Birth Control’s Psychological Impact with Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein


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When you say, “The Pill” there is no debate about what pill you are talking about. Birth control pills have been a tool of the women’s liberation movement for over 60 years.

Birth control in general is as ubiquitous in our society as aspirin – and seems as harmless. But what do we really know about how hormonal contraception works and impacts our bodies? Today’s guests, Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, have a new documentary, “The Business of Birth Control,” which examines the complex relationship between hormonal birth control and women’s health and liberation.

Weaving together the stories of bereaved parents, body literacy activists, and femtech innovators, the film reveals a new generation seeking holistic and ecological alternatives to the pill while redefining the meaning of reproductive justice.

Guest Bios

Abby Epstein started her career as a theatre director with her own production company, Roadworks Productions, which is based in Chicago. Roadworks Productions was founded in 1992, and the company had seen much success in the mid 1990s. After directing a few productions in Chicago, Abby moved to New York to be an assistant director on the production of Rent. She then worked on The Vagina Monologues with Eve Ensler. Epstein directed her first documentary Until the Violence Stops, a film about the impact of The Vagina Monologues on a global scale. Five years later, Abby Epstein released The Business of Being Born in 2008. Much of Abby Epstein's film career deals with birth and sex. Her film Until the Violence Stops premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and won an Emmy after its screening on Lifetime. The Business of Being Born debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007 and was released theatrically in 2008. In October 2018, Epstein released Weed the People, a documentary buoyed by hopeful experiences with medical marijuana, that she worked on for 6 years with Ricki Lake as an executive producer.

Pop culture icon Ricki Lake has built an extraordinary career.

The world first met Ricki in 1988 as Tracy Turnblad in John Waters’ beloved film Hairspray. Ricki went on to appear in other films such as Cry-Baby, Cecil B. Demented, Serial Mom, and Gemini. She also starred on television in China Beach and King of Queens.

At the impressive age of twenty-four, Ricki became the youngest talk show host in history. For 11 years, her long-running show was met with unprecedented success and changed daytime television forever. She went on to win an Emmy for Best Talk Show Host for her work on the reboot of The Ricki Lake Show.

In her intimate book, “Never Say Never: Finding a Life That Fits,” Ricki took readers behind the scenes of her troubled childhood—filled with food issues, abuse, and an unabashed yearning for a better life outside of her suburban home. She pulled back the curtain on her talk show and her early days as a “fat actress.”

327 episodes