The Janes (2022) Movie Script

I had no other options.
I wanted it over with...
and I didn't care how it was done.
I was that desperate.
An acquaintance said,
"Here's a phone number,"
and it was the mob.
They had to talk in code.
They said, "Do you want a Cadillac,
a Chevrolet, or a Rolls-Royce?"
The Chevy was the cheapest,
500 dollars.
A Cadillac was something like 750,
and if you wanted the Rolls-Royce,
and we're talking about the '60s here,
it was a thousand dollars.
That's what the mob charged
for an abortion.
I said, "Well, I think
I want a Chevrolet,"
and they go, "Okay, fine, well,
you know, we'll see you at this address
with your money."
It was not a familiar part of town.
I went to the room that I was assigned...
and I sat on the bed and I waited.
The next thing you know,
there's four of them, there are three men
and a woman, and then they brought
another young woman with them
who also needed an abortion.
I was petrified.
They spoke all of three sentences
to me the entire time.
"Where's the money?"
"Lie back and do as I tell you."
"Get in the bathroom." That was it.
I was just laying there trying to,
you know, get my breath,
and I knew I was bleeding,
and all of a sudden, they were gone.
They just left.
Two young women
out in the middle of nowhere
in a motel, bleeding.
If I had stayed in that room, I'd be dead.
When we both were able to,
an hour or two later,
stand up without being dizzy,
and then we could get out the door,
find a cab, she went her way,
I went mine. And that was it.
In the state of Illinois,
and most of the rest of the nation,
abortion was illegal.
It was not medical practice.
It was simply a crime.
We were very aware of the fact that...
women were suffering
in a variety of ways
because of abortion being
against the law.
Women did awful things
out of fear and desperation.
We knew that some would be injured,
some would die.
Many people around them,
including children
that they already had, would suffer.
So we thought, "We can be of use.
You need an abortion, we'll help you."
"Call this number and ask for Jane."
Jane was an outrageous undertaking
by a lot of smart women.
Traveling under the radar
of the Chicago Mafia
and Chicago Police Department.
That was a case where
men's underestimating women's abilities
worked very well for us.
As a member of Jane,
I knew the risk I was taking.
I knew that it was possible
that I could go to jail
for what I was doing.
But at the time, I was...
I could care less.
Until I was arrested...
I figured it wouldn't make
any difference. You know, I'd be fine.
If you start getting serious
and start worrying
about all these little details...
you won't get anything done.
You won't get anything done.
That was the beauty of Chicago, I think.
It was a town where people did stuff.
A lot of things were going on in Chicago
that made it...
politics seemed very real,
or, you know, what was happening
in the country very immediate.
I wouldn't say I went to Chicago
with a particular interest in abortion.
Every woman should have a sign.
Please pick them up.
Like other women in Jane,
we came to the service
from other things,
the anti-war movement,
the civil rights movement.
- Don't block the sidewalk!
- It was around us, you know?
You couldn't not pay attention
to what was going on.
You smell like pigs,
that's why we don't want you! Pigs!
At the open housing demonstrations
on the southwest side of Chicago,
racists were lining the streets
ready to throw bottles.
Your mother is a whore!
- Your mother is a whore!
- I said, "Here's an opportunity
for me to take a stand
in defining who am I
as a person, what do I stand for?"
I still have a scar on my arm from where
one of the slivers of bottles hit me.
Just keep moving! Just keep moving!
I can assure you that the hatred
and the hostility here
are really deeper than what I've seen
in Alabama and Mississippi.
People were throwing bags of shit at us,
grabbing women's earrings
and pulling them out of their ears.
Throwing firecrackers from trees.
Run, run, run, run! Run!
I was afraid all the time.
But, you know,
I was a warrior for justice.
I had started
at the University of Chicago,
and I joined the
Freedom Summer Project.
I went to Mississippi to support
the voter registration effort.
And during that summer,
I learned that sometimes you have to
stand up to illegitimate authority.
And sometimes there are unjust laws
that need to be challenged.
I came back to campus,
and then a friend of mine
was raped at knifepoint in her bed
in off-campus housing.
I went with her to Student Health,
and she was given
a lecture on her promiscuity,
was told that Student Health
didn't cover gynecological exams.
And I was outraged.
Women were at a total disadvantage
when it came to our reproductive rights
and our own medical rights
and just our personal rights.
Women didn't have the power
to make decisions.
You had to be married
to get a diaphragm.
When the pill came in,
you had to be married
to get a prescription for pills.
If you weren't married,
you were out of luck.
Contraceptives were not widely,
freely, openly available.
When I went to college,
I was told, "Go to Woolworths,
get a five-dollar ring,
put it on your left, fourth finger...
then tell the doctor that your name
is Mrs. Somebody-or-Another
and you needed birth control."
Just insane.
I became more engaged
on women's issues,
but I don't remember
any real discussion about abortion
until a friend told me
that his sister was pregnant
and was nearly suicidal.
That she wasn't ready to have a child,
and was looking for a doctor
to perform an abortion,
and could I help out?
I started to ask around.
I went to the doctors
who were in the medical arm
of the Civil Rights Movement,
and they directed me
to a Dr. T.R.M. Howard.
The Mississippi White Citizens' Council
is exerting tremendous
economic pressure
upon the Negro people
of the State of Mississippi.
He had been a civil rights
activist in Mississippi
until he stood up against
the murder of Emmett Till.
And then his name appeared
on a Klan death list
and he came to Chicago.
He set up a clinic on 63rd Street.
I contacted him by phone.
He was very responsive.
He said he would take care of it. And...
he was good to his word.
Word spread and someone else called.
I put that person
in touch with Dr. Howard,
and then word spread again.
And so it only dawned on me
over time how big an issue this was.
It was at the end of school,
so there weren't many kids in the dorm.
There was a girl down the hall.
We weren't friends,
she was a little older.
She knocked on the door
and said she was in trouble,
and could I help her?
So I went down to her room,
and there was blood everywhere.
She said, "I had an abortion
and I'm bleeding
and I'm really scared.
Can you call the doctor?"
You know, there was one phone
in the hallway.
So I went into the hallway
and called the doctor.
He said, "How much is she bleeding?"
I don't know. I said, "Well, she's..."
"I'd say it's pretty bad."
He said, "Put her feet up, go get ice,
and call me back in two hours."
So I got on my bike, I went and got ice,
brought it back, cleaned up her room.
She said, "Don't tell anybody.
Don't tell my boyfriend."
And I realized, "Oh, my God, how scary.
She's all by herself."
I saw her, like the next day
and she had stopped bleeding,
the ice did it,
the elevating the legs. It worked.
So that was good.
- That must've been scary for you.
