Loud and Clear: Abortion Providers and Patients Share Stories


Loud and Clear: Abortion Providers and Patients Share Stories

by Marisa Nightingale
March 9, 2023
An illustration of an open mouth with the words, "We won't back down," between the teeth and tongue.

On Abortion Provider Appreciation Day—and every day—we send deep gratitude to the dedicated health care providers who work to ensure abortion care for all, even (and especially) in the face of increasing attacks and outright bans on abortion

One way to support those on the front lines of abortion care is to make sure their voices are heard, and to bring their stories and those of their patients to a wide audience. 

Crossing the Line, an immersive documentary-style abortion podcast from Population Media Center, does just that. Listeners are brought along on the journeys that women, non-binary people, doctors, doulas, and advocates take as they traverse state lines, navigate changing laws, and face and overcome barriers to providing or accessing safe abortion. 
Since its launch on July 6, 2022, the 10-episode series has been downloaded more than 15,000 times and earned numerous accolades: Crossing the Line was named one of Apple's "new and noteworthy" podcasts, won Marcom’s 2022 Platinum Award for Best Podcast Series, and is a nominee for the Ambies Best Politics or Opinion Podcast.

More importantly, Crossing the Line has tapped into a well of interest and connected audiences with helpful resources. Their Abortion Resources page offers a wealth of information and organizations that help people access abortion pills, find abortion clinics, and understand state-specific laws. Their Take Action page offers a range of ways to get involved. Power to Decide is a proud partner to the series, and we are grateful that AbortionFinder (AbortionFinder.org) is one of the series’ lead resource partners on-air and in digital and social media. 

The depth and sensitivity that Crossing the Line’s producers bring to their work is evident in every interview. Abortion-seekers felt comfortable sharing their most challenging and intimate moments. Providers and clinic defenders let producers witness and record hopeful and truly heartbreaking moments—including when they learned that Roe v. Wade had been overturned.

If you want to honor those working to keep abortion safe and accessible, please listen and share some of these powerful stories.

Listen now: Episode 1: A Prayer for Choice

In the first episode, we follow the journey of an 18-year-old Latina mother who wants to provide a stable future for her toddler. Along with 19 other abortion seekers, she travels from Texas to New Mexico to access the abortion pill after Texas restricted abortion access. Led by the dynamic Reverend Daniel Kanter, a passionate group of clergy, counselors, and volunteers run the travel program that helps people get the care they need and share why their religious commitment compels them to help. 

“I woke up at 4:30 in the morning. Eight hours later, I took one pill. Now I have to go back home. One pill in New Mexico. That’s crazy, but I’m kind of lucky.” – Latina mom

Listen now: Episode 2: God Trusts Me

When Ahjonae, a 27-year-old single mother from Texas, finds out she’s pregnant, she searches for abortion care providers across the US since she cannot get the care she needs in her home state. Ahjonae works two full-time jobs, including a hotel graveyard shift, to keep up with the rent and bills. She weighs her options and joins the Dallas-based church group (introduced in Episode 1). Despite her hesitancy to trust the volunteers, Ahjonae calls in sick to work, her mother comes to watch her three young children, she makes the trip to Albuquerque, and shares her journey with listeners.

"Having a fourth child right now would really put me beyond upside-down. I mean upside down, covered-up, turned around again, sideways, and then like just sat on."  – Ahjonae

"Pulling up to the church, I think 'I'm going to be judged as soon as I step foot out of this car.’ I don't know if these people are going to chastise me...I really don't know what to expect. I pull up to the church and I'm welcomed with open arms. Literally. As soon as she sees me, her arms are ready for me to hug. So that was really beautiful. I know as soon as I get here I'm not the only one who feels the same energy of love and empathy which is so needed at this time of vulnerability." – Ahjonae

Listen now: Episode 3: Keeping Hope Alive  

At Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, Louisiana, the staff struggles to meet increased demands from a surge of patients traveling from surrounding states where abortion is banned. Sabrina, a 38-year-old mother of four from Texas, is one of those patients. Sabrina balances her demanding job, childcare, her teen daughter’s serious heart condition, and financial burdens brought on by the pandemic. She and her military veteran fiancé drive 200 miles to Hope Medical Group in Louisiana. At the clinic, they are confronted by anti-abortion protestors—a common occurrence, especially as abortion bans take hold in nearby states and more patients cross state lines for care. 

"I’m not sure how far along I am so I took a pregnancy test. It came back positive, and I was just too afraid to go to any clinics or anything around Texas. Because I was under the impression that if I was over 6 weeks it would be documented that I was pregnant, and I didn’t want to take the risk of not being able to come to an abortion clinic." – Sabrina

Listen now: Episode 5: When Roe Fell

This powerful episode chronicles the weeks leading up to the fall of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. Producers were on site as clinic staff worked tirelessly to help as many people as possible get their abortion care before the Supreme Court made its decision. Doctors, clinic directors, nurses, and staff members expressed their rage, disappointment, and sadness as they learned about the Dobbs decision. We hear first-hand the heartbreaking discussions that clinic staff had to have with each other and with patients as abortion bans took hold. 

“There’s a lot of women who are so enraged…and I am one of them. I’m a human being with no rights to my own body. But a man has complete rights to his body. And a man has always had rights to a woman’s body.” – Abortion seeker

Listen now: Episode 6: Abortion Defenders

This episode brings us to the front lines of clinic defense as a mother-daughter duo and a robust group of volunteers escort patients at Northland Family Planning in Michigan. Since Michigan is an “open carry” state, the escorts wear body cameras to monitor the anti-abortion protestors’ activities. Lead escort Marie and other volunteers gathered signatures for a ballot initiative to amend outdated laws—and to keep abortion legal in Michigan. The ballot initiative was ultimately passed.

“Someone’s access to life-saving and essential health services should not depend on the state in which they happen to live… [or their] socioeconomic status, but that is exactly the case. And candidly, that has been the case even before this change at the Supreme Court.” – Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, CEO, Power to Decide 

“I don’t want people to just watch the news and be outraged. I want them to feel motivated to take action. As dark as the coming days may be, this is not a place where we have nothing we can do.” – Rachel Fey, VP of Policy and Partnerships, Power to Decide 

Listen to the full series at CTLPod.com and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Follow @CTLPod and share the series with your friends and followers.