JANE was a group of women who got together before abortion was legal and referred women to people who did illegal abortions. When they found out that the “doctor” they were referring women to was not a real doctor, they decided that since he had no training but was doing abortions, they could do abortions too. Without training, except for observing their non-doctor abort some women, they committed abortions on hundreds of women. Members of JANE claimed that they had very few botched abortions (one woman did die) but they didn’t follow the cases of the women after they left, meaning that many of the women may have developed problems later.
In this quote, former former JANE member Judith Arcana claims that many people knew what they were doing, including police.
“Everybody seemed to know what we were doing. Police department employees came to us, police officers’ wives, daughters and mistresses came to us. Politicians’ wives, daughters and mistresses came to us (no local politicians were women in those days, and virtually no police officers either). Our abortion service was an open secret. In those days, like smoking dope. prostitution and many other illegal activities, abortion was known about and accepted.”
Judith Arcana ““Feminist politics and abortion in the US,” Psychology and Reproductive Choice
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