- It was re...
Well, plus, I was... high.
Which was true. You know, 'cause
this was the end of school.
We're sitting around smoking
some dope and I'm like, "What?"
Well, that got me out of it really quick.
All of a sudden,
I'm riding my bike in the night going,
"Oh my God, I have to, like,
not be this way anymore."
So it was scary, and it was so...
It just stayed with me because it seemed
so wrong that this was going on.
I was a medical student
at Cook County Hospital.
What was seared into my brain is
what desperate people will do
when they think they have
no other choice.
Women would come in
with some type of a complication,
often a horrendous injury...
as a result of an illegal abortion.
Women would use objects
to try to disrupt the pregnancy,
which perforated the uterus,
perforated the bladder,
perforated the intestines.
There were chemical means.
I recall one woman
who tried carbolic acid.
She had horrific burns.
We would see 15 to 20 people a day.
They either went to the operating room,
or they went up
to the Septic Abortion Ward.
And the Septic Abortion Ward
was full every day.
I just remember walking into the unit
and observing those patients there.
Nineteen years old, young girls...
either self-induced or somebody did it,
and why can't we save them
or why can't we do something
more for them?
One girl, I remember the doctor saying,
"There's nothing more we can do for her."
Here's this beautiful young girl
and nobody there, and she's dying.
She never woke up. I still see her face.
I called the morgue every week
that I was on that ward
because somebody had died.
There were increasing numbers
of women coming to me.
Mostly it was students.
Over time, it expanded
to other people in Chicago.
After a few years,
I lost contact with Dr. Howard.
He wasn't answering my calls.
I only learned later
that he had been arrested.
I started again on a search.
Did any of the doctors I knew
know anyone else to refer me to?
And finally, I got the name
of someone named Mike.
When I first learned it,
I was helping this guy from Detroit.
He started on... He was a surgeon,
a real surgeon,
he used to operate every day.
He would come in on the weekends.
For years, I watched him.
I stood behind him, I watched him,
I handed him the tools.
And then he said, "Come here. You do it."
He taught me the most important thing is,
be gentle.
And so, it wasn't
a very hard thing to learn.
And then after I learned it,
I didn't need him anymore.
I thought it was probably Mob-connected,
but that may have been
my own imagination.
Mike sent his associate.
We met at a Walgreens
that was downtown in Chicago.
I told her what all the arrangements
had been with Dr. Howard,
and they agreed to the terms.
Even talking about performing
an abortion
was a conspiracy to commit a felony.
I was worried about being arrested.
I didn't want to be arrested.
We were aware of the Red Squad,
the division of the Chicago Police
that would monitor social change,
civil rights and movement activists.
We were all being watched.
There were police
who sat in front of our building.
Most of the building
was filled with radicals.
You might say even
communist revolutionaries.
My husband, Al Raby, was a leader
in the Chicago Civil Rights Movement.
We each had our own police tail.
One day, I forgot my keys,
and so I had my tail call his tail,
so he would go home
and let me in the house.
The anti-war movement
was under heavy surveillance.
Do you think your phones were tapped?
- At that point?
- Absolutely.
They should have been.
I was representing young men
who were subject to the draft
for the Vietnam War.
The way they accumulated
bodies for the war
was abysmal and disgusting and illegal.
We are tired of this dirty war.
We want to withdraw
our participation from it.
Every night, you could watch
the war on television.
It was a presence in our lives.
It was 1968, and then hell broke out.
I spent the whole convention
in the National Guard
in front of the Hilton.
Mayor Daley wanted some tough
coppers down there.
When the convention came to Chicago,
I knew I had to go see
what this was all about.
I was part of the youth movement.
I thought the whole world
was going to change.
I really did.
It was a beautiful sunny day.
We took a picnic with some friends.
There were a lot of speeches going on.
And we were sitting on a hill
above Grant Park.
And while we're sitting there,
the first tear gas canister was lobbed in.
And then we see
the police starting to charge us.
They saw the youngsters
as against God and everything decent.
I was in shock.
The cops going in there with just...
going crazy beating the kids.
At one point, somebody raised
the Viet Cong flag
in front of combat veterans of three wars.
And the combat veterans
of three wars proceeded to beat
the living daylights out of everybody.
It reinforced our negative feelings
about government,
certainly about Richard Daley,
the police, as well.
It was a great radicalization for me.
It was a dark moment for Chicago.
I was helping bail out people
who had been arrested.
We were called "radical lawyers,"
attorneys who were my age
with a great desire
to impede the war progress.
We also, of course, were very interested
in race relations and civil rights,
and no interest whatsoever
in women's rights.
That was not a part of the deal.
I was interested
in the anti-war movement,
but it seemed to me that mostly
the guys who were running it,
they felt it was about them.
So it wasn't going to become my cause
except in a helper role.
This is the way the world was.
It was always the guys.
It was always, forever, the guys.
My question!
With their macho stuff going on.
It seemed very male-dominated.
There was a lot of testosterone
and a lot of lecturing.
The human people
and the Vietnamese people...
we go forth as human beings
around the world.
I respected the Black Panther Party,
and to this day,
I respect what they provided
for the Black community,
a sense of dignity and respect.
Fred Hampton and Bobby Rush
were friends of mine.
But I didn't necessarily agree
with the party's attitude
that women were to serve
the men in the party.
Which is why I never joined the party
'cause I couldn't abide
by those practices.
At one meeting on my campus,
an SDS meeting,
Students for a Democratic Society,
they were going to discuss
the so-called "woman question."
While I'm talking, one of the guys says,
"Ah, shut up."
And I was so shocked.
So I tapped the shoulder
of every woman in the group,
and I said, "Let's leave this meeting."
The Chicago Women's Liberation Union
blossomed up.
There's something wrong
when a woman can't get a job
without typing skills.
If there's one thing
that should be extended to the ladies,
it's the right to talk.
We sat in restaurants downtown
because they were all-male restaurants,
and were taken out by the police.
You have no intention
of changing your policy
- of segregated facilities?
- No. No.
- Is that correct, sir?
- If you women are that hard up
for a glass of beer,
I'll be glad to serve you at the bar.
Lookin' good, gal.
We drove cars downtown
to pick up the downtown secretaries
because they were being
catcalled going to work.
Beat it!
It just touched a nerve so deeply in me.
I really wanted to go there.
I wanted more.
I wanted to be involved.
And abortion seemed to me the frontline.
Women were literally dying
because they were women.
Whether or not people
believe in abortion,
abortions, illegal abortions,
are being performed.
And those abortions
must be taken out of the hands
of quacks and butchers.
There were women's groups
organized all over the country
that were working on abortion,
but they were working on publicizing it,
legalizing it, collecting data on it.
I just wanted to get something done.
Because I'd had one, I guess,
and I knew what women were up against.
We had been married less than a year.
He was in graduate school
and I was the sole income
for the two of us.
And there I was, pregnant.
At that time, you could not work
as a pregnant woman.
They saw it as a terrible responsibility
to have a pregnant woman
sitting behind a typewriter.
And forget trying to find a job
if you had small children at home.
A friend of mine drove me.
I wore little white gloves,
a suit with a skirt.
I was told ahead of time,
"He might ask you for a kiss.
He might ask you to...
He might ask to hug you
or cuddle you or...
I don't know, whatnot all."
I was terrified.
I got on the table,
my feet went into the stirrups.
It was all done without anesthesia
because I had to be able
to get up and walk out of there
as if nothing had happened.
And I did.
By 1968, I was in graduate school,
working full-time.
I had a lot of other movement obligations.
And now I was pregnant,
gonna be taking care of a child.
And the number of women coming
through was more and more,
and it was much more
than I could handle myself.
I'd go to meetings on any subject.
At the end of the meeting,
I'd say, "If you're interested
in working on abortion, come see me."
And that's where I met Heather.
We were all very disillusioned
with politics as usual.
I think a lot of us realized there
how un-liberated we were...
and we wanted to do something about it.
Heather Booth said,
"I know what you can do."
"You can do abortion counseling."
When I found about 12 or so women,
we gathered together
and went to Eleanor Oliver's house.
We talked and talked and talked about it.
So we had our politics
pretty well thought out.
When everyone felt ready
to take this on,
I gave them whatever materials I had.
And Jane, in effect, started.
It was pandemonium
for maybe a minute and a half,
and then we got down to business.
We actually ran an ad constantly
in the underground paper.
We had the phone numbers on posters
and little tear-off things
on bulletin boards around Chicago.
"Pregnant? Call Jane."
We needed a telephone number
for people to call.
I said, "Well, we can use my phone."
"But let's change it
so that they don't ask for Eleanor."
"How about Jane?
Nobody's called Jane anymore,
and it's a nice, simple name."
And that's where Jane came from.
"If you have a message
for the Olivers or for Jane,
please leave your name and number
and we will call you back."
Like she lived there.
Women who called Jane
always wanted to hear back quickly.
They were desperate.
They'd use that word more than once.
There would always be one person
who would tell you a lot of things,
but she'd forget
something absolutely vital.
Either her name,
or her telephone number.
There was nothing you could do,
you had no way to reach her.
One woman, she left a message on Jane,
she said, "When you call me back,
don't be alarmed
if they answer
'Chicago Police Department, '
because that is where I work,
and I'm giving you my work number."
I remember Jody saying,
"We have a policewoman.
Who wants the policewoman?"
And all of us just sat there,
and I said, "I'll take her."
At my very first Jane meeting,
the three-by-five index cards
were being passed around
and the information on those cards
was the name and contact info,
medical details,
how far they were in the pregnancy,
if there were any known
complication possibilities.
People were so trusting.
They gave you their name,
phone number.
You're coming for an illegal abortion...
and you're, you know, "I have two kids.
I'm eight weeks along."
"Here's where I live.
Here's my first and last name."
Five dollars, 75 dollars.
People would tell you what they had.
Zero money.
She's 21. She already has a kid.
This woman says she has a dollar.
Here's one, says four dollars.
We would hand around those cards
at the meeting
to match people up for counseling.
"No, no, I can take that one.
I don't have enough."
You know, "I've got too many.
I can't do that this week."
And so we would try to spread those out.
Eight weeks, 18, and you go,
"Okay, I can do that."
Eighteen, 11 weeks. Great.
Eleven weeks, lovely. Six weeks.
Oh, and she's 19. Wow.
Eight weeks, 22. This is great.
Then you'd get somebody
who was 16, 16 weeks, you know?
And you'd just be so grim,
and it would go round and round.
Gosh, the cards.
You just, you know, your heart
would be going out to them.
They weren't just cards.
You knew they were people,
and I knew they were women like me.
I would probably counsel ten
women a week.
I would call the woman
and invite her to my home.
I would explain to her
exactly what was gonna go on in detail.
This is something I contrast
to my own abortion,
in which no one ever explained
a darn thing to me.
We had thought about,
how would we like to be treated?
What was worrisome for us
in a medical situation?
We knew that what makes you
terrified is the not knowing.
It wasn't just about
what you're going to experience
during the abortion.
"This is what you're going
to experience that whole day."
Because it's scary enough
that you're having an illegal abortion.
Women would launch into these stories.
"I have three children,"
"I have no more money,"
"My husband is leaving,"
or, "My husband is sick,"
or, "I don't have a husband."
"I'm 17, I want to go to college,
and I've got this scholarship
and if I don't do this now..."
They were really cogent
and important reasons,
but we would really try
to make clear to them
they didn't have to justify themselves.
Their reason for having an abortion
was their reason.
I was not there to pass judgment.
After a counseling session,
the woman would be given the address
to what we called The Front.
The Front was like a big waiting room.
Sometimes women brought their kids.
You could bring your sister-in-law,
your husband, you could bring
some moral support.
And that really helped.
We would try to have refreshments,
talk to them,
try to keep a pleasant atmosphere
for people that were probably
terrified out of their minds.
We had a place
that we actually did abortions,
imaginatively called The Place.
So, The Place and The Front.
It was a two-part system.
People would be waiting at The Front,
and then the driver would drive
groups of women to The Place,
and then afterwards, drive them back.
I ended up doing a lot of driving.
In the morning, you would be
introduced to a new car,
somebody's family car,
and you would have to drive it
all day, like a taxi.
I'd drive a little ways,
and then I would park
and ask for the money.
And everybody would hand
the money forward.
We would say to women,
"Pay as much as you can,
because that's going to help pay
for the next person
who has less than you."
We had to charge
because it costs money to do abortions.
And certainly, in the days
when the guy was doing the abortions,
he was only doing them for the money.
I was in construction for years.
I was a union tuckpointer.
I made a lot of money doing that.
But with the abortions, we made...
four, five, six times
that amount of money, less work.
And you would get real dirty
as a tuckpointer,
and I never got dirty doing it.
So it was a step up for me.
When I first met them, the ladies said,
"Here's how we're going to do it now."
"We're going to have customers
that have the money."
"We're also going to have
that don't have the money."
"The ones that don't have the money,
we're going to do that for nothing."
"For nothing? Are you crazy?
I'm not going to do it for..."
"Yes, you are."
I think initially he thought
we were ballbusters.
He felt as though
he was being pushed really hard
by a whole bunch of girls.
