Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Jane


Jane, an underground abortion service in the years immediately preceding the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, is an example of radical feminist initiative and alternative-institution building in the early years of the women's liberation movement. The project started as an abortion referral service in 1969 linked to a Chicago consciousness-raising group. Because abortions were illegal, Jane developed elaborate mechanisms to maintain secrecy and confidentiality while also providing follow-up support. To gain greater control over the process and ensure women's health and safety, they ultimately learned to administer the abortions themselves and provided more than 11,000 illegal abortions (with a safety record equal to that of the best hospitals ) until the Supreme Court decision made their service unnecessary.

Kaplan, Laura. The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service. 1995.