The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service

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.
The Story of Jane The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service 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 t

  • Title: The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service
  • Author: Laura Kaplan
  • ISBN: 9780679420125
  • Page: 238
  • Format: Hardcover
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    1 thought on “The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service”

    1. A study of the Chicago abortion underground in the 1960s and 70s, written by an actual member of Jane. Jane started in the 60s as a referral service. A loose collection of women referred desperate women to abortionists that had better reputations than most: less likely to require sex or to accidentally kill you. As word about Jane grew and they kept getting calls, the group became more organized. They allowed other women to join them, they split into specialized roles (although everyone rotated) [...]

    2. SO good. A great account of the often silent (or at least quiet) history of the incredible Chicago-based group that provided illegal/extralegal abortions in the few years before Roe. A little lacking in the critique of the "other part" of the choice debates (i.e. the forced/coerced sterilizations of w.o.c.); Kaplan had the perfect opportunity to address this when she discussed the post-abortion check-ups that the women received - where the women were offered birth control methods, both temporary [...]

    3. As a student at the U of Chicago in the 1960s and as a participant in The Movement, I was acquainted with several of the women who worked in Jane. It was necessary that as few people as possible know any details, so I knew no details of this wonderful organization until I read this book in late middle age. The most important lesson of this book is articulated in the last paragraph: "We in Jane learned that social change is not a gift given by leaders and heroes, but is accomplished by ordinary p [...]

    4. This book blew me away.I got it at the Spring '09 Friends of the Library booksale, but I didn't start reading it until the day Dr. George Tiller (RIP) was murdered (May 31, 2009).This book tell the story of Jane, the underground, feminist abortion service that happened in Chicago in the years prior to Roe v. Wade, when abortion was still illegal in Illinois (and most other states). It was written by a woman who was actually involved in the service.The service started as a way to help women get i [...]

    5. What these women did when they saw a need is one of the most astounding stories of courage and brilliance I've come across. The care they took, the lengths they went to, how they evolved—stunning. Jane, a core groups of about 25 - 30 women, existed for just four years, and in that time it's estimated that Jane changed for the better the lives of over 11,000 women while at the same time literally saving their lives—from the hands of butchers in a time with abortion was illegal—and how they [...]

    6. 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 abo [...]

    7. I wish all of us born after Roe v. Wade & the publication of Our Bodies, Ourselves could read these vivid descriptions of life without legal birth control, basic knowledge of the reproductive system & safe, affordable abortions. The Story of Jane tells how the underground organization in Chicago code named "Jane" developed from a service that brokered abortions to becoming a group of lay-women performing abortions to cut costs & control the experience. It details how they hid their i [...]

    8. "Control was the key. It was a lesson Jenny had learned from her own struggle to get the sterilization and abortion she desperately needed. She had come out of her own abortion with loose, unchanneled anger, and the discussions Claire led had given her a framework through which to understand it. But she took what she learned from Claire one step further. It wasn’t enough to locate and refer women to competent doctors willing to perform abortions. The group had to be able to call the shots and [...]

    9. Let me tell you, this book was… WOW. As the title suggests, Jane is the name for the underground abortion service in Chicago that served thousands of women before abortion became legal in 1973. Jane members risked going to jail (and some did get in some legal trouble at one point) in order to provide abortions to desperate women who might otherwise resort to terrifyingly dangerous means to end their pregnancies. Jane counselors took the time to explain the entire procedure with women during a [...]

    10. To love this book like I did, you must be down with its politics: women have the right to access abortion. Full stop. The women profiled in "The Story of Jane" took on an incredible amount of risk to help women exert control over their lives at a time when both law and culture prevented them from accessing abortion. I fully support that, so I loved this book. It's an inspiring. moving, and terrifying account of how a group of dedicated women came together to challenge laws by arranging and perfo [...]

    11. (I tried posting this shortly after I read it but it came up as a comment, not a review. So - I'm reposting it here.)Finally finished this. I'm so glad to be a part of this pro-choice book club. This book is about an abortion service known as Jane in the years before Roe v Wade which was entirely operated by women. Women even learned to provide the abortions themselves. Being someone who works somewhat closely to abortion services, I found the dynamic between the abortion providers and the women [...]

    12. This is an incredibly interesting book, particularly because all the questions that Jane faced as a radical feminist organization are the same questions feminists are asking today. Can a group get things done efficiently without relying on hierarchies? Are power struggles inevitable? How do personality conflicts between members affect the work?Theoretically I am 100% behind Jane's actions. But I still felt uneasy reading about women with limited medical training providing abortions. Uneasy and a [...]

    13. Kaplan, a former Jane member, tells the story of the Chicago group's formation in 1969 through the time Roe v. Wade was implemented in 1973. The group started out as an abortion referral service, offering counseling to the women they helped, but by 1973 they had advanced to the point of having some members perform abortions and induce miscarriages themselves, instead of relying on outside sources.As someone who grew up long after this fight was being fought, this was a very good memoir-style boo [...]

    14. This book was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I've been looking for a book like this for a while--something that could connect me to some of the woman-centered organizing that was happening in the late 60s/early 70s. I had so many emotional reactions to this book--hope, sadness, anger, empowerment. I was impressed by how the book connected to other woman's rights/feminist movements that were happening simultaneously, as well as how it addressed the ways in which this particular group could be very Eurocentric, c [...]

    15. I wasn't really sure what I was going to get out of this book, since (as a radical feminist) I didn't need to be won over to the necessity of access to abortion. But I couldn't put this book down! The writing was a little dry and a little optimistic, but still: the story of women coming together to take control of their lives and their bodies, the power dynamics of any large group, and how these women dealt with men and the law was really fascinating.

    16. I picked up this book because I am politically pro-choice and was interested in how women obtained abortions pre-Roe, however, the most striking take-away for me was how the women of Jane were empowered to organize, lead, and provide medical service and fill a need that was so needed in their community. These women worked themselves to exhaustion, at great legal risk - and ultimately I was more captivated by why each women participated and served.

    17. Fascinating. A little slow to begin with (or maybe I was just sleepy that day), but once it got going was hard to put down. Important reading for anyone involved with reproductive freedom and/or feminism.

    18. For anybody who needs a reason to reminded why abortion should always be legal this is the book. A reminder of what could be again.

    19. This book is probably the most biased nonfiction work I've read in a while. It doesn't claim to be unbiased, but the nature of the bias really shows in some key areas. The author clearly has an agenda, and that agenda really got in the way of clear reporting at times. -The Jane workers believe (in theory, it turns out, more than practice) that the MOST important thing is to never lie to women, yet they balk at the idea of telling women that the man performing the abortions is not a doctor (this [...]

    20. An astonishing account of front line activism when abortion was illegal. From 1969 to 1973, a small network of women in Chicago, known collectively as Jane, first counseled and connected women to doctors who could perform safe and affordable abortions and then later performed abortions themselves. They served over 11,000 women before disbanding upon the advent of Roe v. Wade.I was gripped from the very start, and even though the text got repetitive and the accounts of infighting were sometimes d [...]

    21. This book describes very well, about what women had to do to obtain an abortion.You will find resources at the end of this book, the concern women’s health and well-being.Readers will be able to find this book on the Bookshare site.

    22. Bottom line: Jane is one of, if not THE most badass group of women to ever exist. My first thought was how amazing and terrifying it must have felt to be a member of Jane, and how curious and almost jealous I was about that experience. My second, more unsettling thought was about how we, as a country, very well might be entering into an era where groups like Jane become necessary again. All in all, I closed this book with such a sense of sisterhood and the idea that no matter what legislation ma [...]

    23. Enjoyed this in a very different way than I was expecting - more melodrama, less historical non-fiction. A huge part of the book was about the relationships and interpersonal dynamics of the members of Jane.I almost quit the book partway through the introduction, which was filled with phrases like "In picking up the tools of our own liberation" and compared Jane to the Underground Railroad. I guess I am fortunate enough to have always lived in a time and place where neither the government nor th [...]

    24. A searing history lesson on feminists' struggle to make abortion safe, even when it was illegal. Jane went from tracking down a man willing to break the law and always more concerned with protecting himself and getting paid, to performing abortions on their own and protecting their patients from harm. this book also shows the difficulty and disagreements that come with helping women and building a medical establishment that values them as whole people. Anyone who even thinks going back to pre-Ro [...]

    25. This was a fascinating look what life was like for many women pre Roe v Wade. It was also a look into an organization that wanted to not only help woman, but impact their lives in a meaningful way long after their pregnancy was dealt with. It introduced hundreds, if not thousands, of women to feminism and educated them about their bodies, and birth-control. Jane tried to provide as much power and knowledge to the women they interacted with as possible. This was truly an inspiring and educational [...]

    26. wow. lots of details on how the organizing unfolded, how the people involved were drawn in, strengths and weaknesses.ending is a telling commentary on the contrast between jane and medical establishment control of abortion after it was legalized (expensive, and objectifying of women). contrasts the spirit of a grassroots woman-controlled health movement that sought give women power over their healthcare with professionalization in doctors' interests -- reinforcing doctors' rights over knowledge [...]

    27. This book was the feminist kick-in-the-pants I needed this week. It is both inspiring and cautionary. And beware, because when you finish you may start googling menstrual extraction workshops or pregnancy release options or how to obtain ulcer drugs without a prescription. Or maybe sign up as a clinic defender for your local PP, because Goddamnit! we deserve access to basic healthcare that is affordable and compassionate and competent.

    28. Wonderful book. I felt that the focus on what the medical profession should provide to women was extremely compelling. Health care should be in the hands of every woman and not handed down to her. I loved how honest the book was about the internal struggles of the group. I also thought the story of how the group evolved was fascinating. The thought I take away most from the book is that a woman's body must never be an object for law, politics, or medicine but we must emphasize and encourage ever [...]

    29. Another inspirational bit of history. Before abortion was legalized, these women were providing it safely, with care, done by themselves, and cheap or even free at times!What started out as a referal service ended up being a successful abortion service provided by a handful of ladies in Chicago and they provided some 11,000 abortions within 4 years.Another example of what people can do when they stop caring about what the law says and take matters into their own hands.

    30. I wanted to love this, but really this book desperately needed an editor to force a more coherent story. The repetition of things, sometimes only sentences apart was driving me crazy. That being said, the story itself is interesting and should be better known.

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