I mean, I didn't understand it.
It says in the Bible,
a man is worthy of his labors,
and there surely,
that applies to abortionists too.
Oh, God.
But it all worked out, you know?
He said, "I thought abortions
were like mink coats."
"Lots of women wanted them,
but only some of them could afford one."
I thought he was a blowhard.
You know, sort of a con man
and a showman and a...
a wise guy.
But I also thought he had a heart.
He would make little jokes
and put them at ease.
"We're gonna do it together,
and you'll see,
you'll be done before you know it."
And he was highly skillful
and treated the women well.
I could see right away
that his vibe, his sensibility,
his way of being with them was good.
It was a job.
- And you were good at it.
- Damn right.
There was an ad, "Pregnant?
Need Help? Call Jane."
I was about 21.
I had tried birth control pills
and they made me really sick.
That was really about the only thing
besides a diaphragm,
which I had no clue how to use
or where to get one.
It was like a Friday morning,
and it was really nice out, I remember.
I took the L. I went by myself.
I thought about the woman in college,
her bleeding, and how scary it was,
and how alone she was.
It was in Hyde Park.
A woman came in that was the driver
and she was pregnant.
She was, like, seven months pregnant.
She's driving people
to get an illegal abortion,
and I just thought that was so wonderful.
The person who was doing
the abortion came in.
He explained exactly what he was doing.
"This is going to hurt,
but it won't hurt for long."
"Try some deep breathing."
Very reassuring.
The doctors didn't do that in those days.
Usually they were very condescending,
never told you anything
about what you were taking
or what was going on.
It seemed so odd
to me that it was illegal,
and yet it was the best medical
experience I ever had.
We knew we were good,
and we knew we were...
going to do our best for them.
But for the women coming through,
they were putting their trust
in somebody who was breaking the law,
who they didn't know from Adam.
We were doing something illegal
and so were they,
and you had to trust.
Just like the Bob Dylan song, right?
"When you live outside the law,
you must be honest."
That's how we all felt.
The illegality was constantly
there in our minds.
Imagine going to the drugstore
and coming out
with 500 syringes in your car
and 500 ampoules of Ergotrate.
And you know
between the druggist and your house,
you'd better not run any red lights.
They were clandestine,
they were underground.
Each week, they planned
different locations for their activities.
It was a moving target.
We got so that we could set up
to be a clinic in 15 minutes.
And we could get out of there
in five minutes if we had to.
We had to find people to offer
up their apartments for us.
That was really a huge chore,
'cause who's gonna do that?
"Oh yeah, sure,
come and spend the day
and do illegal abortions all day."
My roommate had to agree.
We would allow our apartment
to be used,
whatever the consequences might be.
I mean, it wasn't like
I talked her into anything,
but, I think.
I had one friend who agreed to it,
but when she came home at five o'clock,
we weren't done.
And she got upset, but we weren't done!
The day went on longer.
So that... you know,
person and I became not friends.
It was very busy.
That was probably somewhat
obvious to neighbors.
Who knows what they thought
was going on?
Our home was used as a place
the procedures were performed.
My daughter Linda,
when she was six years old,
she would come home
from school sometimes,
walk in the door, and see women
sitting in the living room.
And then she says,
"Oh, they're doing it today."
"I'm going to go in my room and study."
When they were like
four and five years old,
they would have their friends over.
And I would say, "Okay,
now you can count to ten."
"Now, I want ten of this kind of pill,
and ten of this kind of pill,
and fill these 50 boxes."
I think that that was good
in developing good work habits.
Our daughters understood
not to talk about it,
but they also understood
it was just part of our life.
I was married to a lawyer.
He feared that his license
might be endangered
because of his knowledge
of his wife's illegal activities.
He was nervous. Rightly so.
I mean we were criminals,
we were felons.
It's like 5:30, 6:00 in the morning.
The phone rings.
Michael answers it, says, "It's for Jane."
I take the phone,
and this woman who is in a panic
starts telling me
that she is in Grant Hospital,
right across the street
from where we live.
Suddenly, a man gets on the phone
and says, "We know where you are!"
"We know who you are!
We know what you've done!"
I immediately slammed down the phone.
We're out of bed in, like, seconds.
We had to go into furious action
and protect the information that we had.
The answering machine,
the beeper, the cards.
Michael said, "I'm putting
all that stuff in my golf bag."
I went down the stairs of the fire escape,
Judith went out the door.
Got in the car.
We stopped at a gas station payphone,
called Jody,
told her what had happened.
Jody said, "Oh, that's just a crank,
doesn't mean anything, it's not real."
Nothing fazed Jody.
We went back and it was all quiet.
So this guy was just bluffing,
which was exactly what Jody thought.
As far as society was concerned,
we were scumbags.
- But we didn't...
- We were doing something bad,
- but we didn't feel that way.
- But we didn't feel that way.
We felt that
we were doing the right thing.
Not only was there the need,
but there was a philosophical
obligation on our part,
on somebody's part,
to disrespect a law that...
disrespected women.
Their role was very Mom and Pop.
Mom and Dad.
Ruth really ran the meetings,
and Jody would be hanging in
the doorway,
chewing the eraser ends off
one pencil after another.
She was so incredibly intense.
She was really nuts.
You know?
And it takes that kind of nuts.
Jody was the most charismatic
person I ever knew.
She was unrelenting
in her support of the women.
I think her own experience with abortion
so changed her life.
She just didn't see this issue
as political until her own experience.
I felt like a prisoner
of the medical system.
I was very, very sick.
I had cancer and I had two children.
And I got pregnant.
I had a very difficult time,
a terrible time, getting an abortion.
I was in the hospital trying
to get this legal abortion.
It took ten days in the hospital,
letters from almost a dozen doctors,
before I finally got an abortion.
The doctors were like kings back then.
They made the decisions.
You don't question a doctor.
OB-GYNs were 95 percent male
at that time.
Somehow the medical profession,
which is male-dominated,
got control of women's bodies.
I saw the fight
as largely winning control back
from the medical profession.
I went to see my gynecologist, the person
who had delivered my children.
I was pregnant.
And I said,
"I really do not want this child."
And my gynecologist said...
"Well, I can't do anything for you."
"But I can give you the name
of someone who maybe can."
And he gave me Jane's number.
A number of women
said they'd gotten our name
and phone number from their doctor.
So one of us would call the doctor
and say "Hi, this is Jane.
We noticed you've been referring,
and we want to know if there's a way
you can be of assistance to us?"
And for the most part, they would say,
"Don't ever call me again."
We had a list because we were always
trying to find the doctor or a person
who could perform a safe abortion.
It was very difficult.
