This past week I published a column revealing what our likely post-Roe future will look like by using El Salvador — a country with a total abortion ban and which criminalizes obstetric emergencies like miscarriages and still births — as a case study. (Read the article in the Bucks County Courier Times, The Intelligencer, or sans paywall at Common Dreams.)
This is a war on women, plain and simple. Their bodies are the battleground and their freedom and human rights are at stake. If the far-right gets its way, women will cede their liberty upon conception and become wards of the state.
However, all of this is what life was like pre-Roe as well. At the end of my column I mentioned the Jane Collective, a clandestine group which ran an underground network to help women with unwanted pregnancies before 1973. I was able to track down a “Jane” and we are scheduled to talk next week for an in-depth interview exclusively for this newsletter.
She helped thousands of women and girls get safe illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade. As a result, she lost her tenured teaching job, something that happened to many other teachers across the country for committing “various kinds of disrespect for tradition and law,” such as fighting for reproductive rights, civil rights, or engaging in anti-war activism. She, along with six other “Janes,” were also arrested by Chicago police in 1972.
“Jane,” whose identity I will reveal with the interview (to be published after the New Year), has lived an extraordinary life of activism, writing, and dedication to reproductive justice. And her story and experiences, I believe, will help underscore the urgency of the moment we find ourselves in and lay bare what’s at stake. We will take a look backward in order to look forward.
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Thanks for reading! I look forward to your feedback and suggestions. And most importantly, keep organizing!