4/13 The War On Women Beyond Roe w/ Sara Matthiesen

April 13, 2022

Emma hosts Sara Matthiesen, Professor of History at George Washington University, to discuss her recent book Reproduction Reconceived: Family Making and the Limits of Choice After Roe V. Wade, and how reproductive rights and the concept of choice have been manipulated and under attack in the age of Roe. Professor Matthiesen and Emma begin by exploring the large-scale questions of the book, from how Roe v. Wade completely changed the conversation around bodily autonomy to one on the idea of choice, to how the treatment of family plays into this. Sara Matthiesen then gets into this idea of “choice,” how this euphemism for abortion came to be, and the importance of recognizing the preexisting conditions that are necessary to choose to start a family, as she contextualizes the Roe decision at the beginning of the neoliberal era of austerity, seeing Nixon’s veto of universal childcare actually as a signal of the conservative fear of more women in the workforce and the downfall of the nuclear family, and an announcement of the state’s withdrawal from bolstering the project of the family writ large. Next, she and Emma tie in the role of the sexual revolution and red scares to the conservative preservation of “family values” (straight, cis, white, middle class) and the complete destruction of the welfare state, especially for poorer Black and brown mothers, discussing what additional labors are forced onto people in order to reproduce and maintain their family. They then dive into the role mass incarceration played in this project against non-perfectly-nuclear families, particularly in the neglect incarcerated individuals face at the hands of the state, from healthcare neglect resulting in countless severe illnesses and injuries alongside incredibly poor pregnancy care, to the active work against allowing communication between incarcerated individuals and their families, especially when it comes to court-ordered hearings. They wrap up the interview by touching on the role of queer parenting in this conversation, walking through the state’s lack of recognition of queer parenting as valid, and its insistence on the existence of a “male” and “female” provider as perhaps its only real involvement in the family. Emma also dives into Putin’s statement that he was really trying to HELP Ukrainians this whole time, as the Pentagon ramps up their weapon support, before she moves to Eric Adams continued scapegoating of the homeless in the face of a terror attack by someone who routinely raged at the houseless (and other minorities) on social media, all while the funding for the police spikes and countless supposedly “affordable” housing apartments are kept empty.

And in the Fun Half: Emma takes a call with Wren from Oregon as they cover the rapid deterioration of trans rights in the US, with states like Alabama and Mississippi moving forward with bills for the forcible de-transitioning of teenagers, and the complete lack of urgency from liberals on this matter; then, the Fox & Friends hosts reveal that the violent and insane people responsible for yesterday’s terror attack in Brooklyn are the homeless people that angered the shooter. Stephen from Pittsburgh gives some updates on PA unionization, Ron DeSantis continues to live out his dreams of government in the 80s, and the ACA somehow makes a return to town halls. Hannah from Southern California gives an open and honest discussion about the need for African American and Queer studies in American high schools, Greg Kelly tells us not to worry because “slavery was just a phase, mom!” Alex from NY calls in for some more discussion on parents’ relationship to schooling, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Sara’s book here: https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520298217/reproduction-reconceived
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