Jane collective members tell their stories in film

  • Directors Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes and film participants Heather Booth and Judith Arcana attend a Q&A after the virtual premiere of "The Janes," an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

    Directors Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes and film participants Heather Booth and Judith Arcana attend a Q&A after the virtual premiere of "The Janes," an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of the Sundance Institute

 
 
Updated 5/12/2022 12:08 PM

The story of the Jane collective that ran an under-the-radar abortion service for women in the Chicago area before Roe v. Wade is getting new exposure 50 years after police arrested its members.

A U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion indicating justices will overturn the pivotal 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion was leaked May 2.

 

Converging with the resulting furor is the release of a documentary about the female activists -- many of them students -- who helped thousands of pregnant women secure abortions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

"The Janes," a new HBO Documentary Films production directed by Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes, will be screened May 17 at the Davis Theater, 4614 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. For details, visit doc10.org/the-janes.

HBO will air the film in June.

Jane operations were raided by Chicago police on May 3, 1972.

In a recent interview with The Washington Post, the directors noted that although the timing of the film is perfect, abortion rights have been "chipped away" for years.

However, "a lot of the Janes have told us that if it weren't for what's happening now, they may not have spoken for the cameras and put their names behind this," Lessin said.

• Daily Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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