A group of undercover women in Chicago, Illinois illegally operated a covert abortion network for years in the 1960s and early 70s, skirting the then-federal ban on abortion by discreetly sending messages to one another about abortion services.
“Pregnant? Don’t want to be? Call Jane,” read a 1969 newspaper advertisement from the “Jane Collective,” The New York Times reported Sunday.
Formerly known as the Abortion Counseling Service of Women’s Liberation, the Jane Collective helped women have abortions before Roe V. Wade made it legal in 1973.
“We are for every woman having exactly as many children as she wants, when she wants, if she wants,” read the founders’ motto, according to The NYT.
Roe v. Wade gave women the permission to abort until the point of viability, noting that viability typically occurs somewhere between 24 and 28 weeks. Viability refers to the point at which an unborn baby can live outside of the womb. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized in 1994’s Casey v. Planned Parenthood that viability can occur at or before 23 weeks.
University of Chicago student Heather Booth founded the organization in 1969 after she helped a friend’s sister illegally abort. “I viewed it not as breaking the law but as acting on the Golden Rule. Someone was in anguish, and I tried to help her,” Booth said, The NYT reported in April 2017.
The group operated their network by posting a phone number to call in newspapers, after which a “callback Jane” would talk to the women seeking abortions and transfer them to a “big Jane” who would organize where and when the abortion would occur. Women were often blindfolded before being taken to the abortion site to ensure they would be unable to disclose any locations to authorities, according to the NYT.
Click Like if you are pro-life to like the LifeNews Facebook page and receive the latest pro-life news.
The organization started as an abortion referral service but soon transformed into a full fledged abortion service, according to author Laura Kaplan who wrote, “The Story of Jane” in 1995 detailing the group’s activities.
After the group’s leaders discovered that some of the doctors they were using to perform abortions weren’t actually trained, the organization’s women decided to do the abortions themselves. “You’re going to wind up in jail,” one member’s husband warned, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Chicago police raided one of the abortion sites in 1972 and arrested seven women who had been performing abortions. The police repeatedly ask where the doctors were, astounded that “the Jane Seven” had been aborting babies, The NYT reported.
The women were indicted by a grand jury but escaped going to trial after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973.
A Guttmacher Institute February 2018 report found that there were over 200,000 searches on Google in May 2017 related to self-induced abortions.
Roughly 700,000 women also googled how to self-induce an abortion in 2015, according to research from data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, according to ABC News. Those searches included phrases like “buy abortion pills online” and “free abortion pills,” according to The New York Times.
LifeNews Note: Grace Carr writes for Daily Caller. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience.