The Janes showcases a group of brave and bold women, many speaking on the record for the first time, who built an underground, clandestine network in 1970s Chicago for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions.
In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on the South Side of Chicago – arresting and charging seven women who were part of a clandestine network. Using code names, fronts, and safe houses to protect their identities and their work, they built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable abortions in the pre-Roe v. Wade era – a time when abortion was a crime in most states and even circulating information about abortion was a felony in Illinois. They called themselves “Jane.” Oscar-nominated Tia Lessin and Emmy-nominated Emma Pildes’ revelatory documentary could not be more timely - The Janes offers first-hand accounts from the women at the center of the group, many speaking on the record for the first time. This galvanizing documentary tells the story of our past and, potentially, our future.
Courtesy of HBO Documentary Films
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“The Janes highlights the real dangers of restrictive abortion laws and the harms of criminalizing abortion. It really shows just how much is at stake right now in the US.”
- Annerieke Smaak Daniel, Researcher, Women’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch