The Femtastic Podcast

Katie Breen interviews feminist activists, researchers, and advocates working to make "women's issues"...well, non-issues. Femtastic explores issues of reproductive rights and health, progressive politics, gender equality, sexual violence, LGBTQ+ perspectives, racism, social justice, and more - examining topics through the lens of intersectional feminism and reproductive justice. We also laugh.
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The Femtastic Podcast








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Jun 29, 2022

A raw, unedited, unproduced reaction episode to the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. Includes advice for how you can support abortion access and fight back, in both the short and the long term. The episode ends with a moment for reflection, featuring a song called "Animal" by Jean Rohe. In Jean's words, "'Animal' is a song about my own abortion experience, but ultimately much more: the things we can choose (or should be able to choose) in the garden of our lives, and all that lies beyond our control as mortal humans." May this song serve as a moment of un-silence, as together we mourn Roe and grieve for the millions of people who will now suffer as a result of being denied legal access to abortion.

Jun 13, 2022
It’s no secret that our country’s gun laws are riddled with loopholes, but one is killing women specifically.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, murders linked to domestic violence have risen dramatically, up 58% in the last decade. Guns are the most common weapon abusers use to kill their partners, and victims are usually women. And many of these perpetrators are not even allowed to have guns in the first place.

Under federal law, people convicted of a felony, a domestic violence misdemeanor, or who are subject to family violence protection orders are not allowed to have guns. But these laws usually are not enforced, and intimate partners pay the ultimate price. Federal gun laws and the vast majority of state statutes have a glaring loophole: they don’t address how to keep guns away from people who aren’t supposed to have them, nor do they create the legal infrastructure to keep victims, their families, and their communities safe from violent offenders. Instead, around most of the country, these gun laws are enforced on an honor system that puts the onus on people who are prohibited from possessing firearms to disarm themselves, with virtually no follow-through to ensure that they’ve done so. Often prosecutors don’t even go after these offenders once they know they’re in violation of the law; even more often, law enforcement doesn’t realize the perpetrator illegally possessed a firearm until it’s too late. 

Jennifer Gollan, an award-winning reporter for Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, has spent over a year investigating and reporting on a series called When Abusers Keep Their Guns. From 2017 through 2020, Jennifer identified at least 110 intimate partners who were killed by offenders who were barred from having guns under federal and, in some cases, state law. This is certainly an undercount, as the federal government does not track the number of people prohibited from possessing firearms who go on to kill their intimate partners. 

Jennifer is on the podcast to dive into where the gaps are in the enforcement of these gun laws and how we can close them. We discuss both federal and state solutions to enact this common-sense gun reform.


Transcript of the podcast

Read the centerpiece of the investigation, Armed and Abusive: How America’s Gun Laws Are Failing Domestic Violence Victims

Read the story, which Reveal published in partnership with The Guardian: How America’s Gun Laws Are Failing Domestic Violence Victims 

Listen to the Reveal podcast: When Abusers Keep Their Guns

Watch the documentary, produced in collaboration with Al Jazeera English’s “Fault Lines”: Unrelinquished

Reveal is staying on the story, and they need your help. Please tell them if you know of someone who was shot by a domestic violence offender who was prohibited from having a gun or if you are an official with information they should know.

May 31, 2022

Recently, Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case on the future of Roe v. Wade. Unsurprisingly for many in the reproductive rights community, Alito calls for the overturning of Roe

We know that overturning Roe will mean that millions of people of reproductive age will be without access to abortion care. But what does it look like when someone who otherwise wanted an abortion is forced to carry a pregnancy to term?

We don't have to imagine it, because the landmark Turnaway Study has already studied what happens when, due to gestational age limits, people who sought abortions were denied them and forced to carry their pregnancies to term. On today's episode is Dr. Diana Greene Foster, director of research at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health and author of the Turnaway Study,  which examines the effects of unwanted pregnancy on pregnant people's lives.

Dr. Greene Foster describes how the study was conducted and explains its main findings: that receiving an abortion does not harm the health and wellbeing of pregnant people, but in fact, being denied an abortion results in worse financial, health, and family outcomes. She describes the study's evidence that when people are unable to get wanted abortions, there are profound risks to their health and economic security, as well as a shift in the trajectory of their lives with negative effects on their relationships, aspirational plans, and the wellbeing of their children (because two-thirds of people seeking abortions are already parents).

As Dr. Greene Foster explains, "People across the country will still need abortion care but this Supreme Court leaked decision means that those who cannot circumvent a ban on abortion by travel or other means will experience long-term harm." 


- Read a written transcript of the episode here (remember that it's AI-generated, so it's not perfect)

- Read more about the Turnaway Study here

- Read Dr. Greene Foster's book, The Turnaway Study: The Cost of Denying Women Access to Abortion 

May 17, 2022

In Part 2 of our 2-part series on the misleading practices of Crisis Pregnancy Centers, we delve into another misleading, yet surprisingly underreported, aspect of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (aka CPCs aka "fake clinics).

As we covered in Part 1, CPCs masquerade as if they are real health clinics - but because they are not, they're not subject to privacy laws like HIPPA that protect your personal health information. Of course, by design, their clients do not know this. CPCs then use information given to them by clients seeking their services to violate privacy and confidentiality for many reasons, including to use that info to harrass and surveil the client or abortion providers, to create "profiles" of those most likely to see their services in order to fuel their anti-abortion movement efforts, and - most terrifyingly - to potentially use private information clients have given them against them in lawsuits. This latter scenario is something that's becoming more and more possible as states pass super-restrictive and criminalizing abortion laws. 

Here to discuss this on the podcast is Kim Clark, senior attorney at Legal Voice and seasoned legal advocate for reproductive rights, health, and justice.

No time to listen? Check out Katie's op-ed on this topic or read the transcript of this episode.


