What Else Happened? A Look Inside the Abortion Underground

Kat Jercich & Regina Mahone

This week on What Else Happened, Rewire managing editors Kat Jercich and Regina Mahone discuss the comeback of a disease that was mostly eradicated 20 years ago; raids on strip clubs in New Orleans that have led to protests in the city; and a lawsuit against the State of Alabama over a policy preventing transgender residents from having a driver’s license that reflects their gender identity. Also, Regina talks with Nina Liss-Schultz about her recent piece at Mother Jones on an underground network of activists helping people to terminate their pregnancies—without a doctor.

An edited excerpt:

Kat: Ever since the recent raids [on New Orleans nightclubs], strippers and their allies in the city have been staging protests to point out that closing the clubs is hurting their livelihoods and safety. They’re also accusing the city of trying to gentrify Bourbon Street. Last week, they showed up at a press conference and drowned out Mayor Mitch Landrieu by chanting “Let us dance,” which I think is pretty amazing. As all this has been going on, four of the clubs have reached resolutions that require them to pay a fine and serve a several-week suspension. One has had its license permanently revoked. And the other three have hearings going on this week. Again, that means that the people who work there might not be getting a paycheck.

Regina: I feel like we can’t overlook the fact that police using human trafficking or vice raids as an excuse to punish sex workers isn’t that uncommon. As just one example, Senator Kamala Harris has been criticized by sex worker activists for cracking down on the free classifieds site Backpage when she was Attorney General in California. She was supposedly doing so in order to curb exploitation. Of course, this doesn’t prevent exploitation—it just makes it harder for sex workers to do their jobs safely.

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Transcript (PDF)