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International Women’s Day—Read an Excerpt of ‘The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service’

March 8, 2019
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International Women’s Day—Read an Excerpt of ‘The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service’

Before abortion’s legalization, most women with unwanted pregnancies were forced to turn to illegal, unregulated, and expensive abortionists. But in Chicago, those who could discover the organization code-named “Jane” found at least some level of protection and financial help. Laura Kaplan, who joined Jane in 1971, has pieced together the histories of those who broke the law in Hyde Park to help care for thousands of women in what they called the Abortion Counseling Service of Women’s Liberation. The women of Jane transformed an illegal procedure from a dangerous, sordid experience into one that was life-affirming and powerful. First published in 1995, Kaplan’s history of Jane remains relevant today—with abortion rights once again in the crosshairs in the United States, while draconian measures already make abortions functionally inaccessible to many. Read on for an excerpt from chapter two of the new publication of Kaplan’s groundbreaking text. Population control groups with an ominous eugenics slant joined the ranks of those lobbying for reform. They raised the specter of a dangerous global population explosion among the poor. In that view women were again, as in the medical model, the objects, not the subjects, of the abortion debate. Since their arguments supported the . . .

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