In This Episode
- If Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion would become illegal in at least 26 states. That means two main things for people who hope to terminate a pregnancy – increased confusion and increased criminalization.
- Today is Victory Day, an important holiday in Russia that marks the defeat of Nazi Germany 77 years ago. Some reports say Putin might use the occasion to claim victory in Ukraine, while others suggest he may just use the day to further escalate the violence.
- And in headlines: Northern Ireland had a historic election, John Lee was elected to be Hong Kong’s next chief executive, and Ncuti Gatwa will be the first Black actor to play The Doctor in Doctor Who.
- Ban Off Our Bodies Rally on May 14th – https://bit.ly/3P1KxgN
- Donate to abortion funds, take action and more via Vote Save America – votesaveamerica.com/roe
Follow us on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/whataday/
Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Monday May 9th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
Josie Duffy Rice: And I’m Josie Duffy Rice, and this is What A Day, where we’re continuing to have breakfast in bed all week in honor of Mother’s Day yesterday.
Tre’vell Anderson: I think it should be breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed. Just don’t leave.
Josie Duffy Rice: I love it. If you live in my house, I hope you’re listening to this.
Tre’vell Anderson: They’re not.
Josie Duffy Rice: They’re not. On today’s show, First Lady Jill Biden made a special trip to Ukraine. Plus, Northern Ireland’s Nationalist Party wins a historic election.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. But first, the reactions continue to last week’s news that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade as early as next month. This past Saturday in Maryland:.
[crowd chants] Keep abortion safe and said legal.
Tre’vell Anderson: Those were about 100 people protesting for abortion access in front of the homes of both Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts. And this Saturday, abortion rights groups are organizing massive nationwide demonstrations as well. We’ll link to some information about those marches in our show notes.
Josie Duffy Rice: We’ve also been hearing from many of you, our listeners, about your fears and worries regarding what could be the end of Roe. One of you wrote us this, “My first pregnancy almost killed me. At 17 weeks, they told me my baby girl wasn’t growing fast enough. They diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. At 24 weeks, I got very sick with pre-eclampsia. The baby was still too small to be viable due to her growth restriction and neither of us would have lived if I had been forced to carry her to term. I had an abortion. This was the darkest, most traumatic time of my life, but it was the right choice for us. I’m now a mom to an amazing five-year old girl. I would have never met her if abortion was illegal. I’m in Tennessee and I know will be one of the first states in line to criminalize abortion. I’m scared to death for me and my daughter’s future if we stay here.” Just devastating.
Tre’vell Anderson: Very much so. And I think, you know, as we hear and read more of these stories, I think it shows, you know, how vast of the impact, right, that this will have on people’s lives. So on that note, Josie, there are a lot of concerns about what might actually happen in a post-Roe world. Can you walk us through what that could look like and how abortion patients might be targeted?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So as we’ve discussed, at least in the immediate future, Roe v. Wade being overturned would mean that abortion would become illegal in at least 26 states. In the other states, abortion is likely to remain legal in some form. And that means two main things for people who hope or need to terminate a pregnancy: increased confusion and increased criminalization.
Tre’vell Anderson: This is where I like to just remind people that you said 26 states and there’s only 50 of them y’all. So that’s more than half I’d just like to remind people.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. That’s more than half.
Tre’vell Anderson: Can you talk to us about this confusion?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. So in some of the states likely to outlaw abortion, there might be different rules or different exceptions, right? So, like, is it illegal from the point of implantation or the fertilization of the egg? What about abortions in the case of rape or incest? What about if there are severe developmental complications? What if the pregnancy is ectopic? What if the mother’s life is at stake, right? So there will be different answers to these questions depending on the state. And there will also be variation among the states where abortion remains legal, too. So some states might have earlier bans than others. Some states might require parental consent, while others don’t. So, you know, it’ll be significantly more confusing than it is now to figure out what your rights are, depending on what state you’re in.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right. So now talk to us about the criminalization aspect. Can we expect many more people to face charges and perhaps even incarceration?
Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, yeah, absolutely we can expect that, Tre’vell. I think we’re not even processing at this point how far that will go, right? It’ll go further than the prosecution of people for having an illegal abortion in a state where terminating a pregnancy is a legal, right? That we know is going to happen. But we’ll almost definitely see the prosecution of people that have unplanned miscarriages because authorities suspect it was an attempted abortion. We could see the prosecution of a pregnant person who, I don’t know, has a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and a month later has a miscarriage because maybe that caused it. Or we could see a scenario like a victim of domestic violence who suffers such terrible physical abuse that they lose a pregnancy, being prosecuted for failure to protect a fetus, right. We could definitely see scenarios of people traveling to a state where abortion is legal, obtaining one, and then being prosecuted in their home state where it isn’t legal. And by the way, in some states, there is really a possibility that these scenarios lead to murder charges, not just a charge of terminating a pregnancy — you know, a murder charge. So I think what we’re going to see on the criminalization front is going to be really extreme.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Now I know it’ll vary state to state, but what about within states? What do we know about how enforcement may look like?
