jane documents

The Jane Song

(Lyrics only) a song commemorating the Abortion Counseling Service Editor's Note: After the dissolution of Jane, Elizabeth Roberts wrote this song to commemorate the Abortion Counseling Service. It was set to the tune of "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore", an anti-war song by John Prine.)

I woke up one bright morning.
about the middle of May.
I had some kids and a good old man,
Things were going my way.

But I looked at my calendar and there I read my fate.
Five pounds here and a bigger brassiere
I was about seven weeks late!


643-3844 is a number you'll adore
The women in the service know what you’re calling for.
They’ll give you an abortion
No matter what the reason for. (Alt. maybe three or four)
And 643-3844 is a number you‘ll adore.

I siddled up to my best chum
I tried to tell her why -
I was getting fat and my breakfast
And then I started to cry

Don’t you worry, don’t you fret”,
She said to me so plain.
“I’ll give you a telephone number
And you can tell it all to Jane”.


I called this lady on the phone.
She sounded really great.
She asked my name and telephone and then my l.p. date.
“A counsellor will call you, Just put your mind at rest. We’d like $100.
But we’ll take you best(quietly).”


It’s another bright May morning
My problem’s all resolved.
But my heart is heavy laden
“Cause I hear Jane’s been dissolved."

No more o.o.t.s, 6 p.k.s 3 k.s, a.b.s, or miss.
Cause when you dial the number
The message sounds like this- - -


643-3844 can’t help you any more
We’re already out of business
From your dirty legal war.
We gave you an abortion no matter at the reason for.
But 643-384 can’t help you any more.

Letter from the Abortion Defense Fund-February 8, 1973

The Abortion Defense Fund was set up to defend the Abortion 7. The Fund issued this letter shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision was announced). Letter from the Abortion Defense Fund

(Editors note: Seven Jane members had been arrested for performing illegal abortions. Then on January 22, 1973, the Roe V. Wade decision effectively legalized abortion. This letter was from the Abortion Defense Fund which had been supporting the Abortion 7)

Attorneys at Law

February 8, 1973

The United States Supreme Court ruling of January 22 striking down the abortion laws of Texas and Georgia is a victory for all women. It means that in the near future abortions will be available to women everywhere in the United States, and hopefully that their widespread availability will insure that they will be inexpensive and safe.

Although it is yet to be officially determined that the ruling affects Illinois law, we are optimistic. In September identical indictments of 1 count of abortion and 5 counts of conspiracy to commit abortion were handed down against each of the seven women arrested on May 3. The last several court appearances have been presentations of motions for dismissal, to which title state has not responded. Now we must wait until the status of Illinois' abortion law is determined and see how it bears on the case.

Illinois and other states with restrictive abortion laws will be writing new legislation on the subject in the next few weeks. It is not a matter to be put back into the criminal code and the sense of the Supreme Court ruling supports this view. In the first ter the states cannot regulate the procedure at all; in the second, the states can regulate but not prohibit it; in the third, the states may, but do not have to, prohibit abortions and only if the health of the mother is not endangered. There do not have to be abortion laws. As with other medical procedures, abortion should be an individual decision governed by good medical practice. This is a time to write to your state legislators and governor expressing agreement with the recent Supreme Court decision and urging that there be no abortion laws. We can prevent bad laws from replacing the bad laws which have been struck down.

There is still much work to be done to guarantee women decent health care. An effort is yet to be made against those who would obstruct the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling. If you are interested in directly affecting the abortion situation during this unique time of change, contact the National Organization for Women or the Chicago Women's Liberation Union .

We hope you share our elation and sense of victory about the decision of January 22. We have gratefully enjoyed your support these last months.

Yours in Sisterhood
Abortion Defense Fund

CWLU Steering Committee Minutes-May 7, 1972

Seven Jane members were arrested for performing illegal abortions during the first week of May. Defense of the Abortion 7 was the main topic for this critical CWLU steering meeting).

CWLU Steering Committee Minutes-May 7, 1972
(Editors note: This meeting discussed how the CWLU should help defend the 7 Jane members arrested the previous week for performing illegal abortions.)

