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The American Dreams Podcast 

American Dreams is a podcast that will explore exactly what Reproductive Justice means. Reproductive Justice was an idea birthed in 1994, by 12 Black women who felt unseen by the white establishment. 

The four principles of Reproductive Justice are:


  1. The right to have a child

  2. The right to not have a child (which includes sterilization, which many doctors won’t do)

  3. The right to have a child in a healthy environment and then raise them safely

  4. The right to bodily autonomy and sexuality


These principles are repeated throughout this podcast, as well as homages to the 12 founders who “gave birth” to the Reproductive Justice movement. 

American Dreams: Reproductive Justice is co-executive produced and hosted by Erika Washington, powered by Make It Work Nevada. The podcast is co-executive produced, written, and edited by Carrie Kaufman of Overthinking Media LLC. Music by Wil Black of Black Gypsy Music. Artwork by Brent Holmes.

Episode 1 

The Birth of a Movement

The Mothers of Reproductive Justice - as they are known now - were the only Black women at a conference on universal health care reform held by feminist groups. The meeting took place after a presentation by someone from the Clinton Administration on their universal health care plan. The plan didn't include any coverage of reproductive health.


We talk to two of those 12 women - Dr. Bond and Loretta Ross. And we talk to women working in the Reproductive Justice space now about what RJ is, what needs to be in place for it to work, and how the concept of Reproductive Justice touches every aspect of our society.

Episode 2 

Reproductive INjustice


Reproductive justice cures the injustices birthing people face. In this episode, we explore the historic and current challenges to reproductive health, safety and autonomy.


In this episode, we’re exploring medical systems in Black and Brown communities. The maternal mortality rate for Black women is THREE TIMES the rate than it is for white women. More surprisingly, the ALMOST mortality rate is higher than most of us realize. 

Episode 3 

Nazis, Eugenicists and the History of Controlling "Deviance"


The U.S. has a dark history of "Master Race" thinking - which the Nazis studied and learned from. In this episode, we look at eugenics, forced sterilization and supremacy.

In 1961, 44-year-old Fannie Lou Hamer went to Sunflower County Hospital in Mississippi to have a minor tumor removed. Instead, the doctor gave her a "Mississippi Appendectomy." In other words, they sterilized her. Without her knowledge or consent. A year later, Hamer attended her first Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee meeting, launching her civil and voting rights activist career. She has said her forced sterilization was the catalyst for her activism.

Episode 4

Criminalization of Pregnancy

 Personhood. It's a concept pushed by anti-abortion activists that says fetuses are people, who deserve rights - often at the expense of the pregnant woman. We look at how pregnant people are criminalized, and often serve time in prison while pregnant, because of this misguided philosophy. 

Episode 5

Birth Stories

Three women tell the stories of their traumatic experiences giving birth. These stories are told as one, with no narration. Might wanna grab your Kleenex.

Episode 6

Midwives and Reproductive Surgery

 Birthing at home may not be ideal for everyone, but it used to be the norm. Until professional medicine took over. We talk to Ashlee, her midwife, Jollina Simpson, and sociologist Alicia Suarez about the history of home birth, and why and how it's making a comeback.

Episode 7

Best Practices 

This episode is about best practices for achieving healthy pregnancies and births. We spoke to Dr. Saraswathi Vedam with The Birth Place Lab, a University of British Columbia division that conducts research and helps provide equitable access to reproductive care. We also spoke to Rosanna Davis, the President of CAL Midwives, an association of licensed midwives who provide reproductive care to patients and fight for reproductive justice in the state of California.

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