Garnet Henderson is a Wyoming-born, New York-based journalist reporting on health and abortion access.
Her work has appeared in publications including The Nation, ELLE, Marie Claire, VICE, WIRED, Glamour, Scientific American, and the Guardian. She is a regular contributor to Rewire News Group. Her guide to abortion care in the U.S. was part of the Tonic “Guide to Healthcare,” which won a 2018 Deadline Club Award.
In 2020, she created ACCESS: A Podcast About Abortion to challenge dominant media narratives and present nuanced, unflinching conversations about abortion built on first-person stories and expert perspectives. In 2022, Garnet became one of the inaugural grantees of the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Reproductive Rights Reporting Fund.
The resulting project profiled a woman who was denied an abortion in West Virginia and examined what her story reveals about our post-Roe future. It was published in The Nation and featured on an episode of ACCESS.
ACCESS: A Podcast About Abortion
Tell us about your podcast in 3 sentences or less!
You’ve heard a lot of political debates about abortion. But how much do you know about it, really?
ACCESS pulls back the curtain, demystifying abortion by bringing you real, first-person stories and expert perspectives.
What’s a quote or piece of advice you try to live by?
Always ask who’s telling the story, who the story serves, and who’s being left out.
Remembering everything (a gift and a curse).
One thing on your bucket list:
To write a book!
What was your first job?
Choreographer for a preteen pageant (yes, really).
Any unusual hobbies?
Kayaking on the Hudson River (it’s cleaner than you think, ok?!)
Biggest Pet Peeve
When people think that creative jobs aren’t “real” jobs.
What inspired you to start your podcast?
Because abortion is so stigmatized, we often talk ABOUT people who have abortions without actually hearing from them. I was attracted to audio as a medium because I think a lot of nuance and feeling comes across when you can hear a person’s voice, in a way that not even the best writing can capture on the page. I wanted my audience to hear directly from people who have abortions, and people who provide abortions, to help them understand that access to abortion is a human rights issue, not just a subject of political debate.
Tell us more about your work/life outside of your podcast.
I’m a freelance journalist and I’m also a dancer and choreographer. It’s too many jobs but I don’t know how else to be.
What is your show’s USP?
ACCESS is the only long-running documentary podcast dedicated entirely to telling stories about abortion.
What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced with your podcast?
Finding the time to actually make it! As a freelancer, my time is literally money, which means sometimes my show has to fall to the bottom of my priorities list. I’m working on changing that!
What was one of your favorite episodes you’ve ever done? Why does it stand out?
Episode 8, “Reframing Abortion Regret.” The myth that people regret their abortions fuels a lot of anti-abortion propaganda. The truth is that the vast majority of people never regret their abortions. However, some people do have complicated feelings about their abortions, but they often hesitate to say so because they don’t want to have their experiences weaponized and used to stigmatize abortion. I’m proud that in this episode we busted myths about abortion regret while also making space for those complicated, real experiences.
What is one thing you have accomplished with your podcast thus far that you are most proud of?
I was one of the first grantees of the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Reproductive Rights Reporting Fund, for an episode about how anti-abortion doctors and hospitals hurt pregnant people. The episode is built around the story of a woman who was inspired to reach out to me after hearing a show. To me there’s no better compliment than the fact that hearing the show would make someone trust me with their story.
What is one major milestone that you would like to accomplish through your podcast in the next year?
Break 10K downloads a month.
What is a trend or development in the podcast industry that you foresee happening in the next few years?
Now that bigger media companies see there’s money to be made in podcasting, unfortunately I think it will get even harder for indie creators to compete. All the more reason for us to stick together.
What is one of the best pieces of podcast-related advice you’ve ever received & why?
Always have a transcript! Your show isn’t accessible to everyone without one, and it helps boost discoverability.
What is one of the worst pieces of podcast-related advice you’ve ever received & why?
To have guests on the show just because they have big followings. Probably works great for some shows, but my listeners like ACCESS because I’m bringing them the perspectives they don’t hear everywhere else.
What are some of your favorite women-hosted podcasts (besides your own)?
You’re Wrong About, Who? Weekly (one out of two hosts), Making Oprah, Death Sex & Money, Harsh Reality
Can you tell us about a time when you took a huge risk/did something you were scared to do, and it totally paid off?
Moving to New York for college (I grew up in Wyoming)! People kept expecting me to bail and move home but I’ve been here for 13 years now 🙂
Are there any great podcast-related resources you love that you would like to share?
Alexandra Cohl’s Broads in Progress Accountability Group! Transom for all the “which gear is best” questions. Auphonic for that professional polish on a budget.
How do you feel you’re making a positive impact and generating change through your podcast?
I hope I’m changing the way people think about abortion and getting them more comfortable with talking about it, the first step toward eradicating stigma.
For more from Garnet, check out the links below!