R.S. began the meeting with a run down of the public information concerning the Wednesday incident. This will be distributed soon. She went on to say that the people involved have at this point decided to act in a way to assure acquittal, which to them means making a deal, or doing a straight legal case. The evidence points to Wednesday's incident being an accident rather than a conscious political decision, making the two choices seem the safest means. R.S's groups have disbanded as of May 5

C.W. from Fri. nite chapter presented the results of their meeting around the ab. issue. This had been done originally in the hope that a proposal of strategy could be presented to the 7 people for their consideration. It will be summarized briefly:

Three possible strategies

  1. deal
  2. straight legal case
  3. political case - challenge the law, mass mobilization of women around issue

The points in favor of number 3 are

a. local base support -many groups sympathetic to issue fund raising, demonstrations organization possibilities
b. J. constituency
c. liberal establishment support - editorials and news coverage have been extremely supportive, many good women reporters to utilize
d. local political conditions - many other groups working to defeat Hanrahan, Democratic Party in trouble - liberals, independents and women gaining offices
e. national sentiment and anti ab. law struggle
f. legal status of law in question - various states have repealed, Bella Abzug proposal to repeal nationwide, lobby in Springfield

The general consensus of the chapter was that political conditions were ripe for a victory. The anti ab.law struggle is big right now, the trial would be a good - focus for sentiment both organizational and individual, the result of a clear victory might be total repeal, etc.

Although the decision by the 7 people tended to make the whole political discussion irrelevant insofar as it would lead to trial--identified strategy, the points raised continued to come up during the meeting and people were often not clear how to discuss strategy apart from the trial. The main confusion seemed to be people's thinking political trial meant only courtroom tactics, when in fact it is not possible to talk about dozens of other allied actions apart from the courtroom. 

D.C. of the Hyde Park Chapter outlined their proposal for immediate and ongoing action around the issue.

  1. fund raising
  2. defense committees and community meetings in areas where we work, live, etc,
  3. procedural strategy - what to do and who, in CWLU to do it
  4. build for A major demonstration

There was a confused debate as to what proposals should be discussed, how, and in what order. Should we talk about what the CWLU should do before 7 people decide specific tactics, should we send CWLU reps. to outline possible strategies for them to consider before making decision, or what.

D.C. suggested that people. Objection that sending someone would be arrogant action. The tenuous relationship of J. and CWLU was mentioned here and at other times with no examination of the factors contributors to the bad relationship. 

A. R. proposed to talk about objective political conditions first so we could effectively talk about strategy. 

D.C. proposed that we vote on one of the following a. strategic and political aspects of case b. organizational tactics to do in support c. neither one DECISION - to discuss organizational questions

A discussion of coalition effort for defense project. Agreed that in theory coalition is strongest tool but entrance to coalition must be done from position of strength.

Proposal to form defense committee immediately with NOW PASSED
Proposal to have health project coordinate Union defense around the ab. case. 

Informal discussion of basic actions petition campaign to get charges dropped and law off books, city wide informational and planning meeting priorities of coalition's work

It was informally decided that S.C. members would take several suggestions to their groups, such as

a. immediate fund raising,b. get basic info. out to people, c. get one person from each union chapter and work group to be on defense committee, and d. get community groups going, S.C. would also bring back more suggestions from groups, R.S. to be liason between 7 people and CWLU for time being. S.C. to make all decisions relating to defense committee and act as direction for health project. 


Abortion, —a woman's decision, a woman's right

(Jane's original informational pamphlet)
Editors note: This was the original informational brochure passed out by the Abortion Counseling Service.)

What is the Abortion Counseling Service?

We are women whose ultimate goal is the liberation of women in society. One important way we are working toward that goal is by helping any woman who wants an abortion to get one as safely and cheaply as possible under existing conditions.

Abortion is a safe, simple, relatively painless operation when performed by a trained person in clean conditions. In fact, it's less complicated than a tonsillectomy. People hear about its horrors because desperate women turn to incompetent people or resort to unsafe methods. Much of our time is spent finding reliable and sympathetic doctors who will perform safe abortions for as little money as possible. You will receive the best medical care we know of.

Although abortions are illegal in Illinois, the state has not brought charges against any woman who has had an abortion. Only those who perform abortions have been prosecuted.