- Transcript (AI-generated!)

- Op-ed written by Katie about Crisis Pregnancy Centers (includes more on how the Trump admin and its Supreme Court propped up CPCs): How Your Tax Dollars Fund Fake Women's Health Centers

- Must-watch video: Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

- Designed to Deceive: A Study of the Crisis Pregnancy Center in 9 states

- In February 2022, Gender Justice along with their The Alliance: State Advocates for Women’s Rights & Gender Equality partners released an urgent warning about the role the crisis pregnancy center (CPC) industry is poised to play in a post-Roe United States – as a surveillance tool for the anti-abortion movement: The CPC Industry as a Surveillance Tool of the Post-Roe State

- Experts Say Crisis Pregnancy Centers Could Spy On And Report Women Seeking An Abortion (Buzzfeed News, January 2022)

- More on NIFLA v. Becerra: Supreme Court Sides With California Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers (NPR, June 2018)

- Supreme Court Backs Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers in Free Speech Case (New York Times, June 2018)

- Thirty-One Attorneys General Challenge New Title X Restrictions on Women’s Reproductive Health Care (Press Release from office of Maryland's Attorney General Brian Frosh, 2019)

- States Want to Ban Abortions Beyond Their Borders. Here’s What Pro-Choice States Can Do. (New York Times, March 2022)

- A World Without Roe: The loss of the fundamental right to reproductive freedom will only lead to more state surveillance and criminalization of pregnant people (Inquest, March 2022)

- Additional podcast that may be of interest from Reveal: "A Strike At the Heart of Roe." Across the country, conservative foes of abortion rights have pushed “heartbeat bills” that would ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. Journalist Amy Littlefield and a team of law and journalism students from UC Berkeley investigate how this law went from being dismissed as a fringe idea, even by traditional right-to-life groups, to getting enforced in Texas. 

May 3, 2022

Crisis pregnancy centers, or “CPCs,” are anti-abortion organizations that target pregnant people with predatory, deceptive marketing. They hide in plain sight by operating under the guise of offering comprehensive reproductive healthcare. Instead, they are religiously-affiliated, anti-abortion, and often unlicensed “medical” centers that, as stated by the California legislature, dissuade pregnant people from abortion through “intentionally deceptive advertising and counseling practices that often confuse, misinform and even intimidate” mostly low-income clients from making informed choices.

Eighty-three percent are affiliated with evangelical Christianity, and nearly all are tax-exempt. Their deceptive practices are well documented, and range from including words like “choices” in their names and locating themselves next to abortion clinics to trick pregnant people into walking through their doors, to wearing medical scrubs and having untrained personnel give and interpret ultrasounds even when they are not licensed medical facilities (and operate outside of privacy laws like HIPPA), with potentially dangerous consequences. It is also well-known that in addition to providing dubious and sometimes dangerous "medical" advice that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has publicly declared is unsupported by science, they lie to patients about how far along their pregnancies are in an effort to prevent clients from seeking abortions. The American Medical Association has declared that they "violate principles of medical ethics."

Oh, and your tax dollars fund them!
In Part 1 of a 2-part Femtastic series on Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), we are joined by Megan Peterson and Erin Maye Quade of Gender Justice,  a legal and policy advocacy org working to advance gender equity through the law. Gender Justice recently contributed to a national report on CPCs titled "Designed to Deceive: A Study of the Crisis Pregnancy Center in 9 states." The report shows that, rather than offer legitimate healthcare and resources, CPCs target pregnant people of color and pregnant people with lower incomes with deceptive marketing; provide few or no real medical services; and systematically mislead clients about services they do provide, potentially resulting in delayed care and unnecessary risks to their clients' health.
Megan and Erin will talk about the intentionally misleading practices CPCs use to market themselves  as real health clinics, and the deceptive "care" they provide in order to dissuade or stop clients from having abortions. We also talk about how your tax dollars fund them and what you can do to stop this.
Look out for Part 2 of this series, where we discuss how CPCs use client data to violate their privacy in very creepy and dangerous ways - and the role that CPCs are poised to play in a post-Roe United States as a surveillance tool for the anti-abortion movement.

No time to listen to this episode? Check out Katie's op-ed on this topic or read the transcript of the episode.


- Transcript (AI-generated!)

- Op-ed written by Katie about Crisis Pregnancy Centers (includes more info on their funding): How Your Tax Dollars Fund Fake Women's Health Centers

- Must-watch video: Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

- Mentioned in the episode: In Virginia, University of Mary Washington fellows conducted an undercover investigation into the local fake clinic that targets students on campus, exposing their disinformation and shaming tactics to help protect and educate vulnerable students.

- Designed to Deceive: A Study of the Crisis Pregnancy Center in 9 states

- Further info on the dubious practice of "abortion pill reversal" and how the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says it is "not supported by science"

- In the interview, we talk about an investigation in California that revealed some of the lies CPCs tell clients in their care (including when a CPC told a person that her IUD was her "baby"): Unmasking Fake Clinics: An Investigation into California's Crisis Pregnancy Centers (NARAL Pro-Choice California Foundation, 2015)

- Check out this map of Crisis Pregnancy Centers in the U.S.

- Check out the National Network of Abortion Funds; they can tell you whether a clinic is a real clinic. You should also donate to them, as abortion funds will be tasked with providing even more critical access to abortion care as states pass more restrictive anti-abortion laws (or ban abortion altogether should Roe fall this year).

- Abortion Care Network: Independent abortion providers care for the majority of people seeking abortion care in the United States. Founded in 2008, Abortion Care Network (ACN) is the national association for independent community-based, abortion care providers and their allies. They work to ensure the rights of all people to experience respectful, dignified abortion care. Donate to them.

