you can help. Elizabeth talks about the West Alabama Women’s Clinic, which has had to drastically reduce services in the months since Roe v. Wade has been overturned. This isn’t just abortion services, but all sorts of health care service.
Elizabeth G. Hines is an author, editor and strategic communications specialist. She was the founding education editor at AlterNet, a syndication service and online community of the alternative press, featuring news stories from alternative newsweeklies, magazines, and web publications. Her work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Women’s eNews, AOL’s Black Voices, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Babble.com, and she is the co-author of the best-selling biography, Black Titan: A. G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire, winner of the 2004 Non-Fiction Book Honor from the American Library Association.
Ruby Nell Sales is a nationally-recognized human-rights activist, public theologian, and social critic, whose articles and work appear in many journals, online sites, and books. Under the tutelage of Professor Jean Wiley, Sales joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s as a teenager at Tuskegee University.