THE JANES is a powerful documentary about the original young women who created help and care for those who needed an abortion during the late 60s. This was extremely risky since it was illegal, especially in the “very Catholic, very pro-life, city of Chicago. 

In this film, I learned how this group got their name, their clientele, their reputation, and a “doctor” who would perform the procedure safely. Choices for women during this period were ruled by men and the mob, who thought they knew what was right for women and their bodies (it’s so sad how things have not changed over the years). The cost was not a deterrent for THE JANES, nor were the risks for their personal lives. There was a problem… there was a solution… they stepped up. 

THE JANES grew into a huge, cohesive organization quite by accident. These were caring, kind women who wanted to help and make a difference. Their authentic and honest stories are what made this film. My heart broke for all the women who we “stand” on their shoulders today. I was so impressed watching. I had no idea of these facts at that time of my life. I like to think, that if I did, I would have joined. 

THE JANES were there when others needed them until Roe v. Wade was passed. Then they disbanded and went back to their ordinary lives. Amazing. Between 1968 and 1973, 11,000 abortions were safely performed in Chicago. Kudos for sharing. We may need a new generation of THE JANES if history repeats itself. 

THE JANES is an important, necessary part of our past. I believe it is imperative for all women and men to watch and learn. “Knowledge is power.”

It is available to stream on HBOMAX.

Esta Rosevear

Esta Rosevear has been a Theatre Arts teacher and director for 35+ years, published Children’s author of the Rebecca series, and is passionate about playing her violin, walking, gardening, and reading murder mysteries.

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