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, Tre’vell, good question. And so as I always drive home, your local prosecutor is extremely powerful, but chances are they’re about to get a lot more powerful in the near future. Even in states where abortion is going to be illegal, some prosecutors may choose not to prosecute abortion related crimes. Some prosecutors may choose to prosecute the person who performs the abortion but not someone who receives one. There are a lot of possible variations on approach, not just among states, but within states, from county to county. One thing is for certain, though, it’s sure to be bad news, whatever happens. So as things become more clear, we’ll tell you what you need to know. But what we can say if Roe is overturned, be prepared for a lot of legal confusion and mayhem. And for a lot of unjust incarceration.
Tre’vell Anderson: This is where we all take a deep breath.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now to a few different updates regarding Russia’s war on Ukraine, which has now been going on for two and a half months. First, as of Saturday, all civilians at the besieged steel mill plant in the city of Mariupol have been evacuated. The tally is reportedly over 600 people. And you’ll remember that this plant has been the final battle site in the city. Now left are Ukrainian fighters who vow to never surrender, even as Russian forces have reached the property. During a virtual news conference on Sunday from a bunker beneath the factory, a Ukrainian lieutenant said, quote, “We here are basically dead men. Most of us know this. This is why we fight. We are a symbol of the resistance. Surrender is not an option because Russia is not interested in our lives.”
Josie Duffy Rice: This gives me chills and is just devastating. So Tre’vell over in the eastern part of Ukraine, there were some reported strikes as well. Can you give us an update there?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes. So Russia has increased its attacks there in the eastern part of Ukraine. Dozens of people are feared dead following a Russian airstrike that hit a school on Saturday. According to local officials, the school in the village of Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region had become the last refuge for civilians. And they said about 90 people were in the building when it exploded. As many as 60 people could be trapped or dead.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, that’s even more devastating news. Every time we get an update, it’s just heartbreaking. So today is also Victory Day, which is a really important holiday in Russia. And many reports have identified it as kind of this like deadline of sorts for Putin, right? So do you have any clarity on that?
Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So today marks the defeat of Nazi Germany 77 years ago. In Russia, it’s often accompanied by a major military parade. We’re recording this episode on Sunday night, and so it’s still not clear to us exactly what we can expect today, but there are a number of theories. Some reports say Putin might use the occasion to claim victory in Ukraine, while others suggest that he may just use the day to further escalate the violence. But over the weekend he did maintain the lie he’s been saying this whole time, which is that the intention behind the invasion of Ukraine is to rid the country of its Nazi leadership. And a tribute on Sunday, Putin said, quote, “Our servicemen, like their ancestors, are fighting shoulder to shoulder for the liberation of their native land from Nazi filth.” Expressing confidence that, as in 1945, “victory will be ours.” And to be clear, I say it’s a lie because there is absolutely no evidence of any Nazis being in leadership in Ukraine.
Josie Duffy Rice: Right. And not that I can read Putin’s mind, but something tells me he doesn’t believe that either.
Tre’vell Anderson: Right.
Josie Duffy Rice: We also saw some diplomacy updates. Can you tell us how the U.S. is responding?
Tre’vell Anderson: So First Lady Jill Biden made an unannounced trip on Sunday to meet with Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, at a school in the western Ukrainian town Uzhhorod. That town’s population has doubled in recent weeks with the arrival of people fleeing elsewhere in the country. Dr. Biden said that she wanted to make the visit on Mother’s Day. Here she is, talking before reporters:
[clip of Dr. Jill Biden] It’s important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop. This war has been brutal, and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.
Tre’vell Anderson: The White House also announced new sanctions against three Russian state television outlets, and the Biden administration said it will prohibit Americans from providing accounting or consulting services to anyone in Russia. Meanwhile, a team of senior American diplomats returned to the U.S. embassy in Kiev on Sunday for the first time since they were ordered out of the country shortly before the invasion began.
Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. So what about diplomatic efforts by the rest of the world?
Tre’vell Anderson: So also making an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Sunday was Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, as did U2 front man Bono. He and his band mate, The Edge, apparently performed in a Kiev metro station for the people. And then lastly, the Group of 7, which includes the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K., they held a virtual meeting on Sunday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. They pledged to ban or phase out Russian oil if they haven’t already, in a, quote, “timely and orderly fashion and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative supplies.” So plenty to still watch and keep an eye on with Russia and Ukraine. We obviously will keep y’all updated and posted, but that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads.
Tre’vell Anderson: Now let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Tre’vell Anderson: Northern Ireland had a historic election last Thursday. Sinn Fein, which is an Irish nationalist and Democratic Socialist Party, won the largest number of seats in the country’s assembly for the first time in its history. The vote counting finished yesterday, and what’s significant about this victory is that the party’s goal is to reunify all of Ireland. Northern Ireland still remains part of the United Kingdom, while the rest of Ireland is known as the Republic of Ireland. In order to change that, there would need to be a constitutional referendum, although that would be years down the line. However, Sinn Fein’s win could be the first step in getting that process started. Before all of the votes were even counted last Friday, Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said this on CNN.
[clip of Mary Lou McDonald] The preparation for constitutional change in Ireland needs to begin now.
Tre’vell Anderson: All of this isn’t a done deal, though. If Sinn Fein fails to form a government with the country’s other parties in the next six months, then there will need to be a new election. And there’s a chance that may happen — the Democratic Unionist Party, a.k.a the DUP, won the second largest number of seats in the Assembly. The DUP has dominated Northern Ireland’s politics for the last two decades, and they’re not too happy with the election results — surprise, surprise. The DUP said it might not serve under Sinn Fein leadership, so a lot still remains up in the air.
Josie Duffy Rice: Pro-Beijing candidate John Lee was elected to be Hong Kong’s next chief executive yesterday in an uncontested race for the region’s top leadership position. Lee is known for leading the crackdown on the anti-government protests in Hong Kong in 2019, and he will replace current chief executive Carrie Lam starting in July. His win was largely pre-determined by a controversial electoral law that Hong Kong’s legislature passed last year in an effort to further eliminate democracy in the province. That law requires candidates for elected office to be vetted and elected by a pro-Beijing committee whose members are carefully curated by the Chinese government. Members of the League of Social Democrats, a pro-democracy activist group in Hong Kong, protested Lee’s win yesterday and demanded that residents be given the power to vote for their leaders. They marched toward the election venue with signs that read, quote, “Human rights over power. The people are greater than the country” before police quickly stopped them.
Tre’vell Anderson: England’s biggest cultural product after the Beatles and colonialism, Doctor Who, is entering a new era. The BBC announced yesterday that Ncuti Gatwa will be the next actor to take on the role of everyone’s favorite Time Lord, the Doctor, in the long-running TV show. For those of you who don’t watch British TV outside of Love Island–we know who you are–Doctor Who is a decades’-old sci-fi franchise that follows the story of a fun-loving time traveler known simply as ‘The Doctor’. Gatwa was best known for his performance in the hit Netflix series “Sex Education” and will be the first Black actor to take on the iconic role. And his historic casting comes after his predecessor, Jodie Whittaker, became the first woman to play the doctor. Before her, the role was exclusively played by white men. Gatwa will be the 14th doctor overall. Here he is on the red carpet at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards yesterday, talking about how he feels going into the role.
[clip of Ncuti Gatwa] I’m feeling very, very excited, very honored. I think it’s such an honor, this role is. It’s a British institution and it means so much to so many people.
Josie Duffy Rice: “A British institution.” I love it.
Tre’vell Anderson: Gatwa will debut as the doctor late next year, as the beloved sci-fi franchise celebrates its 60th anniversary.
Josie Duffy Rice: Look, that accent might get me into Doctor Who. Delicious. So charming. The most popular sport where the athletes have no idea what’s going on, horse racing, saw a massive upset on Saturday. A horse named Rich Strike, who is the longer shot in the Kentucky Derby, ended up winning the race, rewarding people who bet on him with $80 for every dollar they wagered — why did I not bet on you, Rich Strike? My mistake. To put it simply, Rich Strike is the new Bitcoin, and he’s the second most unlikely winner in the Kentucky Derby history after a horse named Donerail, who took first place in 1913. Rich Strike’s trainer and jockey had never participated in the Derby, making this even more of an underdog/under-horse story. Here is the moment when he won during NBC’s broadcast of the race.
[clip of race announcer] Rich Strike is coming up on the inside! Oh my goodness! The longest shot has won the Kentucky Derby! Rich Strike has done it in a stunning, unbelievable upset!
Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, my God. That was incredible. I felt like I was there, even though I’ve never watched a horse race in my life. You may remember that after the last Kentucky Derby, the first place finisher, Medina Spirit and his famous trainer, Bob Baffert, were disqualified because of a failed drug test. But Rich Strike proved that you don’t need drugs when you’re fueled by a desire to prove haters wrong.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, the great songwriter once said, “Let your haters be your motivators.”
Josie Duffy Rice: Another thing that my dad always says, so . . .
Tre’vell Anderson: That’s who I was talking about, the great songwriter.
Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Famous songwriter, my dad.
Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, channel Rich Strike when you see your haters, and tell your friends to listen.
Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading, and not just instructions on where to watch new episodes of Doctor Who now that you’ve heard his accent like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Josie Duffy Rice.
Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.
[together] And enjoy the remainder of your breakfast in bed!
Tre’vell Anderson: Bacon, eggs, grits, sausage.
Josie Duffy Rice: Whatever. Whatever you may want or need, make someone get it for you.
Tre’vell Anderson: A scone, perhaps.
Josie Duffy Rice: A scone. Just like the Brits.
Tre’vell Anderson: Yes.
Josie Duffy Rice: I bet our new Doctor Who love scones.
Gideon Resnick: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzy Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran and me, Gideon Resnick. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.