Jennifer Ludden

Jennifer Ludden is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. She covers a range of stories on family life and social issues.

In recent years, Ludden has reported on the changing economics of marriage, the changing role of dads, the impact of rising student debt loads, and the ethical challenges of modern reproductive technology.

Ludden helped cover national security after the 9/11 attacks, then reported on the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal immigrants as well as Congressional efforts to pass a sweeping legalization. She traveled to the Philippines for a story on how an overburdened immigration bureaucracy keeps families separated for years, and to El Salvador to profile migrants who had been deported or turned back at the border.

Prior to moving into her current assignment in 2002, Ludden spent six years as a foreign reporter for NPR covering the Middle East, Europe, and West and Central Africa. She followed the collapse of the decade-long Oslo peace process, shared in two awards (Overseas Press Club and Society of Professional Journalists) for NPR's coverage of the Kosovo war in 1999, and won the Robert F. Kennedy award for her coverage of the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When not navigating war zones, Ludden reported on cultural trends, including the dying tradition of storytellers in Syria, the emergence of Persian pop music in Iran, and the rise of a new form of urban polygamy in Africa.

Before joining NPR in 1995, Ludden reported in Canada, and at public radio stations in Boston and Maine.

Ludden graduated from Syracuse University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in English and Television, Radio and Film Production.

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5:28pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Goats and Soda

Thousands Of Young Women In U.S. Forced Into Marriage

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 8:13 pm

A year ago, Lina says her parents took her to Yemen because her grandmother was gravely ill. But when the family arrived, Lina's father announced that she would be getting married to a local man.
Renee Deschamps Getty Images/Vetta

Lina describes herself as strong and independent. Born in Yemen and brought to the U.S. as a toddler, the 22-year-old now works retail at a mall to pay her way through college.

"I was raised very, very Americanized. I did sports, I did community service, I worked," Lina says. (NPR is not using her full name because she fears retribution from her family.)

When people hear her story, she says they tell her, "I never thought that this would ever happen to you."

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4:34pm

Fri April 10, 2015
The Two-Way

#NPRreads: In Defense Of California And Wearing The Same Thing To Work Daily

#NPRreads is a new feature we're testing out on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom will share pieces that have kept them reading. They'll share tidbits on Twitter using the #NPRreads hashtag, and on occasion we'll share a longer take here on the blog.

This week, we bring you a bounty of six super insightful reads.

From Jennifer Ludden, a national correspondent for NPR News:

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5:11am

Thu April 2, 2015
Politics

What's Changed Since The First Religious Liberty Law Was Passed In 1993?

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 9:01 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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3:59am

Thu April 2, 2015
The Salt

When Wal-Mart Comes To Town, What Does It Mean For Workers?

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 3:58 pm

Jessey Drewsen, 25, lives near the H Street Wal-Mart in Washington, D.C. She says she doesn't like the store, but that she goes there for cheap supplies like pens.
Emily Jan NPR

This is the second in a two-part story about Wal-Mart. Read and listen to Part 1 here.

One of the biggest objections critics often raise about Wal-Mart is how it treats its workers.

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5:38pm

Mon March 30, 2015
Politics

Controversy Continues Over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 5:57 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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3:36am

Wed March 11, 2015
Shots - Health News

States Aim To Restrict Medically Induced Abortions

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 5:08 pm

A view of the eastern entrance to the Ohio Statehouse.
Bob Hall/Flickr

Of the million or so women who have abortions every year in the U.S., nearly a quarter end their pregnancy using medications. But just as states have been passing a record number of restrictions on surgical abortion, more are trying to limit this option as well.

One of the country's strictest laws is in Ohio. To understand it, a little history helps.

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5:25pm

Mon March 9, 2015
Shots - Health News

States Fund Pregnancy Centers That Discourage Abortion

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 8:07 pm

Google "abortion Columbus" and halfway down the first page is a headline: "Your Right to Choose, Abortion in Columbus." It's for Pregnancy Decision Health Center, or PDHC, a chain of six sites in Ohio's capital whose aim is actually to guide women out of having the procedure.

Like many of the thousands of crisis pregnancy centers across the U.S., the PDHC near Ohio State University is right next door to a Planned Parenthood. There's a cozy room for private chats and a larger open space decorated in soothing colors.

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3:37am

Tue March 3, 2015
Shots - Health News

Abortion Restrictions Complicate Access For Ohio Women

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 8:12 pm

Abortion-rights opponent Brian Normile of Beavercreek, Ohio, holds up a poster during a prayer vigil outside Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C., in January.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Ohio may not have gotten the national attention of say, Texas, but a steady stream of abortion restrictions over the past four years has helped close nearly half the state's clinics that perform the procedure.

"We are more fully booked, and I think we have a harder time squeezing patients in if they're earlier in the pregnancy," says Chrisse France, executive director of Preterm. It's one of just two clinics still operating in Cleveland, and its caseload is up 10 percent.

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4:36am

Wed February 18, 2015
Shots - Health News

Kids' Solo Playtime Unleashes 'Free-Range' Parenting Debate

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 2:57 pm

People who practice free-range parenting say it makes kids more independent, but others see it as neglect. State and local laws don't specify what children are allowed to do on their own.
iStockphoto

Parents have made news recently after being detained for purposefully leaving children on their own, prompting renewed debate about so-called "free-range parenting."

That includes Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, a Silver Spring, Md., couple who are being investigated after they let their children, ages 10 and 6, walk home from a park last month by themselves.

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8:44am

Sat January 24, 2015
Politics

U.S. Once Had Universal Child Care, But Rebuilding It Won't Be Easy

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 12:41 am

Julie Byard, head of a Detroit nursery, tells children stories and sings them songs prior to their afternoon nap in 1942.
AP

Stumping in Kansas after his State of the Union, the president said that for most parents working today, child care is more than a "side issue," and that improving access "is a national economic priority for all of us."

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