The Jane Collective: Background information when reading All You Have to Do Is Call

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All You Have to Do Is Call

by Kerri Maher

All You Have to Do Is Call by Kerri Maher X
All You Have to Do Is Call by Kerri Maher
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    Sep 2023, 368 pages


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The Jane Collective

This article relates to All You Have to Do Is Call

Kerri Maher's novel All You Have to Do Is Call fictionalizes the story of the real-life Jane Collective, an underground abortion network that operated in Chicago during the late 1960s and early '70s before abortion was legalized with the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973. The organization was founded by Heather Booth, who as a college student in 1965 arranged a connection between a friend's sister who needed an abortion and the physician (and civil rights leader) T.R.M. Howard, who was able to perform the service. Booth and Howard continued working together to provide women with abortions, and this arrangement expanded into a larger system that became the Jane Collective.

The collective was run by volunteer activists, called Janes. As abortions were illegal, frequently dangerous and surrounded by a harsh stigma, those seeking them often had questions and fears. The Jane Collective not only put people needing abortions in touch with physicians, but provided counseling and support to...

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