The Janes begins with an interviewee telling us something that many probably never considered. She’s speaking of a time in the 1960s in which she had to get an abortion and had to go through the Mafia for services. And it made sense. If the Mafia could make a dollar and a cent off something illegal, why wouldn’t they offer to perform abortions.
But, with anything connected to the mob, it’s not pretty. The horrifying stories of how women were left bleeding in scuzzy motel rooms has been around for years. But when you hear it up front from someone who experienced it, it hits harder. And the way they talk about how they were treated is terrifying. Imagine being in a motel where no one knows where you are with some mobsters who may or may not sexually assault you and take your money and your life.
Many conservatives probably have this outrageous idea of women who are pro-choice as skanky hos with armpit hair and tattoos all over their bodies as well as any part they can pierced. That’s not actually the case. Many women I know (and probably you do too) are just as “average” as you and the rest of the women out there who resemble Karen Pence and Candice Cameron Bure. The documentary on HBO shows just how little we’ve come in the last 50-60 years especially with the revelation earlier this year that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.
The timing for The Janes couldn’t be more meaningful. We’re still blaming women for getting pregnant but not looking at the men who got them pregnant. We’re still blaming women for being sexually assaulted without looking at the men who commit it. Most of the women at the center of The Janes couldn’t get a credit card in their names, much less birth control medicine. They speak of a trick of buying cheap ring bands from drug stores to put on their left hand ring fingers to make the pharmacy think they are married.
The Jane Collective with the advertising around the Chicago area informing people to Call Jane helped over 11,000 women to safely have an abortion from people who showed compassion and empathy. One interviewee says she was raised around the Catholic Church and school and had only known women who were hostile and mean to young girls and young women. Why do we always shame girls for the way they dress but don’t shame boys for the way they talk about girls?
I don’t want to give too much away. Directors Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes know how to just let the women tell their stories. The irony is the people who need to listen to their stories won’t. And some people will consider this more “leftist woke” propaganda. It isn’t. We’re living in an era where a majority of people are now pro-choice. Yet for political reasons, the right want it overturned. That’s propaganda.
What do you think? Please comment.