- And as a teaser to Part 2 of this series on CPCs: In February 2022, Gender Justice along with their The Alliance: State Advocates for Women’s Rights & Gender Equality partners released an urgent warning about the role the crisis pregnancy center (CPC) industry is poised to play in a post-Roe United States – as a surveillance tool for the anti-abortion movement: The CPC Industry as a Surveillance Tool of the Post-Roe State

- Why Crisis Pregnancy Centers Are Legal but Unethical (American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, 2018)

- Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie: The Insidious Threat to Reproductive Freedom (Report by NARAL Pro-Choice America, 2015)

- More on NIFLA v. Becerra: Supreme Court Sides With California Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers (NPR, June 2018)

- Supreme Court Backs Anti-Abortion Pregnancy Centers in Free Speech Case (New York Times, June 2018)

- Thirty-One Attorneys General Challenge New Title X Restrictions on Women’s Reproductive Health Care (Press Release from office of Maryland's Attorney General Brian Frosh, 2019)

Apr 17, 2022

Back in early December 2021, you may have heard some rumblings celebrating that the FDA had changed some of its draconian and scientifically unsupported regulations around medication abortion. Medication abortion, a safe and legal method of first-trimester abortion, accounted for 54% of US abortions in 2020 but has been subject to decades of politically-motivated FDA regulations that placed strict and unnecessary controls on it to limit access. In late 2021, amidst the most hostile environment to abortion since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, some of these limits were lifted. However, the news stories reporting on the updates didn't exactly make it clear which problems the changes would solve and which they wouldn't.

As the Supreme Court is poised in June 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade, and states are leveling increasingly hostile attacks towards abortion rights in the meantime, any expansion of access is a good thing, and this FDA update is definitely a good thing - but is not a panacea. 

To explain the implications of the update, we are rejoined on the podcast by Elisa Wells, Co-Director of Plan C Pills, a website and organization that provides information about how to access abortion pills in all 50 US states.

Elisa explains why this is a win and for whom it's a win for abortion access - but also for whom these changes make no difference at all. As the potential end of Roe nears, it's more important now than ever that we understand - and work to lift - the obstacles to abortion access that millions of Americans of reproductive age face.

[Please note that this episode was recorded on January 14, 2022. Additional states have passed incredibly strict abortion bans since then, including Idaho, Florida, Oklahoma, and Kentucky.]


- Transcript of episode (AI-generated)

- Check out all the fun (and often easy!) ways that you can Get Involved with Plan C Pills to take action to support self-managed abortion

In 2020, medication abortion accounted for 54% of US abortions (Guttmacher Institute, 2022)

- States Want to Ban Abortions Beyond Their Borders. Here’s What Pro-Choice States Can Do. (New York Times, March 2022)

- A World Without Roe: The loss of the fundamental right to reproductive freedom will only lead to more state surveillance and criminalization of pregnant people (Inquest, March 2022)

- A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine supports the safety of prescribing the abortion pill without requiring a pelvic exam or ultrasound. 

- Additional podcast that may be of interest from Reveal: "A Strike At the Heart of Roe." Across the country, conservative foes of abortion rights have pushed “heartbeat bills” that would ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. Journalist Amy Littlefield and a team of law and journalism students from UC Berkeley investigate how this law went from being dismissed as a fringe idea, even by traditional right-to-life groups, to getting enforced in Texas. 


Relevant Femtastic Podcast Episodes:
- Lifting Restrictions on Medication Abortion (July 2021)

- Podcast featuring Plan C Pills and Elisa Wells (Sept 2021): What's Up with the TX Abortion Ban and How Can People All Over the US Access Abortion Pills Online? 

- A Clinic Making Mail-Order Abortion a Reality (Nov 2021)

Apr 5, 2022

Today on the podcast is the Baltimore Abortion Fund (BAF), a grassroots nonprofit that provides financial support for people traveling to and living in Maryland who need abortion care, and as the Supreme Court decides in June on a case that threatens legal abortion like never before, they’re working to remove the financial barriers for those seeking abortion care. 

As of late 2021, 30% of BAF’s callers were already from out of state, and the majority of people that BAF supports are 13 weeks or further into their pregnancy. BAF discusses on the podcast the implications of further state restrictions on abortion care - both for people seeking abortions who live in states with severe restrictions, AND those seeking abortions who live in less restrictive states (like Maryland) which increasingly have out-of-state residents coming to them for abortions.

BAF's Board Co-President, Brigitte Winter, and Director of Development & Communications, Lynn McCann, join Femtastic to discuss the impact they're already seeing of restrictive laws in the south (like Texas' SB8), the costs and obstacles involved for patients seeking abortions (even in relatively "friendly" states), how that affects abortion care and availability for people both in-state and out-of-state, and how things may get worse after the Supreme Court hands down their decision in Dobbs v. Jackson in June 2022. 

BAF also discusses developments in the reproductive justice movement that are aiming to respond to the possible overturning of Roe, including uniting regional abortion funds and, with the FDA's recent loosening of rules related to medication abortion, the possibility of medication abortion as a means to increase capacity of clinics and accessibility to patients. Lastly, BAF discusses the role that abortion funds play in reducing stigma and creating a culture shift in the way abortion is talked about. 

This episode was recorded in late December 2021.

By the way, you can support abortion funds via the event that is HAPPENING NOW: The National Abortion Access Fund-a-Thon is an annual season of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events where community members (like you!) come together to raise money for abortion funds. View a list of all the Fund-a-Thon events by location and date or search for a specific abortion fund or fundraising team by name.