You had to be pretty lucky
to have an abortion by someone
who didn't do you harm.
Sometimes a doctor,
sometimes an abortionist.
You might get recommended
into a situation
that was really very unpleasant
and even dangerous.
You know, I have seen a lot of that stuff.
These guys on Madison and Halsted,
two brothers, they were like that,
really mean.
They would say, "That's part of the deal."
"You're gonna suck my cock
after this is done. No? Get out."
It was more than
you were lucky to find someone.
You were lucky to have it be okay.
Because it wasn't always okay.
The fact is, women died all the time.
Every once in a while,
you'd read about it in the paper,
but no one was taking that on as a cause.
Especially in a place like Chicago.
Heavily Catholic city.
Catholic church had very strong
feelings about abortion.
They said Chicago was the largest
Catholic archdiocese outside of Europe.
We went to Mass every morning at 5:30.
So, after five years, I could say
the Mass along with the priest in Latin.
Chicago is even more Catholic
than it's Polish, than it's Irish.
That was the whole political structure.
Certain lawyers
and legislators and judges
hasten to loosen the laws
against abortion.
A father...
has no right to kill his babies
after they are born.
Why should we suppose
that a mother has a right
to kill her babies before they are born?
It's not a theological argument.
It's a put-up job.
I've had two abortions,
and I felt that God was with me,
at my side, in all of these choices.
That it was a God-given decision.
To exclude women from ethical agency...
excludes us from humanity,
and it turns us into powerless sinners
against our own selves.
And you can't have that.
As a graduate student
at the Divinity School
at the University of Chicago,
I was always looking for a part-time job.
There was a sign on a bulletin board
asking for people to do
spiritual counseling about pregnancy.
I thought "Oh, that sounds
absolutely wonderful for me."
There are 37 clergymen
who are members of the service.
What kinds of clergymen are these?
Would you say
they're all radical extremists,
or could they be
my parish minister, for example?
Might be a minister or a rabbi
anywhere in the Chicago area.
The Clergy Consultation Service
came out publicly in support
of a woman's right to choose.
Once the announcement was made,
the phone lines never stopped ringing.
This is the Chicago area
Clergy Consultation Service
on problem pregnancies.
You need only take down
the name and number
of the one of the four clergymen
whose names will follow.
We were very, very busy.
There was a lot of need.
And in fact, Playboy solicited
the Clergy Consultation Service,
and said, "We would like
to give you some money."
"We think what you're doing
is really good."
And there were people
who said we shouldn't take it,
but mostly we just laughed our heads off
and said, "Yeah, let's do it."
In Chicago, the Clergy Service and Jane
were parallel organizations.
But the Clergy Service served women
who had the economic means
to travel for an abortion.
In the early days, the referrals
were made to England and Japan,
Mexico and Puerto Rico.
After the New York law went into effect,
it changed everything.
In New York State today,
the Senate passed
the long-disputed abortion bill,
a bill that would make abortion
a matter to be decided
between a woman and her doctor.
The Clergy Consultation Service
began sending
virtually all of our
first trimester cases to New York.
We were "brokering"
something like 13 million dollars a year
in airfare alone.
I was trying to negotiate
a group purchase plan
with United Airlines.
When New York legalized abortion
in 1970,
that meant that all those...
white college students,
who could see themselves
getting on a plane
and flying to New York
and getting an abortion and flying back,
did that.
That's what really changed
the demographics
of who called Jane.
It was really the lower middle class
and the poor women who were stuck.
If you have other kids,
if you don't have the money,
it was hard to do.
A decent one-bedroom apartment
in Chicago
was going for about 150 dollars a month.
Illegal abortions cost
between 500 and 600 dollars.
Women of color
were just kind of on the outs
because they couldn't afford it.
And to me, that was just outrageous.
My husband Al routinely
would collect money for Jane
in paper shopping bags
at taverns and laundries
and other places along 53rd Street
in the Black community.
Word of us spread on the South Side
and the West Side pretty rapidly.
There were more women of color.
Not necessarily on the team of people
who provided the abortion services.
But the people who consumed the
services, the complexion changed.
The women who came through Jane
were very, very, very different...
from the women who were in Jane.
We would always say to women,
"You could join us."
But we didn't get a lot of takers.
So it was a concern for us.
I was pretty ignorant of the class issues.
I wonder how offensive
we may have unintentionally been.
We weren't an exclusively white group,
but we were primarily
white middle-class women.
Of course it felt complicated.
We tried to do it with as much respect
and understanding as we could.
They were providing services to women.
In particular, women who couldn't...
Poor women
who couldn't afford an abortion.
And I just thought
that was such a revolutionary act.
And I couldn't see myself
sitting on the sidelines.
When I opened the door
and they walked through,
I said, "I'll take care of you."
I felt really good being able to do that.
I grew up right there
at 2419 West Madison,
across the street
from the Black Panther headquarters,
on the West Side.
When I was about 14,
one of my chums, she came to me
and said that she was pregnant...
and... that she couldn't have the child.
I don't think I judged her,
I just wanted to be able to help.
Being so young,
we probably didn't even really
understand what an abortion was.
She asked me,
would I go with her, and I said yes.
We cut school. And we took the bus.
I recall going into an apartment.
Was a lot of people.
There was television going.
Kids were there.
It was like being
in a doctor's waiting room,
only it was more homey, you know, like...
All I saw were white women
running it, in charge.
They described the whole procedure.
We just... We lost it. We cried.
Two little girls, we cried.
She decided that she was gonna do it.
So I waited.
They gave me this book,
Our Bodies, Ourselves.
I guess that's where I got
my sex education from.
'Cause I did read that book
from beginning to...
They had called a taxi.
We went on home.
I can't say she was ashamed of it,
but I don't think we ever discussed
the fact that that happened.
We have three demands,
to repeal all anti-abortion laws,
to repeal restrictive contraceptive laws,
and to end forced sterilization.
The things that happen to women
under the existing system are so bad,
and so criminal, that we simply
have to get rid of these laws.
These women are driven into the hands
of criminal illegal abortionists and die.
Destroying a life,
a human life, is murder.
There are many of us here
who feel that fetal death is murder.
Perhaps the current law
is unconstitutional.
Well, then the place to test that
is in the courts.
Your mortalities are largely
among the Negro and the Puerto Rican,
and not the white in this community,
from abortion, why?
Because a white woman
has the padded pocketbook
to pay for a safe abortion.
Now, is this the kind of thing
you want to continue?
Every woman in every
circumstance will suffer,
but it will mean untold suffering
to Black and Puerto Rican women.
We cannot let that happen.
We need abortion facilities in this area.
It's not right for women
to have to go to New York
or Michigan, or anywhere really,
in order to control
their own reproductive lives.
