Episode 3: Keeping Hope Alive
When an African American mother of four from Texas becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she must travel to a small, overwhelmed clinic in Louisiana to get the abortion she needs to keep her family afloat. The staff at the clinic struggle to keep up with the demand for services, despite ever increasing legal restricitions, as well as daily threats to their safety from anti-abortion protestors.
In Shreveport, Louisiana, Hope Medical Group for Women struggles to meet demands as a surge of patients traveling from surrounding states where abortion is banned overwhelms providers. Sabrina*, 38, is one of those patients. A mother of four, Sabrina balances her demanding job, childcare, her teen daughter’s serious heart condition, and financial burdens brought on by the pandemic. Seeking an abortion, she and her military veteran fiancé drive 200 miles to Hope Medical Group in Shreveport to access the healthcare she needs to keep her family afloat. Once there, they are confronted by anti-abortion protestors, a common occurrence that affects the clinic daily, as restrictive abortion bans are implemented in nearby states, and more patients must travel across state lines to seek reproductive healthcare in Louisiana.
Thank you to to Hope Medical Group for Women Administrator Kathaleen Pittman, Assistant Administrator Staphanie Chaffee, the clinic counselors, patient advocates, nurses, and clinic staff, Dr. Bhavik Kumar, Dr. Colleen McNicholas, and Planned Parenthood. Special thanks to Sabrina, her family, and all 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 Louisiana means that some groups in Louisiana are changing or pausing their operations. Go to AbortionFinder.org to get up-to-date information on where to access an abortion. Go to Plan C Pills to learn how to access abortion pills. Check out Planned Parenthood’s Ban Off our Bodies to get involved.
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 Pidge Productions and story producing by Lynn Hughes and Bruno Falcon. 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 Valeri Ortiz.
*Indicates name change