Feb 3, 2023

Ukraine: The Handoff

We continue the story of a covert smuggling operation to bring abortion pills into Ukraine, shortly after the Russian invasion. In this episode, reporters Katz Laszlo and Gregory Warner go to Ukraine, landing on a fall night during a citywide blackout, to pick up the trail of the pills and find out about the doctors and patients who needed them. But as they follow the pills around the country, what they learn changes their understanding of how we talk about these pills, and how we talk about choice, in a war. 

This episode is the second of two done in collaboration with NPR’s Rough Translation. You can find the first episode here (https://zpr.io/CnmNVFQ6X5gc).

Special thanks to the Rough Translation team for reporting help. Thanks also to Liana Simstrom, Irene Noguchi, and Eleana Tworek. Thanks to the ears of Valeria Fokina, Andrii Degeler, Noel King, Robert Krulwich and Sana Krasikov. And to our interpreters, Kira Leonova and Tetyana Yurinetz. Thanks to Drs Natalia, Irna & Diana. To Yulia Mytsko, Yulia Babych, Maria Hlazunova, Nika Bielska, Yvette Mrova, Lauren Ramires, Jane Newnham, Olena Shevchenko, Marta Chumako, Jamie Nadal, Jonathan Bearak, and the many others who we spoke with for this story. Thank you to NPR’s International Desk and the team at the Ukraine bureau. Translations from Eugene Alper and Dennis Tkachivsky. Voice over from Lizzie Marchenko and Yuliia Serbenenko. Archival from the Heal Foundation.

Legal guidance provided by Micah Ratner, Lauren Cooperman, and Dentons. 

Ethical guidance from Tony Cavin. 


Guest hosted by - Gregory Warner and Molly Webster

Reported by - Katz Laszlo, Gregory Warner 

Produced by - Tessa Paoli, Daniel Girma, Adelina Lancianese

w/ production help from - Nic M. Neves

Mixer - James Willetts and Robert Rodriguez

w/ mixing help from - Jeremy Bloom

Fact-checking by - Marisa Robertson-Textor

and Edited by - Brenna Farrell


John Ellis composed the Rough Translation theme music. 

Original music from Dylan Keefe. 

Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions and FirstCom Music.  



Photos - 

Podcasts -

Articles - 

Further reading: a study on medical abortion (https://zpr.io/f8h5WNfKaMtk) by Galina Maistruck, one of the main sources in our piece

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