It's the natural, basic,
democratic right of every woman.
After New York became legal,
women were just angry.
"You could do it in New York,
why can't I do it here?"
"Why am I in this position?"
And you just said, "You're right."
You know? "Why are you in this position?
You shouldn't have to be doing this."
"You should be able to go to a doctor,
just like a woman
in New York can go to a doctor."
When I started,
it was in the days of the "doctor,"
the doctor who was not a doctor.
You know, I never gave it any thought
whether he was an M.D. or not,
until we discovered that he wasn't.
He was such a good abortionist,
and I knew that from the jump.
I kinda knew he wasn't a doctor.
I knew that he was involved with other...
illegal pursuits.
Once, I said, "You know,
sometimes I've thought about
becoming a safecracker.
How would I go about doing that?"
And he gave me some advice.
Maybe they thought I was a doctor.
I have no idea what they thought.
I don't... I'm not sure
if that ever came up.
Maybe it did.
But I never told anybody I was a doctor.
But your codename was?
Dr. Kaplan.
When we learned that...
in fact, he wasn't a doctor,
it was very hard on our heads too,
because we believed, like everybody
else, that doctors were magic.
And they were the ones who had the
power. Ordinary people couldn't do it.
And here was this ordinary person.
It was shocking that he wasn't a doctor,
and I felt betrayed.
And I felt bad
because I was counseling people
and telling them it was a doctor.
I was like, "Seriously?"
But nobody was getting hurt.
We were very responsible
in terms of how the services
were being delivered, so...
you know, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
There were women who left the service.
But I said, "Wait a minute."
"This means if he can do it,
we can do it!"
My first reaction was, "No,
we shouldn't be doing that procedure,
not ourselves."
I wasn't ready to do that.
To me, it seemed risky, and it was risky.
I think it was exciting.
This is women's work.
We're just as capable as he is.
I was really surprised
that he would be willing
to teach the women of Jane
how to perform abortions.
I mean, I thought that was revolutionary.
I think it was a mutual thing
because I wasn't going to do it anymore.
And I wanted to get out of it.
'Cause, you know,
the Outfit discovered what I was doing,
and they wanted me to work with them.
And you know, first you work with them
and then you work for them.
And I didn't want anything
to do with that.
So for the women,
I gave them all the tools and...
I mean,
there was no reason at that point,
there was no reason why they couldn't.
I mean, then they could really
do a lot of them for free.
Sometimes you'd have to start
with a small dilator
to just try to get inside of the cervix.
And then this is sort of a graduated one,
it would get a little bit bigger.
And then you could fit this in,
and then you could dilate it
to the point that you could...
I haven't done this in a long time.
Make it big enough
that you could open up the cervix,
so that they could do the abortion.
And then this is one of the curettes
that you would go in
and scrape the wall with.
It was a great victory to me
to challenge the medical profession
and show that women don't have
to go to male doctors
with problems that, throughout history,
have been women's problems.
This work taught me
that I was a responsible person.
And I could take responsibility,
not only in my own life,
but for other people's lives.
Jane was so radically different.
It was the total opposite
of what I had experienced the first time.
Complete opposite.
When we talked, they asked,
"How far along do you think you are?
When was your last period?"
"Are you eating okay?"
"Can you afford the hundred dollars?"
They were so detailed in care.
When I got there,
there must have been at least six
or eight of us that were going that day.
While other women went in ahead of me,
I could hear the conversations,
and all I heard was kind words,
consideration, concern.
I could hear this
lovely woman's voice assuring,
constantly, every woman
that was in that room.
The assurance, the trust,
the respect that I got.
When I tell you they changed my life,
they changed my life.
I was raised in a convent,
and I was beaten by nuns
and abused by nuns.
So I didn't think that women
gave a shit about women.
When I saw women caring about women,
not insulting them, not being sarcastic,
not dismissing them...
it was a whole new world for me.
We could see it, in some cases,
how coming through the service
transformed other women.
And that was our intent.
We were building a new world,
and we were doing that
one woman at a time.
But some women were just like,
"Give me my abortion, I'm out of here,
I am not hearing anything."
Our rule of thumb was that
we kept in touch with the women
for just about two weeks
after their abortions,
to make sure they were okay.
It was a worry. It was always a worry.
I do remember once there was a woman,
I was doing her abortion,
and she started bleeding,
and it just scared me terribly
'cause I thought, "You know,
I really don't know very much about this."
"I know this extremely limited
piece of information,
and I'm good at what I do,
I don't do harm,
but I don't know about the other stuff."
I was thinking, "I am out of my depth."
But, you know, those things fade
as there's somebody else coming in
who says, "I really need this abortion."
If a woman was having, like, a problem
with bleeding, we would say to her,
she needed to go to a hospital.
But there were those women
who disappeared afterwards
and you couldn't do follow-up
with them because they...
You could never reach them again.
A woman came to us...
who seemed okay.
She was African American
and she was pretty young.
We realized she had a fever.
And we discovered she had an infection.
So, we knew that she had
done something,
or something had been done to her,
that injured her,
She was in quite a bit of pain.
I think she knew that
she was in trouble before she arrived.
I remember her panic
that we were not going
to be able to do the abortion.
We said, "We can't do this.
You have an infection."
"We want to take you to the hospital
right now. This is very dangerous."
And she put her clothes on and fled.
It sounds like she arrived at Cook County
with a neglected infection
that had been going on for days.
She was likely very close to septic shock.
She would've come into the triage area
and then up to the Septic Abortion Ward.
We called for I think it was two days,
two nights, no answer. And then...
a man answered who identified himself
as her family's pastor,
and he said she had passed.
That was the phrase that he used.
Everybody in Jane was devastated.
We felt an enormous amount
of guilt connected to this.
Not that it was our doing,
but she came through our hands,
and we didn't do enough.
No one put her in a car
and took her to the hospital.
We didn't do enough.
We just didn't do enough.
It was horrible, horrible.
But we did not do this.
I don't know
what would have happened if it was
something we had done.
You know, that might have ended Jane
right then and there.
You were a little bit playing God,
and we were young.
To me, I just saw a constant,
endless line of...
of suffering people needing help, and...
and we were just
such a drop in the bucket.
Such an endless line
of terrible situations.
I finally got to the point where I said,
"I can't stand to see any more pain."
It just got too much for me
to deal with emotionally.
We were doing close to 30 a day,
three times a week...
week after week after week after week.
So, that's a lot.
In terms of her stepping back from Jane,
Jody said,
"I just couldn't do it anymore,"
and then, you know,
wound up signing
herself into a psych ward.
We were getting away with it, for so long.
It never entered my pretty little head
that I could get into trouble.
They put posters up in the neighborhood,
they put things on billboards,
they advertised.
And somehow, they thought
this was going to escape the attention
of whatever authority might be interested.
Come on! Everybody knew!
They didn't come after us.
And they certainly knew what
was going on.
The clientele of Jane included daughters,
wives, mistresses of police,
State's Attorney, judges.
It had to be hands-off.
They couldn't have worked
the way they did,
and as long as they did,
with no interference at all without that.
It just couldn't have been.
Abortion was illegal
in the State of Illinois
and mostly illegal in every state
in the United States in the 1972.
But it wasn't on our radar,
not on the Homicide Unit.
We handled murders, rapes,
serious assaults.
A guy getting his eye shot out,
a guy who had his arm blown off
with a sawed-off shotgun.
We had a murder every other day.
And that's what we dealt with.
When these two women
walked into our office
to tell us that an abortion
was going to happen,
they said, "Our sister-in-law's
going to have an abortion,
and we think that's a sin,
and we want you to stop it."
Abortion didn't exist in my world.
It never was spoken about
in my family or in my social circle.
I'm an Irish Catholic.
My partner's an Irish Catholic.
We conferred with the detective sergeant
watch commander,
who was an Irish Catholic.
Then the three of us went in
to talk to the lieutenant commanding
that homicide office,
who was an Irish Catholic.
He got on the phone to call
the citywide homicide commander,
who was an Irish Catholic.
He had to get on the phone
and confer with the chief of detectives,
who is an Irish Catholic.
And abortion was...
All of us were like, "What?"
We didn't want to get involved in this.
But we were told,
"You're the Homicide Unit,
you're gonna have to do it."
My partner was really mad, saying,
"What stupid bullshit this is!"
You know, "We got better stuff to do.
Who cares?"
'Course, obviously,
we weren't involved in either side
of the great philosophical camps
that debated this, you know.
I mean, we were just the guys
stuck with the law.
May 3rd, 1972.
It was a quiet spring morning.
I was taking women from The Front
to The Place
and from The Place to The Front.
I was working The Front,
and it was a very chaotic Front.
There must've been at least
four or five kids running around.
So it was kind of festive...
and a busy day.
I was at The Place.
Abby was there, Diane was there,
and Madeline was there.
I was actually doing abortions.
I had brought a pork roast.
And we put it in the oven, because
we wanted to have lunch together.
The day seemed
to just be kinda moving along.
We don't do surveillance
in the Homicide Unit.
We're all big Irish guys
wearing three-piece suits.
We don't exactly blend in.
But we said, "All right,
we're gonna set up on the sister-in-law."
We saw the woman come out,
she got in the car,
and they drove 'em away.
I did what all drivers
were supposed to do,
which was drive
as if you are being followed,
change locations, go down small streets.
Now, I did not know on that day,
I actually was finally being followed.
We followed them
into the South Shore neighborhood.
And she got out.
Over the elevator doors,
there were these brass numbers,
and an arrow.
And the arrow was going up,
and it stopped at a floor.
So we knew that's the floor they were on.
I was taking a woman back to The Front.
The elevator came up, doors opened.
We stepped back
because there were these guys
on the elevator.
They were like actors playing cops.
Trench coats, dress shirt, tie,
very shiny black shoes.
White men.
And then suddenly, they realized
that we might be
just what they had come for.
She was about 30 years of age,
formally dressed,
she was wearing a suit, nylons, heels.
Pete Valesares
was six foot five inches tall.
Peter went right up to her,
grabbed her by the arm,
and in a very stern voice,
he leaned down, he said,
"Did you just have an abortion?"
And she burst into tears.
She said, "Yes!"
And he said, "Show us where."
So she turned around,
she brought us to the door.
When the Homicide Unit wants to go
into a room, we get into the room.
Door doesn't stop us. And in we went.
The abortions were being performed
in the two bedrooms.
We immediately locked
the door to the bedroom.
And the woman put her clothes on.
We took the equipment
and threw it out the window.
We waited politely sitting on the bed, and
eventually someone kicked the door in.
I know we didn't kick the door down. So
I'm guessing we must have just knocked.
There was this big footprint on the door.
They ran to the bedrooms and started,
"Where's the doctor?"
Opened the windows to see
if the doctor was hanging
by his fingernails out the window.
We're in that scratching-our-heads mode.
"Where's the doctors?
There're no doctors?"
"I don't know."
"You're not a nurse?"
The women doing the abortions,
that didn't pop into my head.
I mean, these were just ladies.
The living room
was full of women, waiting.
Girls all got silent.
I'm looking at these women
who are staring at us.
A very awkward business.
Martha had put in a pork roast.
I guess it must've smelled pretty good,
because one of the cops asked,
"What's for lunch?"
And I said, "Pig!"
I was bad.
They cuffed me, put me in a police van.
I was completely freaked out.
It was freezing in that van.
There was this grille in the back,
and you could see Chicago
as we're pulling away.
We had these index cards
that had all this identifiable information
about women on it.
And so, we knew we had to destroy
them. We started eating the cards.
And I don't know if you've ever
tried to eat an index card,
but it's very fibrous.
I was taken into an individual office.
There was a cop in there.
He asked me questions.
He said, "That must have been
how you did it."
And I said, "Did what?"
He wants me to say
that I was doing abortions.
I'm not gonna say that.
What, is he crazy? Think I'm an idiot?
They were kinda pissed.
He asked me,
"How much do you charge?"
I said, "Why don't you ask the women?"
He was really frustrated, and he said,
"I have, and I've gotten
all kinds of different answers!"
We had a bunch of the women
who were waiting for the procedure.
And we knew who they were.
They were probably terrified, thinking,
"I didn't get an abortion today."
"Here I am, in the police station,
and I didn't get an abortion!"
One of them looked up at me, she said,
"I hope you don't think
you did me any favors."
I said, "Hey, listen,
I'm just doing my job."
"Don't get on me over this, you know?
You're a grown-up."
I was not really upset
until they fingerprinted us.
And then it felt like the men
now had some control
that they didn't have before.
That made it so much realer
than anything else.
Someone at the office said,
"There's an emergency."
Judith and some other women
had been arrested.
My first reaction was,
"Oh, God, here it's finally happened."
I was at Judith's house babysitting
and I got a call.
Michael said,
"Can you babysit a while longer?"
I'm like, "Yeah."
And he goes, "No,
I mean it might be a while longer."
And then he told me what happened,
I was like, "Oh, my God!"
Then the phone calls started
coming fast and furious.
We started to try to figure out
what we were gonna do
and how the hell are we going
to get them out of jail?
Because jail, it ain't no place.
The only facility we had
for women is 1121 South State.
I'm sure that was quite an experience,
to be sent to the women's lockup.
That would've been worth seeing.
When the poor ladies from Jane
were brought in with the streetwalkers.
There were a couple other women
who had been picked up for prostitution.
One of them was...
She told this off-color story
of somebody she knew
who had no teeth
and was famous on the street
for giving two-dollar Frenchies,
which was...
Evidently, she was
very skilled at blowjobs.
Our nerves were gone, you know?
We were just... We just ate it up.
The women said, "What are you in for?"
And we said, "Abortion
and conspiracy to commit abortion."
And they said, "No!"
There was a woman who had been
involved in an armed robbery,
and was extremely eager to turn
state's evidence before
somebody else in the group did.
There was a lot of street smarts
in that cell that I personally lacked.
I heard people yelling.
And that scared me.
I thought, "What is happening
to these women that they're screaming?"
Women were shouting, some were
crying, some were in drug withdrawal.
It's a madhouse.
I was a nursing mother.
My breasts were so painful
that I just thought,
"Well, I have to empty them here
into this filthy little sink."
That was some relief.
My thought was Judith
was the best of the bunch
to get out first, because we have a baby.
She's certainly not a flight risk.
So, we will pitch that
to judge to get the lowest possible bail.
And then we'll have that
as an example for the rest of them.
Not only was I a nursing mother,
but I was a college graduate,
a white woman, married to a lawyer.
And all of those things
were going to get me low bail,
and boy, I did not disbelieve that!
That would definitely be realistic,
certainly in Chicago.
And it worked.
When I got back to the apartment,
it was past dawn.
I remember standing next to the crib,
and the baby woke up, and I nursed him.
And that was... a fine conclusion.
I was enormously relieved.
I could feel the anxiety
coming out of my body,
down my arms, down my legs.
Great moments in motherhood.
Jody was in a psych ward.
And Ruth called her up
the day of the bust
and said, "You've had
a long enough vacation."
"Sign yourself out."
And Jody went to her psychiatrist
and said, "I'm going to sign myself out,"
and he said,
"I hope this doesn't have to do
with what I've been reading
about in the newspapers."
So she came back.
It got very busy again.
You'd think all that publicity
would scare people.
It's illegal, you saw these
people got arrested for it,
and you're still calling them
up on the phone.
Does that mean
that you're desperate? Probably.
It didn't seem like
it was so underground anymore.
Like, it was much more visible.
We didn't know
if people were being watched.
And we had to change the way we did it.
We were doing these little blitzes
where we would have five women
meet on a street corner
and one of us would pick them up,
drive them to someone's house.
They would get counseled,
and then Jody would do
their abortions right then and there.
There were 11 counts of abortion
and conspiracy to commit abortion,
and it was one to ten on each count,
so it was up to 110 years. For each of us.
So, that's a long time.
We knew that we were screwed
if we were inside
the Chicago court system.
It's dominated by people who feel
as though abortion is terrible.
And we obviously had broken the law.
I thought, "This is really serious.
This is really serious."
During the time between the bust
and the Grand Jury,
we were interviewing lawyers.
All but one, men, of course.
The men were, in different ways
and with different tones,
were so condescending
that it was impossible.
How could we possibly hire these guys
to represent us
when they couldn't even see us?
In my own experience
with the Chicago Conspiracy Trial,
you know, I just knew that
you could only trust a few of them
to handle political cases.
The lawyer that I knew
was one of those people.
I called her up and said,
"I got this case."
She was like, "Oh, no."
"I don't want anything to do with it."
She couldn't stand hippies.
I'm like, "Okay, I got it."
"But remember, you're a defense
attorney, and this is an important case."
"I'm part of this group
even though I'm not a named defendant,
and I need you to do this."
So she did. She said yes. Eventually.
Jo-Anne Wolfson, unlike some
of the others who seemed to want us
to make a big political statement,
maybe get to the Supreme Court with us,
Jo-Anne just wanted to get us off.
We were all kind of in sync on that.
Jo-Anne was a great choice
because she had a big mouth,
she didn't take crap from anybody.
She represented the Black Panthers,
so she wasn't afraid of politics
and she also wasn't afraid
of the authorities.
This is what she looked like
the day she came to court for us.
She was wearing canary yellow pants,
a canary yellow sleeveless sweater,
she was carrying a canary yellow
patent leather briefcase.
I don't remember the shoes,
And she had silver bangles.
This is a white woman with a deep tan,
silver bangles on her arms
and from her ears.
And she talked like God.
She was so smart and so sharp,
and she looked like that.
It was fabulous.
Jo-Anne was aware
that Roe v. Wade was being considered
by the Supreme Court.
So, she stalled.
She made garden-variety motions.
Motion to dismiss,
supplemental motion to dismiss.
They'd have to be briefed
and responded to and replied to.
All of which took time.
And so delay, delay, delay.
And that, to me, was the perfect strategy.
January of '73, there it was.
Good evening. In a landmark ruling,
the Supreme Court
today legalized abortions.
The majority,
in cases from Texas and Georgia,
said that the decision to end a pregnancy
during the first three months
belongs to the woman and her doctor,
not the government.
Thus, the anti-abortion laws of 46 states
were rendered unconstitutional.
It was a hallelujah.
Abortion would be legal and safe
throughout the United States
for women and girls.
Truly amazing.
January 22nd, 1973, will stand
out as one of the great days
for freedom and free choice.
This allows a woman free choice
as to whether or not to remain pregnant.
This is extraordinary.
The overwhelming majority
of the Supreme Court
was in support of women's rights to
decide when or whether to have a child.
I remember just feeling like...
"Finally," feeling a sigh of relief.
We were thrilled,
and we thought it was over, you know?
Who knew what would be...
What would follow?
But we thought, "We won!"
You know, it was over
and it was no longer our responsibility.
I'm glad we could help them,
but they shouldn't have had
to go through it.
That's how I feel.
When the decision came down,
Jo-Anne Wolfson contacted
the district attorney
and the charges were dropped.
It was joyous. My friends
weren't gonna go off to prison.
Oh, we were just so relieved.
We're just so relieved.
We were really ordinary women
and we were trying
to save women's lives.
We wanted every woman
who contacted us to be the...
the hero of her own story.
I mean, we felt such agency.
And we felt so empowered
by saying, "We're going to do this."
So, we wanted to share that,
that sense of personal power,
with women who weren't supposed to feel
a whole lot of powerfulness
in their own lives.
We decided that that would be it.
And then we went on
to the rest of our lives.
You know, we came together
to do something at a time
that it was most needed.
We did it.
And then it was time to do
something else. We were done.
So, goodbye, Jane.