Links and Resources:

- Baltimore Abortion Fund website:

- BAF's confidential helpline: If you live in Maryland or are coming to the state for your procedure, please call BAF's confidential helpline at (443) 297-9893. - Donate to Baltimore Abortion Fund

- Maryland Medicaid and abortion: information on how to use Maryland Medicaid coverage for abortion care

- National Network of Abortion Funds:

- Donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds

- Transcript of this episode (please note that transcripts are computer-generated and therefore not error-free or 100% accurate)

BAF on Social Media:
IG: @baltimorefund
Twitter: @BaltimoreFund

- States Want to Ban Abortions Beyond Their Borders. Here’s What Pro-Choice States Can Do. (New York Times, March 2022)

- A World Without Roe: The loss of the fundamental right to reproductive freedom will only lead to more state surveillance and criminalization of pregnant people (Inquest, March 2022)

- Additional podcast that may be of interest from Reveal: "A Strike At the Heart of Roe." Across the country, conservative foes of abortion rights have pushed “heartbeat bills” that would ban abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. Journalist Amy Littlefield and a team of law and journalism students from UC Berkeley investigate how this law went from being dismissed as a fringe idea, even by traditional right-to-life groups, to getting enforced in Texas. 

- Relevant Femtastic Podcast episodes:

A Clinic Making Mail-Order Abortion a Reality (November 2021)

What's Up with the Texas Abortion Ban and How Can People All Over the US Access Abortion Pills Online (September 2021)

Mar 22, 2022

You've probably heard of the gender pay gap - the fact that, according to the most recent Census Bureau data from 2018, women of all races earned, on average, just 82 cents for every $1 earned by men of all races. Last week, Equal Pay Day was recognized on March 7 - this is the number of days into 2022 women would need to work to earn the equivalent of men in 2021.

Do you know how the gender pay gap may impact your earnings over the course of your career? Do you know that the gap is a LOT bigger for women of color? In fact, the wage gap for women in some racial minority groups is not only wider than the overall gender wage gap, but it is also closing more slowly

While MUCH needs to change on a cultural level to truly close these gaps, there ARE ways you can increase your negotiating power and confidence to chip away at it for yourself.

Today on the podcast is Lora Rosenblum, advisor to and champion of 81cents, a paid service that helps women negotiate higher compensation by convening a group of experts to advise on their compensation and make an action plan for negotiation. Lora discusses the wage gap, what can be helpful when prepping for a compensation discussion, and how 81cents is fighting the racialized wage gap via 81grants - providing its service for free to people of color and other underrepresented minorities who experience wage gaps.

- Transcript of episode ((AI-generated so she ain't perfect)

- 81cents paid service 

- 81grants scholarships for people of color

- Quick Facts about the Gender Wage Gap (Center for American Progress)

- Gender pay gap in U.S. held steady in 2020 (Pew Research)

- Women of Color and the Wage Gap (Center for American Progress)

- Wage Gaps by Race (Investopedia)

- Race and the Pay Gap (AAUW)

Mar 8, 2022

You may have heard that Texas enacted a six-week ban on abortion in 2021, and that other states have begun attempting to pass copycat laws. You also may have heard many people remarking that 6 weeks is "before many people even know they are pregnant." But do you know why that is? 

Dr. Lauren Ralph, Associate Professor in the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program at UCSF, recently published research that found that 1 in 3 people discover pregnancy past six weeks or later, and almost 2 in 3 young people discover pregnancy past six weeks or later.

She is on the podcast today to explain WHY many people don't know they are pregnant until after 6 weeks, and which groups of people are most disproportionately harmed by laws that ban abortion early in pregnancy. 

She also explains the confusing math that the OB/GYN field uses to count weeks of pregnancy, which means that "6 weeks pregnant" actually means 6 weeks from the first day of your last period - so if your subsequent period is just a week late, you're already technically at 5 weeks pregnant. 

Dr. Ralph's breakdown of this funky math will show you how state bans like this act basically as TOTAL bans on abortion, because it would be extremely difficult to be able to schedule and obtain an abortion in a state that passed this type of law before the 6-week mark. 

As we approach what may be the end of Roe v. Wade if the Supreme Court decides to overturn it in June 2022, understanding the current impact of 6-week abortion bans gives us a glimpse into the the catastrophic effects that a probable overturning Roe would have on the health and wellbeing of people with uteruses across the country.


- Transcript of episode (computer-generated, so not perfect but good enough!)

- Dr. Ralph's research published in the Journal of Contraception (November 2021): Home pregnancy test use and timing of pregnancy confirmation among people seeking health care

Feb 22, 2022

It's Black History Month, and we're also in what may quite possibly the last few months of Roe v. Wade's existence as we know it. So it seems an important time to talk about what exactly Reproductive Justice means, the history of this Black women-led movement, and why it's so very important. 

Joining the podcast is Monica Simpson, Executive Director of *the* organization for the Repro Justice (RJ) movement, SisterSong. Monica explains what RJ is; its history and founding by Black women; how we do everyone a disservice if we shy away from talking about sex when we talk about reproductive justice; and why Black people and other historically marginalized groups are disproportionately impacted by restrictions on reproductive health.

Further, as we discuss what may be Roe's final moments, we discuss what Roe meant and means to the Black community, how SisterSong preparing for what may be the end of Roe in June 2022, and how YOU can help.


Transcript (Note that all transcripts are AI-generated and may contain slight errors.)

SisterSong website

Donate to SisterSong

Katie's recommended reading on reproductive justice: "Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty" by Dorothy Roberts


Feb 8, 2022

We know today that the religious right condemns abortion. But did you know just how recently they developed that opinion, and why?

Today on the podcast is Reverend Serene Jones, a pro-choice reverend, religious scholar, and the former chair of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She is a leader on progressive religious issues, including abortion.
Rev. Jones is an expert on how abortion and reproductive rights became a political rallying cry for the conservative religious right. Unknown to many, until just decades ago, the church was essentially silent on the issue of abortion. The Southern Baptist Church even issued statements that specifically said, as late as 1978, that the government should not be involved in abortion. But over time, sensing an opportunity to gain followers and consolidate political power among white voters, the church launched an all-out crusade against abortion. 

