New Marfa Public Radio podcast “So Far From Care” explores challenges to reproductive care in rural West Texas
Part of the allure of living in a small West Texas town is how far away the region is from big cities.
Many people live here or move here or visit here for just that reason, but when it comes to accessing reproductive health care, that remoteness can also be terrifying.
A new podcast from Marfa Public Radio called “So Far From Care,” reported by Border Reporter Annie Rosenthal, aims to dig into that complicated part of life out here. We spoke with Rosenthal for more on the show.
On the show’s origins
The new show stems from a special reporting series in 2022 that delved into the struggles West Texans faced in getting an abortion, even before the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Rosenthal said while reporting that series, many people she interviewed also brought up the difficulties they’d experienced in having a child.
“When I started doing this reporting, the only maternity ward in the region was shutting down for part of the week on a regular basis,” she said. “Also, a lot of the towns in this region just don’t have child care, so it felt like that was something that a lot of people were dealing with, and we weren’t necessarily talking that much about.”
On the common themes that emerged in making the podcast
Rosenthal said a common story she heard while interviewing people for the new show was the hurdle of long drives to access reproductive care.
“Whether that was driving to three hospitals while in labor to have your C-section, or going three hours away to get formula and baby clothes,” she said.
The other theme that emerged, she said, was people feeling isolated as they sought care.
“These were things that people were dealing with on their own and didn’t feel like they could talk about,” she said.
On what she hopes people will take away from the show
Rosenthal said the show is not meant to be an “exposé of a crisis,” but rather meant to start conversations.
“It’s meant to be a way of talking about the realities of our region, a place that can be a really amazing and beautiful place to live, and also really complicated,” she said.
Rosenthal also hopes listeners will understand that access to reproductive care goes beyond what’s legal or not.
“There are so many other factors that shape the choices people are able to make about becoming parents or not, and having the conditions that they need to do that,” she said. “My hope is that this series can help us kind of spark a conversation about, how do we make those conditions possible in our region?”