Abortion Was Illegal. This Secret Group Defied the Law

The Supreme Court has reversed Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion. We tell the story of the Jane Collective, which provided thousands of illegal abortions from 1969 to 1973.

Using tactics worthy of a spy novel, the Jane Collective carried out thousands of abortions in Chicago from 1969 to 1973. A woman seeking to end her pregnancy could leave a message on an answering machine. A “Callback Jane” phoned her, collected information and passed it to a “Big Jane.” Patients would be taken first to one address, “the front,” for counseling. They were then led, sometimes blindfolded, to another spot, “the place,” where an abortion was performed.

  • Producer: Miriam Weintraub
  • Producer: Jennifer Oko
  • Editor: Sandrine Isambert
  • Associate Producer: Meral Agish