On the podcast, Rev. Serene explains this history, and the combination of political convenience and white supremacist thinking that led to the relatively recent creation of abortion as a political issue. She also delves into the reality that there is nothing in the Bible that condemns - nor even mentions - abortion. She explains how, in her interpretation of Christianity, the Bible actually supports the right to choose - both through specific verses, and the consistent message that people have the autonomy and freedom to make decisions that are best for them.


- Transcript of interview (please note that transcriptions are computer-generated and may not be 100% accurate)

-Twitter: @SereneJones

- Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions on Abortion, 1971 to 2009

- (Op-ed written by Serene) - There is nothing godly about outlawing abortion — and Texas' law is particularly un-Christian

- Politico Magazine - The Real Origins of the Religious Right

- Baptist News - How Southern Baptists became pro-life
- USA Today - Jews, outraged by restrictive abortion laws, are invoking the Hebrew Bible in the debate
- NPR - 'Throughline' Traces Evangelicals' History On The Abortion Issue
- Rev. Serene Jones has been recently featured in TIMENBC, and the Miami HeraldPolitico, and On Being.
Union Theological Seminary on social: 
- Twitter: @UnionSeminary 
- Instagram: @UnionSeminary
- Facebook: @UnionSeminary (
- LinkedIn: Union Theological Seminary (
Jan 25, 2022

If you have young people in your life, you may have asked yourself: how do I teach them to be feminists? How do I explain what feminism is and what it has to do with their lives? For young girls of color, how do I help them navigate the dual forces of racism and sexism?

Fortunately, there is a new book that can help.

Brittney Cooper, Susana M. Morris, and Chanel Craft Tanner are authors, activists, educators, and members of the Crunk Feminist Collective. Their new book Feminist AF: A Guide to Crushing Girlhood is a resource guide for young feminists designed to help them navigate some of the most pressing issues young people face. Especially geared towards young girls of color and their unique experiences, Feminist AF aims to empower everyone to live their feminism out loud. 

On the podcast, the authors discuss what Crunk Feminism means to them; how intersectional feminist frameworks can be used to help young feminists grapple with friendships, racism, sexism, dating, pop culture, and more; and what it means to meet girls where they are in their feminist journey.

"Taking the position of a fly big sister or cool Auntie," they candidly reflect on their experiences growing up as Black girls as well as conversations they've had with each other and the young people in their lives. They also give advice on how people in any stage in life can develop their own personal sense of feminism.


- Transcript of the episode (note: transcriptions are computer-generated and likely not 100% accurate)

- Link to the book

- Crunk Feminist Collective blog

- Crunk Feminists Collective on Instagram

Jan 11, 2022

We've heard a lot about the hypothetical harm of Texas' incredibly restrictive abortion bill, SB8, and how it is a glimpse into a post-Roe future. But we wanted to talk to someone on the ground in Texas who is seeing firsthand the impact this bill is having on Texans seeking abortions.

We're joined on the podcast today by Zaena Zamora, Executive Director of the Frontera Fund. The Frontera Fund makes abortion accessible to people in the Rio Grande Valley (an area on the US-Mexico border in the southernmost part of Texas) by providing financial and practical support to people seeking abortion.   

Zaena talks about the lengths that Texans now have to go to in order to seek abortion, and the skyrocketing cost of providing financial assistance in a time when most of the fund's callers need assistance traveling outside of the state for their abortions. Because Frontera Fund serves a large immigrant population, Zaena also speaks to the additional obstacles that undocumented folks, and especially those along the border, face when they are forced to travel in order to seek abortion.

The situation in Texas shows us the sobering reality of what life may be like for millions of people in the south and midwest when the Supreme Court rules on Dobbs v. Jackson in June 2022. It's not an optimistic picture - but you can help. Donate to abortion funds like the Frontera Fund, or your local fund (which you can find on Push your local, state, and Congressional representatives to protect abortion rights. And keep saying the word abortion, as stigma thrives in silence. 


- Frontera Fund website

- Frontera Fund donation site: 

- Donation site for all Texas funds

- The National Network of Abortion Funds: find a fund to donate to, including your local funds

- TRANSCRIPT of episode! (Note that transcription software isn't flawless, but for the first and what will be the last time in my life I spent WAY too long trying to make the transcription of this episode better. They'll be much worse in the future because I'm not doing that again, so enjoy it while you can!)

Dec 27, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven up unemployment among women, and the situation is even worse for women of color. Between a lack of affordable childcare, women's caregiving roles in the home, and the fact that women disproportionately work in sectors negatively impacted by the pandemic, the short-term and long-term implications of the pandemic's effect on women's employment cannot be understated. The impact that women's drop in workforce participation has on our economy as whole, and for women (and ergo families') lives, careers, and financial health overall, will impact the United States for decades to come. Because what impacts women impacts everyone. 

Here to discuss this crisis and the policy solutions that can solve it is President of the National Partnership for Women and Families, Jocelyn Frye. The National Partnership is a national, non-profit, non-partisan org that works to achieve equality for all women by changing culture and policy. They have been fighting for family leave for decades (hint: they helped pass the federal FMLA law in the '90s), and this tirelessness and deep expertise has made them the go-to organization when it comes to understanding why we must push for paid family leave and economic justice for women.

Note: This interview was recorded on December 17, 2021. Two days after the interview, Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), whom Democrats needed a key 50th vote from to pass the Build Back Better Act, announced that he would not support the package - leaving its fate undetermined. Read more from the New York Times here


- National Partnership for Women and Families website

- Article: How to Have a Productive Phone Call with your Legislator's Office

- Build Back Better was supposed to help fix U.S. health care after COVID. What happens if it's dead? (Vox)

- Transcript of this episode (please note that transcripts are computer-generated and may not be 100% accurate):

Dec 14, 2021

As the topic of abortion rights is in the courts and in the press lately, one thing that we often miss is the question of what it actually means to have the choice of whether to obtain an abortion. 

