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The story of an underground network of abortion activists, THE JANES, on Binge

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The Janes, directed by Oscar® nominee Tia Lessin (Trouble the Water) and Emmy® nominee Emma Pildes (Jane Fonda in Five Acts), will premiere on BINGE on June 9th. The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2022.

In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on Chicago’s South Side, arresting seven women who were part of a secret network. The accused had created an underground network for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions by using code names, fronts, and safe houses to protect themselves and their work. They went by the name “Jane.”

Offering first-hand accounts from the women at the centre 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 in the U.S. 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 film offers an extremely timely portrait of the Janes and a stark reminder of a time in the U.S. before the constitutional right to abortion was affirmed with reproductive rights in the headlines and indications that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade in an upcoming decision.

The film includes stirring accounts from the women who received abortions from the secret organisation and the women at the center of “Jane,” including Heather Booth, Judith Arcana, Marie Leaner, Diane Stevens, Eleanor Oliver, and more, as well as insights from lawyers, doctors and others who reflect on the era, including a man who performed abortions and went on to teach The Janes how to perform the procedures themselves.

HBO Documentary Films presents a Pentimento Production. Directed by Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes; produced by Emma Pildes, Daniel Arcana, and Jessica Levin; executive produced by Susan Lacy. For HBO: senior producer, Sara Rodriguez; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.

The Janes Premieres 9 June 2022 on Binge