Jane, Chicago Women's Liberation Union, Chicago discussed on Today, Explained

Today, Explained


Picture in because I've got a tape down the back. Thank you. Two pieces of it. Oh, there it is. All right. This is the brochure. This is how dumb we are. We would run these off. This was runoff on a resistance press. The guy had a printing press set up in the basement of an old an old house on the campus of the University of Chicago. And he was down there all day long running stuff. We must have printed millions of these things. Okay, let's see, what's the title there? Abortion, a woman's decision, a woman's right, and there's a whole philosophy. A lot of pros. And here a lot of graphics, just the text. It's just an 8 and a half by 11 inch piece of paper folded into four sides, and here it is Chicago women's liberation union, and there's their address. The abortion counseling service. That was the official name, abortion counseling service, but everyone came to know them by another. There were no cell phones in those days. There were just land lines. So we were meeting in my house and I said, well, you can use our phone, but you know I don't want to have our personal calls get mixed up with the service calls. So why don't we say call this number and ask for Jane? And I didn't know anybody named Jane. And I thought nobody was named Jane anymore. 6 four three three 8 four four. Who picked up the phone? Usually I did. It was you. Well, my husband, if my husband was a home alone, he would pick it up because he was home all day working on his dissertation. You're saying that was your phone number. That was my phone number. That was our phone number, yeah. That was, that was in our apartment. For all you folks in Chicago, 5700 block of kimbark street. So you handed out, it sounds like tons of these things in Chicago. Whenever we had to speak out on a woman's issue, we brought along whole stack of them. We had stacks of these in the dormitories. There were several rather liberal churches. Oh, so we had a little stack of them in the narthex of the church. And so was your phone ringing all day or how often did you get calls? Oh, we got a lot of calls. If not at first, it took a while for things to get picked to pick up. And if you pick it up and they ask for land or Eleanor, well, we knew it was a personal call. Or they said, I'd like to speak with Jane, please. I'll take your name and number and I'll have her call you, or I'll have one of her contacts call you. And then we would write those down on three by 5 cards. We would have a meeting. We would pass out these three by 5 cards. And I would take, you know, people that I thought I could counsel or people that were nearby or people that I could meet with. Or could relate to one of them was a policewoman from Chicago. I took a lot of the middle aged women because I was one of the older older counselors. And I was married and a lot of the counselors were graduate students and undergraduate students. Everybody took people that they thought they could. Although this person lives in my dorm or I don't want to do this person because I know her and I don't think she wants me to know that that kind of thing, you know. And they had to trust us. We had an abortionist. We knew he was not a real doctor. He was just a nice guy. And he Mike, Mike, was his name. I think he probably learned how to perform abortions either as a medic in the military. There were a lot of people. I guess that needed abortions or who had girlfriends who needed abortions when they were in the military. I don't know. I have never been in the military. How many years does this go on for? We left Chicago in 19 72, early 1972, and the day we drove out of Chicago was a Saturday, I believe. It seems to me it was a Saturday. Maybe it wasn't. They were raided and busted. So, by whom? By the point. Sorry, you mean the police because the abortion counseling service that James were rated and busted. Because somebody complained and the police, they didn't bother them because they weren't hurting anybody. We weren't hurting anybody. We weren't making loads of money off of people. And they wanted us around because they probably might have needed us too. But somebody's sister in law was getting an abortion, and they found that immoral or whatever. They took it upon themselves. To complain to the police and with a complaint the police had to act. So the police raided the place that all this was happening, and my husband and I were driving out stony island avenue to the interstate to come to Washington. And for the longest time, I had the biggest guilt complex about that. Because your friends got arrested. Did they get sent to jail? Prison? No, because what happened was they got themselves a very bright, intelligent lawyer. Who kept delaying and delaying and delaying until finally roe versus wade was passed. And then the judge threw the case out. How many abortions do you think you helped women get in the time you guys were active? Well, they have a record of 11,000 abortions. 11,000. One one comma zero zero zero. Was there any organization at the time that helped as many women as you.

Coming up next