Code name Jane: The women behind a covert abortion network


And so she called the network, whose founders announced: “We are for” everyone Wife has as many children as you want, when She wants, if She wants.”

The Janes’ tactics were worthy of a spy novel. A woman trying to end her pregnancy left a message on an answering machine. A “Callback Jane” called her, collected information and passed it on to a “Big Jane”. The patients would first be brought to one address, “the front”, for advice. They were then taken, sometimes blindfolded, to another location, “the place” where a doctor performed the abortion.

That is, if he was actually a doctor. It turned out that at least one abortion specialist, while experienced enough, wasn’t a doctor, just someone looking for money. Some of the Janes, Ms. Kaplan said, thought that if he could, they could too. And they did, for a lot less. The man’s current rate rose to as high as $ 1,000 in the early 1970s, which is around $ 6,500 today. The Janes lowered the price to $ 100 and accepted less when the woman was low on money.

In 1972, Chicago police raided an apartment used by the Janes and arrested seven of them. In the police car, the women tore off the index cards with the names and addresses of their patients and swallowed them.

Everything changed, however, on January 22nd, 1973 when the Supreme Court took its place Judgment in Roe v. calf. The charges against the Janes have been dropped. The network soon dissolved. With abortion now legal nationwide, it seemed to make no sense.

But the political, cultural and religious wars over abortion are not over yet. Roe v. Wade were steadily chopped off by state laws that prohibit the procedure after a certain number of weeks or prescribe mandatory waiting times or effectively prohibit the online purchase of misoprostol and mifepristone. Most states require that a licensed doctor prescribe the medication. Many insist that a doctor be physically present when the medication is taken, an assignment that can get into trouble for rural women, for example, who live far from abortion providers.

Despite such obstacles, do-it-yourself efforts persist. In 2015 alone, Google had more than 700,000 searches for self-induced abortions, many of them for opportunities to “buy abortion pills online”.

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