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‘The Janes’ reflect in new U.S. documentary on providing illegal abortions before Roe -Breaking


© Reuters. Protesters for abortion rights hold a Washington Square Park youth rally to protest the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade’s New York City abortion rights decision, U.S.A, June 3, 2022. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

(Reuters] – Before the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion 50 years ago in the United States, a small group of Chicago South Side women worked underground to provide illegal abortions to women in desperate need.

They had very little or no previous medical training.

Eileen Smith, an ex-member of the Abortion Counseling Service (more commonly called the “Janes”), said that they were simply regular people.

“It was not like we had PhDs. We hadn’t even studied. It was just us as a group that wanted to accomplish something we care about.

After the shocking leak of the Supreme Court draft document detailing how Roe V. Wade may be reversed, a TV documentary has been made that chronicles the risky work Janes did in the 1970s and 1960s.

Every time you counseled someone you felt the woman’s desperate feelings. You thought that this was the best thing you could do,” Martha Scott (a former Jane) said.

Scott, along with six others were taken into custody. They were later released from jail after spending a night there and were never convicted.

Scott said, “We were just a group of white middle-class women.” Scott said that they looked like “a bunch of middle-class white ladies” and wanted to appear as nonthreatening as possible.

The Roe v. Wade decision was made shortly after the arrests and it ended the need to have the Janes.

New draft Supreme Court ruling reveals that Roe v. Wade is wrongly decided. The U.S. Constitution does not specifically mention abortion rights. This would set off a tsunami of restrictions and bans in many other states if it is confirmed.

Former Janes feel that their efforts 50 years ago may be even more powerful today, with new organizations seeking ways to assist women in safe abortions.

Scott said, “I believe it is crucial that everyone knows that there are times when you do not approve and that it can cause a lot of damage for people. Even the most common person can make a change.”

HBO Max and HBO Max have “The Janes”.