PODCAST: Toward reproductive sovereignty, not reproductive rights

In this episode, Meghan Murphy speaks with Mary Lou Singleton, a midwife, nurse practitioner, and reproductive sovereignty activist about everything from self-abortion to midwifery to where the reproductive rights movement went wrong.

Women’s bodies have always been have always been the focal point of patriarchy. Liberals and conservatives alike have both worked to ensure women don’t have bodily autonomy. As a result of patriarchy, women’s knowledge of and control over their own bodies has been wrested from us. We are forced to depend on male legislators, a male-dominated medical establishment, and Big Pharma, and woman-centered knowledge and practices, like self-abortion, menstrual extraction, other alternative forms of birth control, and woman-centered birth practices, are no longer common knowledge. While feminism has fought for women’s reproductive rights  — for access to things like abortion and the pill — Mary Lou Singleton says we need to look beyond rights, and towards sovereignty.

Mary Lou is a midwife, nurse practitioner, reproductive sovereignty activist, and founder of Personhood for Women. I had the pleasure of watching her present at this year’s WoLF Fest, and spoke with her over the phone last week, from her home in New Mexico.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Meghan Murphy

    Thanks for listening! I’m with you on those book recommendations — definitely seeking them out.

  • Meghan Murphy
  • Mar Iguana

    Mary Lou Singleton is bravely carrying on with the work that got wise women healers burned at the stake in The Burning Times. I’ve had the good fortune to have met her in real life and she exudes all the peace, love and understanding of a truly great soul.

    Speaking of great soul, Meghan, your presentation at WoLF Fest brought me to tears because of your bravery in baring yours. You began by saying you had scrapped what you were going to present and instead you spoke off the cuff of your own journey through the Bandini Mountain of bullshit young women are subjected to. I doubt that I would ever have the courage to get up in front of an audience and do that.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Oh thank you, sister. Did we meet at WoLF?!? I apologize if I didn’t make the connection! (And yes, Mary Lou is an incredible person. I’m so honoured to know her.)

  • Meghan Murphy

    I also have a terrible memory… 🙂