Slate Fare

Announcing Season 7 of Slow Burn

Slate’s news director Susan Matthews will examine another pivotal moment in American history: Roe v. Wade.

Shirley Wheeler wearing large sunglasses with the Slow Burn title on top of her.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Robert Wheeler.

Slow Burn, Slate’s critically acclaimed narrative podcast exploring the most consequential moments in American history, returns next month for a season focused on the origins of a monumental Supreme Court decision: Roe v. Wade.

Hosted by Susan Matthews, Slate’s news director, this four-part series will tell forgotten stories from the years leading up to Roe. This season, which will build on Matthews’ writing and editing on jurisprudence, medicine, and women’s issues, will investigate how we got Roe in the first place—which is also the story of how opposition to abortion changed American politics. The series will explore the motivations of the people who paved the way for the Roe decision—without necessarily understanding what the consequences of that decision would be.


In the early 1970s, the future of abortion in America was far from settled. Some states were pushing to liberalize their laws. In others, women could be prosecuted for terminating a pregnancy. Roe v. Wade would change that landscape in dramatic and unexpected ways.

Susan Matthews and the IWMF logo.

For the seventh season of Slow Burn, Matthews explores the path to Roe—a time when more Republicans than Democrats supported abortion rights. The season tells the forgotten story of the first woman ever to be convicted of manslaughter for having an abortion. It introduces the Catholic power couple that helped ignite the pro-life movement. And it revisits the unlikely case out of New Haven, Connecticut, that foreshadowed the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision.

The stories in this season show how Americans thought about the right to abortion before it was guaranteed, what life was like for women before the decision, and when and why the fight against abortion took off.

The season launches on June 1 on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Listen to the Slow Burn season 7 trailer here.

And sign up for Slate Plus for access to ad-free listening and exclusive members-only episodes every week throughout the season.

The series is produced by Samira Tazari and Sophie Summergrad, with research by Sol Werthan. The season’s reporting was supported by a grant from the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists.