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The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service

by Laura Kaplan

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236782,514 (4.25)1
An extraordinary history by one of its members, this is the first account of Jane's evolution, the conflicts within the group, and the impact its work had both on the women it helped and the members themselves. This book stands as a compelling testament to a woman's most essential freedom--control over her own body--and to the power of women helping women.… (more)
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An exciting and informative read from start to finish, Jane is the story of an underground feminist abortion referral service which moved to providing abortions themselves four years before Roe v Wade. The book is based on interviews with many people who participated in the group, all woven into an engaging story. The way the book was written made me invested in the people and what they were doing - from running from a police raid to the excitement and tension of moving from a referral to an abortion provision service to the stress, frustration and will to survive coming out of their encounters with the state.

On top of the story itself, I found some of the most thought-provoking parts of the book to be when the author examines instances of group dynamics and practice in an intentionally non-hierarchical setting. Much like groups that I've been involved with, the group featured in the book experiences issues with informal leadership, skill sharing, burnout, and racial inclusion/exclusion. I found it fascinating to hear how these dynamics played out and changed over time and with the different circumstances encountered by the group. ( )
  2dgirlsrule | Jul 12, 2020 |
I love how so many of the pitfalls of the birth control debate are confronted head-on with really great political analysis: how it rubs elbows with eugenicists and population control assholes, the inability for white women to get birth control contrasted with the forced sterilization of women of color, the inaccessibility of the civil rights vision of feminism, etc. etc. ( )
  magonistarevolt | May 7, 2020 |
Jane was an underground abortion network made up of women’s liberation activists which was active in the Chicago area in the years immediately prior to the Roe v. Wade decision. The Story of Jane is an examination of this amazing example of grassroots organising, written by one of the women involved. More than once I was astounded by the things the members of Jane were willing to do in order to make safe abortions available to as many women as possible, and by their logistical savvy. This is essential reading for anyone looking to understand the history of feminism and the struggle for reproductive rights. My hope is that it won’t become essential reading for American women who find themselves needing to rebuild Jane in the near future. ( )
  siriaeve | Aug 25, 2019 |
This is the true story of the underground abortion group from the late 60s, early 70s called Jane. In a time before abortion was made legal by Roe vs. Wade, women had nowhere to turn if they found themselves with an unwanted pregnancy. The women in Jane wanted to help these women and promote a feminist movement at the same time. The wanted to have control of their own lives and their own bodies, and not have the government dictate what they could/could not do with a private matter. By the time Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal, Jane had helped several thousand women get health care they could not have gotten without this group.



I know this is a controversial issue, and no matter which side you stand on - this was a good book. It has a lot of good points about the way women were treated mid-century and how we are still fighting a lot of battles still today. It took a group of women to say "no more" to make changes in this country in relation to women and their bodies. You simply cannot shut out people because you feel differently than they do - there are two sides to every story. It was a good book and told well. You saw the positive aspects of the group, but also the side where many women came and went from the group over the years due to changes in the hierarchy.



Worth a read - check it out. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Riveting, essential, and a must-read regardless of one's stance on abortion (including, whether one views abortion as a medical, legal, human rights, or religious matter). It might not change minds, but it will definitely inform one's arguments. Also a brilliant examination of women's rights, grassroots organizing, social mores, and a critique of the medical establishment--all in the form of an engrossing and well-written true-life thriller. Not that many people have to the courage to truly stand for their beliefs and genuinely put their lives on the lines for strangers in such dramatic fashion. Kaplan's account is non-assuming, but these women's actions were heroic. ( )
  mpho3 | Apr 1, 2018 |
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An extraordinary history by one of its members, this is the first account of Jane's evolution, the conflicts within the group, and the impact its work had both on the women it helped and the members themselves. This book stands as a compelling testament to a woman's most essential freedom--control over her own body--and to the power of women helping women.

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