The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service / Edition 2by Laura Kaplan
Pub. Date: 06/28/1997
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
"In the four years before the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, most women determined to get abortions had to subject themselves to the power of illegal, unregulated abortionists...But a Chicago woman who happened to stumble across a secret organization code-named 'Jane' had an alternative. Laura Kaplan, who joined Jane in 1971, has pieced together the… See more details below
"In the four years before the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, most women determined to get abortions had to subject themselves to the power of illegal, unregulated abortionists...But a Chicago woman who happened to stumble across a secret organization code-named 'Jane' had an alternative. Laura Kaplan, who joined Jane in 1971, has pieced together the histories of the anonymous (here identified only by pseudonyms), average-sounding women who transformed themselves into outlaws."—Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The Story of Jane is a piece of women's history in step with feminist theory demanding that women tell their own stories. It serves to remind people of an important and often overlooked moment in the women's rights movement."—Seattle Weekly
"Laura Kaplan's The Story of Jane is the first book to chronicle this controversial sliver of history, and it is a fascinating, if partisan, close-up of the group."—Newsday
"[Kaplan] draws on her personal recollections and interviews with Jane members and clients and the doctors who performed the abortions to provide a well-written, detailed history of this radical group."—Publisher's Weekly
"Weaving together the voices and memories of her former co-workers, Kaplan recounts how the group initially focused on counseling women and helping them find reliable, reasonably priced doctors....Kaplan's account of this remarkable story recaptures the political idealism of the early '70s...23 years after Roe vs. Wade, the issues and memories raised by the books are close and all too relevant."—K Kaufmann, San Francisco Chronicle
"Laura Kaplan's The Story of Jane is the first book to chronicle this controversial sliver of history, and it is a fascinating, if partisan, close-up of the group....The Story of Jane succeeds on the steam of Kaplan's gripping subject and her moving belief in the power of small-scale change."—Cynthia Leive, New York Newsday
"During the four years before the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion in 1973, the 100 members of Jane helped some 11,000 women end their pregnancies....There is more in this remarkable book that will further raise eyebrows....Kaplan's engrossing tales of the quiet courage of the women who risked their reputations and freedom to help others may remind many readers of other kinds of outlaws who have resisted tyranny throughout history."—Chicago Sun-Times
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Not only an excellent account of the underground organization known as JANE, but it is written in such a fast-paced way that many young readers, both male and female will find it accessible and hard to put down. In these days when the rule of Christian Fascism is a distinct possibility of turning this country into a fundamentalist, Handmaid's Tale-like theocracy, the lessons and the dedication of these women should be looked to and wrangled with in understanding the coming possibly very dark days ahead.
I thought this book was amazing, not only because it seems accurate, but because it was inspiring as well. Access to an abortion is still very limited, and stories like this one may motivate people to change that. It is always refreshing to hear how things were before Roe, and how important it is that the status quo is at least maintained, if not expanded. I really, really, really recommend this book!
Laura Kaplan tells the inside story of 'Jane,' a feminist criminal abortion syndicate run in Chicago in the late 1960s. Although she peers through the rosy lenses of hindsight, Kaplan gives us a much-needed refresher from the greasy-old-man-with-a-coathanger stories that are presented as typical of pre-legalization abortion. Although her characterization of some events, such as the Philadelphia Mothers Day fiasco of 1972, casts a shadow on her reliability as a thorough reporter, Kaplan nevertheless shows a side of criminal abortion most prochoicers need to see.