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The Women of Jane

Before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, abortion was illegal throughout most of the country. But that doesn’t mean women didn’t get them.

In 1965, an underground network formed in Chicago to help pregnant women get abortions. At first, they connected women with doctors willing to break the law to perform the procedure. Eventually, they were trained and began performing abortions themselves. The group called itself “Jane.” Over the years, Jane performed more than 11,000 first and second trimester abortions.

 

This story first aired in 2018 on All Things Considered. For more info check out Leslie Reagan’s book When Abortion Was a Crime and Laura Kaplan’s, The Story of Jane. Banner image: (From left) Martha Scott, Jeanne Galatzer-Levy, Abby Parisers, Sheila Smith and Madeline Schwenk were among the seven members of Jane arrested in 1972.

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