Aside from whether abortion is actually legal where you live, what other barriers may exist that may prevent someone from being able to choose abortion in the first place? What obstacles, such as cost, ability to physically get to a clinic, and social stigma, make it so that abortion is not a viable option for someone, even if they may want one? What if the reality is that many people do not have a real choice?

Today on the podcast is Dr. Katrina Kimport, an associate professor at University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH). Her book, No Real Choice, looks at how abortion restrictions, class and racial disparities, cultural pressure, and other issues can make abortion impossible to choose - from the perspective of people who considered, but did not obtain an abortion. 

On the podcast, Kimport will discuss the structural and social obstacles to abortion, as well as the cultural influences that try to dissuade people from choosing abortion. She discusses the often-overlooked experiences of people who make abortion-related decisions, and highlights who is denied reproductive choice and how.


No Real Choice: How Culture and Politics Matter for Reproductive Autonomy

Nov 30, 2021

In the midst of nationwide abortion restrictions, one topic receiving a lot of attention is the idea of “mail-order” or telemedicine abortion. Previous Femtastic episodes have covered what medication abortion is and how you can access it in all 50 states through various channels. Today, we are talking to Hey Jane, one company providing telemedicine abortion in a few U.S. states (and hopefully more soon)!

Hey Jane’s CEO Kiki Freedman joins the podcast to discuss why she started Hey Jane and how it works. Of course, no conversation about abortion access is complete without talking about restrictions, so Kiki discusses the federal and state-level restrictions that impact where and how Hey Jane can operate (hint: they’re definitely not based in science or safety). Additionally we chat about how access to telemedicine abortion may be impacted moving forward, particularly by FDA regulations, and how Hey Jane plans to protect and expand access despite what may come.



- Previous Femtastic Podcast episode on what medication abortion is and the restrictions surrounding it: Lifting Restrictions on Medication Abortion 

- Previous Femtastic Podcast episode on how people in any US state can access abortion pills online: What's Up with the Texas Abortion Ban and How Can People All Over the US Access Abortion Pills Online 

Nov 15, 2021

medical research gap: a disparity that exists because the vast majority of biological literature is based on single sex studies of males of European ancestry.

Did you know that it wasn't until 1993 that it was required for women to be included in clinical trials? Or that as of 2018, 78% of people included in key genomic research were of European ancestry?

The implications of gender and racial exclusion in medical and scientific research has had huge (negative) implications for the health of us all. It leads to biased data sets that then result in unequal diagnosis and treatment for people of varying backgrounds.

Today on the podcast is Elizabeth Ruzzo, Ph.D., founder of Adyn, a company on a mission to make scientific discovery more inclusive. Adyn recognizes that medical gender and race gaps have profound and devastating impacts on available diagnostics, treatment, and care. To close this gap, Adyn is starting out by using genetic and hormonal info, combined with big data, for a birth control test. This test could tell you the best hormonal birth control method to use for YOUR particular genetic and hormonal makeup. It's precision medicine that not only will help the individual accessing it, but will contribute to the (long-overdue!) advancement of healthcare research for biologically female people.

Elizabeth discusses what the medical research gender gap is, why it's a problem, and how we can help close it. She also tells us more about why her company is first tackling the problem of "trial and error" birth control selection that has plagued the reproductive years of so many of us, how they're using actual research and data to do this, and where this technology may go next. Lastly, Elizabeth explains why Adyn won’t call itself a “women’s health company.”


Nov 2, 2021

Enid Zentellis thought she knew everything about her Holocaust-surviving, Olympic swimming-qualifying, nudist Hungarian grandmother.  But when she discovered that she might have also been a spy for the Allies, it not only caused her to reconsider WWII history, it helped lift her out of her personal grief and helped to understand the power of individual resistance.

Today on the podcast is award-winning filmmaker and newly-minted podcaster, Enid Zentellis. In her podcast, “How My Grandmother Won WWII” she discovers the truth about her Hungarian Jewish grandmother’s covert work for British Special Operations during WWII, and in the process changes her entire conception of who were family was then and is today.

On Femtastic Podcast, Enid discusses the extensive research and travel that went into discovering her grandmother's history, and how the process changed her. She talks about what it was like to do this research during a time when fascists and white supremacists were becoming a regular presence in Trump’s America, when the parallels between modern-day America and WWII Hungary were becoming more and more glaring. Enid describes how others can begin to research their family history, whether or not that research results in shocking findings or mere glimpses into the contexts in which our forebears lived. 

Oct 19, 2021

Today on the podcast is Kacie Willis, creator of the podcast You Heard Me Write," a Spotify Studios production. 

Kacie is an arts advocate who brings together Atlanta-based creatives from different disciplines and backgrounds through art. The series has amassed wide popularity, recently trending on Spotify because of its wildly creative, immersive format. Each episode features emerging writers, musicians, sound designers and dynamic thinkers who collaborate on a multimedia project without knowing the identities of their counterparts. It might sound vague, but it *sounds* (pun intended) awesome when you actually hear it. 

The show comes from Spotify’s Sound Up program - an incubator program for the next generation of podcasters from underrepresented backgrounds. Sound Up was created specifically to tackle representation disparities in podcasting among women of color, who are vastly underrepresented in the audio space.  

Today on Femtastic podcast, Kacie tells us more about the concept of the "You Heard Me Write" podcast and how it was inspired. She sheds light on the unique, organic way that her podcast spotlights the diverse arts community in Atlanta, and what it means that the series showcases the creative work of traditionally disenfranchised communities.

Kacie also discusses how creatives from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in the arts are changing the landscape of what art is celebrated and showcased in 2021, what it means to be a “patron of the arts” today, and which art is considered worth supporting.

Lastly, we discuss why women of color are underrepresented in podcasting, how we can change this, and why expanding the diversity of podcasters is only going to make the podcast world and its offerings better and better. 

You Heard Me Write" is available exclusively on Spotify.

Oct 5, 2021

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the founding of the American Birth Control League, and while we've come a long way since then, fierce battles for reproductive rights are still being waged today. 

Today’s interview is with Planned Parenthood's North Central States CEO Sarah Stoesz, a fierce advocate of over 20 years who has been fighting for reproductive health access in a reliably conservative part of the country. We're also joined by award-winning author Ames Sheldon, grand-niece of the founder of the Birth Control League of Massachusetts in the 1910s, and herself one of the founders of the Women's Studies field in the 1970s.

On the podcast today, Ames will discuss the challenges to just legalize INFORMATION about family planning 100 years ago, and the history of access to birth control and abortion over the course of the last 100 years. Stoesz will explain how this history ties into the struggles for reproductive health access today, and what battles we are still fighting to ensure people have reproductive autonomy. Stoesz also tells us what we can do to help protect abortion access today in the midst of relentless political attacks and the very real threat that Roe faces in the Supreme Court this year. 

NOTE: This interview was recorded in early July 2021, prior to Texas' passing of S.B. 8.


- Lemons in the Garden of Love by Ames Sheldon

- Donate to an abortion fund

- Donate to independent abortion providers: Independent providers serve three out of every five patients who have an abortion; yet they receive only a fraction of public support. They also lack the institutional support, visibility, name recognition, and fundraising capacity of national health centers and hospitals, making it especially difficult for the community-based providers to garner the resources they need and provide care in their communities. It’s time to protect independent clinics, because they provide care when and where others will not, with a commitment to ensuring that no one is left behind.

- Donate to Planned Parenthood

- Donate to NARAL Pro-Choice America

Sep 21, 2021

After decades of pursuing public health policies to reduce unintended pregnancies in South Carolina, New Morning President & CEO Bonnie Kapp had a bold idea.

What if we made birth control available at little to no cost in every community, in every county, for every person with a uterus in South Carolina, regardless of health insurance coverage? What if we did this against a backdrop of relentless political attacks on reproductive rights and a weak healthcare infrastructure, where 30% of counties have no OB/GYN providers, the average distance to a family medicine practitioner is 37 miles, and 29 of 46 counties in the state are 100% medically underserved?

Against these odds, Choose Well was established in 2017. Choose Well works across a network of 119 health centers to provide free or low-cost birth control across South Carolina. In just four years, it has become the largest state-based contraceptive access program in the nation.

Today on the podcast to talk about the impressive program are New Morning Foundation's President and CEO, Bonnie Kapp, and Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Kelly.

Bonnie and Sarah discuss the backdrop of historical and contemporary barriers to reproductive health access in South Carolina, how the Choose Well program works and has managed to serve over 300,000 South Carolinians to date, what challenges they've encountered, and what lessons they've learned that can be applied to other states in the fight for equitable, comprehensive contraceptive access.


  • New Morning Foundation
  • (public-facing website about the Choose Well program and how to access its services)
  • BOOK: Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty, Dorothy Roberts
  • 40 Years of Human Experimentation in America: The Tuskegee Study
  • FILM: No Más Bebés2015 documentary film:
    They came to have their babies. They went home sterilized. The story of immigrant mothers who sued county doctors, the state, and the US government after they were pushed into sterilizations while giving birth at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the 1960s and 70s. Led by an intrepid, 26-year-old Chicana lawyer and armed with hospital records secretly gathered by a whistle-blowing young doctor, the mothers faced public exposure and stood up to powerful institutions in the name of justice.
  • FILM: Belly of the Beast, 2020 documentary film:
    When a courageous young woman and a radical lawyer discover a pattern of illegal sterilizations in California’s women’s prisons, they wage a near-impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. With a growing team of investigators inside prison working with colleagues on the outside, they uncover a series of statewide crimes - from inadequate health care to sexual assault to coercive sterilizations - primarily targeting women of color. This shocking legal drama captured over 7 years features extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, demanding attention to a shameful and ongoing legacy of eugenics and reproductive injustice in the United States.
Sep 7, 2021

Did you know that childcare is now more expensive than college in 33 states? While parenthood is beautiful, there's no need to go into it blind. If you're planning to start a family, now is the time to start planning for the financial costs of child-rearing, both from the perspective of short-term, monthly cash-flow and the long-term implications that parenthood-related career choices have on lifetime earnings and savings.

Here to talk on the podcast are experts in financial family planning: Siran Cao and Mel Faxon, founders of Mirza, a platform helping empower parents and future parents to take control of their finances and plan for a family. 

We discuss the "motherhood penalty," created by lack of access to paid leave, cultural roles that make mothers the default parent, and workplace cultures that penalize mothers - and the impact that this penalty has on long-term earnings and financial health. Siran and Mel also advise future parents on when they should start family financial planning, how to do so, and what to consider (hint: we discuss at length the shockingly high cost of childcare in the United States, which often catches parents off guard). 

Lastly, Mel and Siran discuss public policy and workplace solutions to the lack of support for parents: what changes are needed for paid parental leave and affordable childcare, and how we must create a culture that promotes gender equity in parenting at all levels, including in the design of our workplace cultures and policies. 



