154 episodes

In the early 1970s, the future of abortion in America was far from settled. Roe v. Wade would change everything, though few knew it at the time. For the seventh season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Susan Matthews explores the path to Roe—a time when more Republicans than Democrats supported abortion rights. You’ll hear the forgotten story of the first woman ever to be convicted of manslaughter for having an abortion, the unlikely Catholic power couple who helped ignite the pro-life movement, and a rookie Supreme Court justice who got assigned the opinion of a lifetime.

Slow Burn Slate Podcasts

    • History
    • 4.6 • 23.1K Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

In the early 1970s, the future of abortion in America was far from settled. Roe v. Wade would change everything, though few knew it at the time. For the seventh season of Slate’s Slow Burn, host Susan Matthews explores the path to Roe—a time when more Republicans than Democrats supported abortion rights. You’ll hear the forgotten story of the first woman ever to be convicted of manslaughter for having an abortion, the unlikely Catholic power couple who helped ignite the pro-life movement, and a rookie Supreme Court justice who got assigned the opinion of a lifetime.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Get Married or Go Home

    Get Married or Go Home

    In 1970, 22-year-old Shirley Wheeler got an illegal abortion in Florida. When she refused to tell the police who performed the procedure, she was arrested and charged with manslaughter. In the months that followed, she’d be prosecuted and publicly condemned. She’d also become the unlikely face of the fight for reproductive rights.
    Season 7 of Slow Burn is produced by Susan Matthews, Samira Tazari, Sophie Summergrad, and Sol Werthan.
    Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts.
    Editorial direction by Josh Levin, Derek John and Johanna Zorn. Mixing by Merritt Jacob and Kevin Bendis.
    Our theme music is composed by Alexis Cuadrado. Artwork by Derreck Johnson based on a photo provided by Robert Wheeler.
    The season’s reporting was supported by a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 57 min
    Plus: The 1960s TV Drama That Dared to Defend the Right to Abortion

    Plus: The 1960s TV Drama That Dared to Defend the Right to Abortion

    In this member-exclusive episode, Slow Burn’s host Susan Matthews and producer Samira Tazari discuss what to expect this season, and what it was like to interview people in Shirley Wheeler’s life for Episode 1. Then, Matthews interviews TV historian Stephen Bowie about the TV drama The Defenders, which aired a surprisingly progressive take on abortion rights in 1962 that scared off the show’s regular advertisers and some network stations.

    Production by Chau Tu.

    Extra: The Lawbreaker

    Extra: The Lawbreaker

    In this Apple Podcasts Show of the Year Extra, we tell one of our favorite stories that we didn’t have room for in the original series. It’s about Ron Sachs, a college newspaper editor in Florida who decided to publish a list of abortion providers in his paper even after he was told that doing so was illegal. Ron was arrested around the same time as fellow Florida resident Shirley Wheeler. What happened next would eventually help change Florida’s abortion laws.

    To hear all of our Show of the Year Extras visit https://apple.co/showoftheyear2022

    Life or Death

    Life or Death

    Jack and Barbara Willke got their start on the Catholic speaking circuit talking about the pleasure of sex within marriage. Their daughter would convince them to shift their focus to another hot-button issue. The Willkes’ Handbook on Abortion, and the photographs they distributed along with it, would help kickstart the right-to-life movement.
    To see the cover of the Handbook on Abortion, some of the photos the Willkes used, and the brochure “Life or Death,” go to slate.com/handbook
    Season 7 of Slow Burn is produced by Susan Matthews, Samira Tazari, Sophie Summergrad, and Sol Werthan.
    Derek John is Sr. Supervising Producer of Narrative Podcasts.
    Editorial direction by Josh Levin, Derek John and Johanna Zorn. Merritt Jacob is our Technical Director.
    Our theme music is composed by Alexis Cuadrado. Artwork by Derreck Johnson based on a photo provided by Robert Wheeler.
    The season’s reporting was supported by a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 56 min
    Plus: How the Anti-Abortion Movement Gained Tremendous Political Power

    Plus: How the Anti-Abortion Movement Gained Tremendous Political Power

    In this member-exclusive episode, Slow Burn’s host Susan Matthews and associate producer Sophie Summergrad discuss researching the pro-life movement for Episode 2. Then, Matthews interviews Jennifer L. Holland, an assistant professor of U.S. history at the University of Oklahoma, about what happened with the anti-abortion movement since Roe v. Wade was decided, and how it became so intense and, at times, violent.

    Production by Cleo Levin and Chau Tu.

    Extra: The Pivot

    Extra: The Pivot

    In this Apple Podcasts Show of the Year Extra, we revisit one of the most memorable stories from the series: George Michaels, the New York State Assemblyman who changed his vote on abortion, and in doing so, changed history. Host Susan Matthews talks to two of Michaels’ granddaughters about their memories of their grandfather, why they think he reversed course in such a dramatic fashion, and what “the vote” has meant to their family.

    To hear all of our Show of the Year Extras visit: https://apple.co/showoftheyear2022

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
23.1K Ratings

23.1K Ratings

MatejaSch ,

Incredibly important topic

Amazing podcast!

$uper$ellout ,

How did a podcast so low on the charts get podcast of the year?

Don't you think a good metric would be listens?

This isnt even top 50…

“Podcast of the year” LOL

Harpoon 95 ,

What a happy narrator!!!!

I’ve been looking forward to listening to his podcast. I always love the work that Slow Burn does and this is such an important story.

But MY GOD who is this narrator??!?!?!?! She sounds chirpy and happy and downright giddy. The script is incredibly poorly written and then delivered by someone who sounds more like they are selling raffle tickets at a circus than telling such an important story.

This season of Slow Burn has had so many accolades. Not deserved in the slightest. Slow Burn, get your storytelling together - you’ve done such a disservice to this one.

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