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.

Updated for testimony from Dec. 9. Officer William Porter is the first of six Baltimore police officers who stand accused of playing a role in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after injuries sustained in the back of a police van while he was handcuffed and shackled. Porter, who joined the police force in 2012, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, and misconduct in office. Essentially, prosecutors want him held accountable for failing to...

It's been seven months since protests over the death of an unarmed black man after his arrest erupted into looting and arson, leading Baltimore's mayor to declare a curfew and call in the National Guard. Now, that unrest remains a potent backdrop as the trial begins for the first of six police officers charged in Freddie Gray's death. "I just want peace while the trial is going on," says Missa Grant, standing at a bus stop across a busy intersection from the former CVS that became a televised...

When the state of Maryland wanted to reach dads who were behind on their child support payments, it started in the boarded-up blocks of West Baltimore, in neighborhoods marked by drugs, violence and unemployment. In just four zip code areas, the state identified 4,642 people who owed more than $30 million in back child support. Most of that was "state-owed," meaning that rather than going to the child through the custodial parent, it's supposed to reimburse taxpayers for welfare paid to the...

On a recent Saturday afternoon at his West Baltimore row house, Harrelle Felipa fields a steady stream of interruptions as he breads a large plate of fish and chicken for dinner. His 4-year-old son wants to recite his letters. The 3-year-old brings him a toy that's broken. The tweens play Minecraft on the Xbox while Felipa's teen daughter checks her email. Felipa says he loves it. "This is what my life consists of," he says. "I arrange my life around these guys." It's not the typical image of...

When West Baltimore's Renaissance Academy High School hired four African-American mentors earlier this year, student Jalone Carroll wanted nothing to do with them. He figured they would come "mess everything up, and then dip," or disappear. "We didn't know how to take that type, you feel me," says Carroll. "Somebody that cares, somebody that really wants to see us succeed." Carroll is 20, but he has only enough credits to be in 10th grade. He says no one at other schools he attended ever...

House Republicans questioned the head of Planned Parenthood on Tuesday, on whether the women's health group needs federal funding. The testimony comes after the release of a series of videos that allege the organization violates rules on fetal tissue donation for research. Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: On Capitol Hill, no federal government shutdown for now, but Republicans aren't giving up on efforts to defund Planned Parenthood....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: The head of Planned Parenthood testifies before Congress today. A House committee is investigating videos recorded secretly by an anti-abortion group. That group accuses Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood says that is not true, and experts have shown the videos to be heavily edited and misleading. But they have become a rallying point for some Republican...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: In the state of Kentucky, Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk, made big news when she refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses. But this is not the only controversy since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage earlier this year, as NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports, a handful of states are refusing to name both parents from a same-sex couple on birth certificates. JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Miami...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: House Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood, and that effort began today with the first in a series of hearings. This was all prompted by sting videos that sought to implicate the women's health group in various crimes related to the collection of fetal tissue for research. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports that much of today's discussion focused on the morality of abortion itself. JENNIFER LUDDEN,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The city of Baltimore has reached a settlement with the family of Freddie Gray - $6.4 million over two years. Gray is the black man who was fatally injured after his arrest and ride in a police van last spring. The city's spending board is expected to approve the payout tomorrow. Under the deal, the city admits no guilt, but some think it might affect the criminal trials of the six police officers who...

Soon after their wedding, Dr. Mimi Lee and Stephen Findley decided to create five embryos. Lee had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she worried that treatment would leave her infertile. Now that they're divorced, Lee wants to use them; Findley, however, does not. Those embryos are at the heart of a court case that will soon decide a very modern problem: Which member of a divorced couple gets control of their frozen embryos? For this San Francisco couple, at least, it would seem to...

The young man behind two undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood seemed to come out of nowhere. No one had heard of David Daleiden, or his non-profit, the Center for Medical Progress , when he first accused the health care provider of illegally selling aborted fetal baby parts last week . But in fact, the 26-year-old has been helping to create similar sting videos for years and has ties to larger well-known groups that oppose abortion. Update at 4:45 p.m. ET: Democrats Call For Inquiry...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4UjIM9B9KQ Updated at 9:03 p.m. ET An undercover video shot by an activist group that was released Tuesday apparently shows a Planned Parenthood official discussing how her group provides researchers with parts from aborted fetuses. The activist group says the video is evidence that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue, which is illegal. The video was made a year ago by the activist group Center for Medical Progress and released in coordination with...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: More reaction now on today's historic Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The announcement set off a party atmosphere among the hundreds of people gathered outside of the court. UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Love has won. Love has won. Love has won. Love has won. MARTIN: That chant - love has won. Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of same-sex marriage in recent years....

When I set out to interview Helena Hicks, I thought we'd talk history. The soft-spoken, 80-year-old who stands just 4 feet 10 inches tall with a sleek, silver bob, is known for her role in helping to desegregate Read's Drug Store chain. But it turns out she's as active as ever, a force to reckon with at any sense of injustice. "My father taught me that 'you are somebody,' " she says. "If it's wrong, you do something about it." We crossed paths when I was reporting on the Lillian S. Jones...

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