Episode 1: A Prayer for Choice
Led by the dynamic Reverend Daniel Kanter, a passionate group of clergy, counselors, clinic staff, and volunteers run a travel program that helps pregnant Texans circumvent state restrictions on reproductive healthcare. The group covers the costs and logistics to shepherd 20 individuals twice a month to New Mexico to terminate their pregnancies. On this trip, an 18-year-old Latina mother who wants to provide a stable future for her toddler takes the journey.
The travel program is a partnership of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center in Dallas, Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, and the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The travelers are flown to New Mexico where they are provided all transportation and meals. The physicians provide accurate and safe healthcare information and abortion pills or procedures to end their pregnancies. Individuals can exercise autonomy over their bodies and family planning through the dedicated support of those who run and volunteer for the travel program.
Special thanks to the Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center in Dallas, TX, Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, NM; Dr. Curtis Boyd and Dr. Glenna Halvorson-Boyd; Reverend Daniel Kanter and The First Unitarian Church of Dallas, and all the incredible travel program volunteers. Also, thanks to the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Joan Lamunyon and Brittany Defeo; Dr. Bhavik Kumar, and Planned Parenthood; And to all those who shared their stories with us.
Some names have been changed to protect identities. Since this episode was recorded, Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. The changing legal landscape in Texas means that some groups in Texas are changing or pausing their operations. Specifically, The Southwest Surgery center in Dallas has been forced to stop providing abortion services until further notice. The clinic will remain open to offer other reproductive healthcare. Also, note that the doctor in this episode uses the abortion pill brand name Mifeprex and later refers to it by the generic name Mifepristone. They are the same drug. If you have questions about abortion pills, go to https://www.abortionfinder.org/abortion-types/pill.
This podcast was brought to you by Population Media Center. Executive producers are Lisa Caruso and Alex Demyanenko, with co-producer Kathleen Bedoya and associate producer Dominica Ruelas. This episode was field produced by Joanna Friedman with production services provided by Red Cup Agency and story producing by Olivia Aylmer. Research assistance was provided by Sarah Field Bullion and production coordinating by June Neely. Impact strategy was led by Charity Tooze. Narration by Tatiana St. Phard. Music by Val Ortiz.