- This is How Much Child Care Costs in 2021

- CNBC: New Census data reveals no progress has been made on closing the overall gender pay gap (2018-2019 data)

- INC: Every Child a Woman Has Cuts Her Salary by 4%. But Fathers Get a 6% Increase

- Newsweek: Pandemic Could Cost Typical American Woman Nearly $600,000 in Lifetime Income
- Financial Post: Women are 30% less wealthy in retirement than men

- Mirza: The Business Case For Paid Leave; how a paid family & medical leave plan would help employers

- Join the movement to gain paid family and medical leave for everyone in the United States:
- Project Matriarchs: College students launch virtual tutoring to help working moms with home schooling
- The Institute for Women's Policy Research Report: Still A Man's Labor Market
"Women today earn just 49 cents to the typical men’s dollar, much less than the 80 cents usually reported....The penalties of taking time out of the labor force are high—and increasing. For those who took just one year off from work, women’s annual earnings were 39 percent lower...a much higher cost than women faced in the time period beginning in 1968, when one year out of work resulted in a 12 percent cut in earnings."

- Study on the motherhood penalty: 
"Children and Gender Inequality: Evidence from Denmark"
"Using Danish administrative data from 1980-2013 and an event study approach, we show that most of the remaining gender inequality in earnings is due to children. The arrival of children creates a gender gap in earnings of around 20% in the long run, driven in roughly equal proportions by labor force participation, hours of work, and wage rates."

Forbes: Why Being a Woman Can Cost You More than $400,000
"According to a new analysis of the wage gap by the National Women's Law Center, a woman who is starting her career now will earn $430,480 less than her male counterpart over the course of a 40-year career, if the current wage gap persists. For many minorities, the losses are even larger: African American women will earn $877,480 less over those 40 years, Native American women will earn $883,040 less and and Latina women will miss out on a whopping $1,007,080 in lifetime wages."

- New York Times: Mounting Evidence of Advantages for Children of Working Mothers
"In a new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries, daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes. Having a working mother didn’t influence the careers of sons, which researchers said was unsurprising because men were generally expected to work — but sons of working mothers did spend more time on child care and housework."
- The second shift reflected in the second generation: do parents' gender roles at home predict children's aspirations?
Data from 326 children aged 7 to 13 years revealed that mothers' explicit beliefs about domestic gender roles predicted the beliefs held by their children. In addition, when fathers enacted or espoused a more egalitarian distribution of household labor, their daughters in particular expressed a greater interest in working outside the home and having a less stereotypical occupation.... These findings suggest that a more balanced division of household labor between parents might promote greater workforce equality in future generations.
Sep 3, 2021

On September 1, Texas enacted S.B. 8, an outrageous abortion ban that not only amounts to an effective total ban on abortions, but creates a bizarre bounty hunter situation where anyone can sue another person for assisting someone who has an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy - and be rewarded with $10,000 plus attorney fees if they succeed. In a country of draconian abortion laws, this is the most wack-a-doodle one yet, and probably the scariest - as the Supreme Court, in a signal of how they plan to treat any challenges to Roe (the next of which happens next month), declined to strike the law down. Things are heating up in Gilead, and it's not good. 

Here to talk about what's going on in Texas is Elisa Wells, co-founder of Plan C Pills. Plan C Pills is a website that provides information on how Americans, in any state, can access abortion pills online. Elisa explains what's going on in Texas, how access is similarly limited in other states, and how mail-order abortion pills can help. No matter what state you're in, you can access abortion pills by mail, and Plan C can help you figure out how. 

Elisa also discusses tons of resources for legal questions, medical questions, and general support related to seeking or completing a medicine abortion.

Lastly and importantly, we discuss how you can help by spreading the word and donating to organizations increasing equitable access to abortion in Texas and all over the United States.

Please check out the resources linked in the notes (below) and help us get the word out.

Resources (in the order discussed on the podcast):

Aug 24, 2021

While women make up half the population, you may have noticed that women's health is treated like a niche category. 

Today on the podcast to talk about innovation (or the historical lackthereof) in women's health is Amanda French, co-founder and CEO of Emme, a healthcare technology company that wants to bring birth control out of the 1950s. 

Emme recently launched the first
Smart Case for birth control (and accompanying app) to help pill users better manage their health and never miss a pill again.

Amanda talks about why she decided to create the first Smart Case for birth control, how it works, and the problems it solves. She discusses why there is such a lack of innovation and funding in the women’s health category, and how male-centric design perpetuates failures in products for women's reproductive health. She also talks about the historical "women's health information gap" and how FemTech, and investments in women-focused healthcare solutions, can address it.

Find Emme on all the social platforms, below!







Aug 10, 2021

While accepting her Academy Award for Best Actress in 2018, Frances McDormand shouted out a word that set the internet aflutter: Inclusion Rider. 

In a 2019 Femtastic Oscars Edition podcast, Katie interviewed one of the co-authors of the inclusion rider, law partner in civil rights and employment, Kalpana Kotagal, to introduce us to the concept. An inclusion rider is a clause added onto a contract, and usually an A-lister's contract, that requires diversity both on-screen and off in the hiring for Hollywood productions.

Today, Kalpana and fellow co-author Fanshen Cox, head of strategic outreach at Pearl Street Films, join the podcast to give us an update on how the Inclusion Rider has changed Hollywood since 2018. Hint: You've probably watched a film or TV show that was produced using an inclusion rider. ;) 

What successes have they had in building the inclusion rider into productions? What challenges and push-back have they encountered, and where do we go next? How can those of us that don't work in Hollywood support the inclusion rider, both via the entertainment we consume AND how we bring the principles of the inclusion rider into our own organizations? 


- Color of Change's Inclusion Rider Explainer Video

- Kalpana and Fanshen's Refinery29 op-ed on the latest version of the Inclusion Rider

- Kalpana Kotagal on Twitter: @KalpanaKotagal

- Fanshen Cox on Twitter: @Fanshen  

- Cohen Milstein on Twitter: @CohenMilstein

- Pearl Street Films on Twitter: @pearlstreet

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