The Woman Who Killed Roe

Marjorie Dannenfelser has dedicated her entire career to banning legal abortion in America. She’s now on the verge of winning. The tactics it took to get here were ugly, and often vengeful. What’s more, they were — and are — based in no small part on a visual lie:

An 18-week-old fetus does not, in any conceivable circumstance, appear outside its mother clean and pink and ethereally backlit. Nowhere in A Child Is Born, still a text used in universities as well as a staple of anti-abortion literature, is it revealed that Nilsson’s photos were of aborted fetuses, dead or dying, gray and blood-specked, arranged, then lit and colored the ruddy hues of a human baby. Another way to describe this picture: a person in her 18th week of pregnancy, absent almost all of her body. A living fetus is constitutive of a system — tucked inside a ligament-suspended uterus, nestled behind apronlike folds of viscera themselves thick with nerves and vessels and nodes, itself draped behind muscle — a single moving object among the shifting array of blood-filled organs that will slide to make room as the body changes. This is not the discontinuous succession of the “Life!” exhibit but a unity in flux. Almost all social movements work to erase context contrary to the cause. In this case, the context is a woman.

Published: May 9, 2022
Length: 31 minutes (7,800 words)

Democratic Leaders Are Getting the Abortion Story Wrong — Again

Rebecca Traister skewers national Democrats for failing time and again to say and do the right thing when it comes to reproductive rights, contributing to the moment at which America now finds itself — on the doorstep of Roe v Wade’s reversal:

Schumer and Pelosi’s bizarre assertion that this looming rollback of rights was emblematic of “the party of Trump” is profoundly ahistorical. The overturn of Roe, whatever form it takes, will not be the product of the “party of Trump.” It is the party of Ronald Reagan, who came to power in 1980 on a platform that included a “human life amendment.” It is the party of George H.W. Bush, who flipped on his previous support for abortion rights to become Reagan’s vice-president and, eventually, his successor to the White House. It’s the party that put Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito on the bench. It is the party that stole a Supreme Court seat from a president who was elected by a majority of voters, and that used the Electoral College and the Supreme Court itself to ensure the White House was occupied by Republican presidents who had lost the popular vote, but could nevertheless appoint justices who had been grown in a Federalist Society lab to strike down freedoms supported by a majority of Americans.

So no, where America finds itself is not in a world transformed by Donald Trump. Rather it’s one in which generations of Republicans have been open about their brutal aim, while Democratic leaders have repeatedly asked voters to trust them in a fight that, up to the very night Roe was struck down in draft form, they refused to accurately describe or perhaps even discern.

Published: May 4, 2022
Length: 6 minutes (1,700 words)

Nicholas Kristof’s Botched Rescue Mission

A profile of the former New York Times columnist turned failed gubernatorial candidate, who’s now dabbling in bespoke cider and wine:

“Running for office does involve — ‘self-confidence’ is a polite way of putting it,” Kristof said. He paused when he said the word polite, as if to politely emphasize that the question (I had asked about “hubris”) was not. Anyway, it was no more hubristic, he said, than the journalism he produced about foreign affairs and far-flung conflicts and cultures that he was not of. “Bouncing into a country and, in 800 words, telling them how to do a better job,” he said with a laugh.

Published: Apr 12, 2022
Length: 12 minutes (3,000 words)

10 Years Since Trayvon

“The story of the first decade of Black Lives Matter.”

Published: Jan 31, 2022
Length: 49 minutes (12,400 words)

Inside Felicia Sonmez’s War Against ‘The Washington Post’

“Why was a reporter punished for speaking up about sexual assault?”

Author: Clio Chang
Published: Nov 15, 2021
Length: 19 minutes (4,800 words)

The Murders Down the Hall

“393 Powell Street was a peaceful home until residents started dying in brutal, mysterious ways.”

Published: Oct 12, 2021
Length: 25 minutes (6,400 words)

White Riot

“In 1992, thousands of furious, drunken cops descended on City Hall—and changed New York history.”

Published: Oct 5, 2021
Length: 17 minutes (4,250 words)

Stop Hustling Black Death

“Samaria Rice is the mother of Tamir, not a ‘mother of the movement.'”

Published: May 24, 2021
Length: 17 minutes (4,300 words)

Scott Rudin, As Told By His Assistants

“A portrait of a toxic workplace.”

Published: Apr 22, 2021
Length: 37 minutes (9,300 words)

Britney Spears Was Never in Control

“Why did I ever believe a teen girl could hold all the power?”

Published: Feb 23, 2021
Length: 17 minutes (4,300 words)