At a time when the right to an abortion is at risk for millions of Americans, HBO has shared the trailer for The Janes. The Janes is an upcoming documentary about a covert operation led by a group of women in Chicago to provide abortions prior to the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.
The official logline for the film reads:
In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on the South Side of Chicago where seven women who were part of a clandestine network were arrested. Using code names, fronts, and safe houses to protect themselves and their work, the accused had built an underground network for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions. They called themselves “Jane.” Offering first-hand accounts from the women at the center of the group, many speaking on the record for the first time, The Janes tells the revelatory story of a group of unlikely outlaws. Defying the state legislature that outlawed abortion, the Catholic Church that condemned it, and the Chicago Mob that was profiting from it, the members of “Jane” risked their personal and professional lives to support women with unwanted pregnancies. In the pre-Roe v. Wade era—a time when abortion was a crime in most states and even circulating information about abortion was a felony in Illinois—the Janes provided low-cost and free abortions to an estimated 11,000 women.
The trailer for the timely documentary lays the scene of an America that denied women the sacred right to maintain control over their lives and their bodies. We meet the collective of women who all worked under the pseudonym “Jane,” and helped provide low-cost or free abortions to women no matter their situations. We also see a harrowing situation that politicians in present-day America threaten to repeat.
The Janes is directed by Oscar-nominee Tia Lessin (Trouble the Water) and Emmy-nominee Emma Pildes (Jane Fonda In Five Acts). The two recently commented on the ongoing efforts by the Supreme Court to over Roe v. Wade and the impact they hope the documentary has on viewers.
“We want young women and men to see this film and hear these women’s stories,” Pildes tells Variety. “They tell you what this country looks like when women don’t have the right to make this decision for themselves in vivid detail. That’s a pretty powerful thing. We hope that it contributes to the conversation and gives some clarity and some humanity to the human beings who are going to suffer and die because of these (new) laws.”
The Janes premieres on HBO and HBO Max on June 8.