Jan Oxenberg on Carol Downer

“She is one of the bravest, most radical women. ”

Listen to writer and raconteur Jan Oxenberg tell us about activist Carol Downer and the early days of the Feminist Women’s Health Center. Housewife and mother of six, Carol was radicalized when she endured a dangerous, illegal abortion, spurring her on to fight for women’s rights in daring and original ways. Currently an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, Carol’s commitment and never-say-die attitude are as inspiring and necessary as ever.


Jan Oxenberg

Jan Oxenberg is an independent filmmaker turned television writer. Her film Thank You and Good Night screened at the Sundance film festival and was released theatrically in 1992. She went on to be a writer/producer on TV series including Parenthood, Pretty Little Liars, Cold Case, and many more. On the ABC series Nothing Sacred, Oxenberg wrote the first prime time episode on which a main character had an abortion since Maude and on Relativity, she wrote the first network series lesbian kiss! She won Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award for an episode of Cold Case featuring a woman associated with the “underground railroad” Jane, an organization which helped women get safe abortions. Oxenberg is currently developing her own TV series, Jerry’s World and serves on the Board of Directors of the Writer’s Guild Foundation.

Featured Woman

Carol Downer

Carol Downer is an American feminist lawyer and non-fiction author who has focused her career on abortion rights and women’s health around the world.

Book: “Inside Ms.: 25 Years of the Magazine and the Feminist Movement” by Mary Thom (Henry Holt & Co). Photos of Carol Downer from Self Help history/Carol Downer (YouTube) and Carol Downer on Twitter (@caroldowner)