Any information you give your counselor is kept confidential. She will not give your name to anyone or discuss anything you tell her without your permission. It is vitally important that you are completely honest about your medical history with your counselor and the doctor.

Loan fund

Because abortions are illegal and in such demand, they are exorbitantly expensive. In fact, an abortion frequently costs as much as the combined doctor and hospital bills for having a baby. The ACS believes that no woman should be denied an abortion because she is unable to pay for it. We have a small and constantly depleted non-interest loan fund for women who would otherwise be unable to have an abortion. It is non-profit and non-discriminatory. Twenty-five dollars of what you pay for an abortion goes toward maintaining this service If you receive money from this fund, please repay it as promptly as you can so that the money may be used to help other women. An unpaid loan may mean that we cannot lend money to someone else who needs it desperately.

About the operation

BEFOREHAND: Confirm your pregnancy by a pregnancy test at a medical laboratory. Try to figure out as accurately as possible how many weeks pregnant you are. If you have any special physical condition (like allergies or heart trouble) which would call for special precautions, tell your counselor and the doctor about it before the operation.

When you keep your appointment with the doctor you should take with you a sanitary napkin and belt — not a tampax or tampon. You may want a friend or relative to go along to go home with you. Notify us beforehand that someone will be with you. The day of the abortion, eat lightly and stay away from heavily spiced foods.

THE OPERATION ITSELF: An abortion is simple and takes only a few minutes. You'll probably be given a local anesthetic. The injections are relatively painless. After the anesthetic has taken effect, the neck of the uterus is opened and the lining of the uterus is scraped out with a loop-shaped instrument called a curette. The operation is called a dilation and curettage, or a D&C.

After the operation is over the doctor may give you a shot or pills to prevent infection and bleeding. Lie down and rest for half-an-hour or till you feel normal. Before you leave, the doctor may give you antibiotics or other pills and will explain their function and use. One of the pills may be ergotrate to help the uterus contract and prevent excessive bleeding. Feel free to ask the doctor or us any question you may have.

AFTERWARD: If the doctor asks you to check back, it is very important that you do so as instructed. Also call us so we know how you are feeling and whether you are perfectly satisfied with the doctor we sent you to. You should be examined by a gynecologist within a few week after your abortion. If you like, we can recommend a gynecologist for the post-operative examination.

You may bleed or cramp mildly for a few days or feel other slight effects for a few weeks. On the other hand; you may have no after-effects except slight bleeding. Physical response varies from woman to woman. If you bleed for longer than three weeks or pass big blood clots, call us or go to a gynecologist. Again, if you have questions or need reassurance, please call us. Don't engage in strenuous exercise or take tub baths for about ten days, and make sure you move your bowels regularly. Hold off on intercourse for at least ten days to a month, or till you're fully healed.

You may have some emotional "blues" after your abortion. Partly this is because of the way we're brought up, partly it is because of hormonal changes in your body. If you want to talk this over with someone, call us.

If you have not been using any contraceptive and would like to start now (it beats an abortion), ask the gynecologist about it when you go in for your check-up. Women who have been using birth control pills should not start taking them again until after their first normal period has started. The pills are frequently not fool-proof during the first month of their use. A diaphragm may no longer fit you after you have had an abortion. If you use one, you should be remeasured by a gynecologist to see if you need a new size.

Abortion as a social problem

We are giving our time not only because we want to make abortions safer, cheaper and more accessible for the individual women who come to us, but because we see the whole abortion issue as a problem of society. The current abortion laws are a symbol of the sometimes subtle, but often blatant, oppression of women in our society.

Women should have the right to control their own bodies and lives. Only a woman who is pregnant can determine whether she has enough resources — economic, physical and emotional — at a given time to bear and rear a child. Yet at present the decision to bear the child or have an abortion is taken out of her hands by governmental bodies which can have only the slightest notion of the problems involved.

Cultural, moral and religious feelings are largely against abortion, and society does all it can to make a woman feel guilty and degraded if she has one.

The same society that denies a woman the decision not to have a child refuses to provide humane alternatives for women who do have children, such as child care facilities to permit the mother to work, or role flexibility so that men can share in the raising of children. The same society that insists that women should and do find their basic fulfillment in motherhood will condemn the unwed mother and her fatherless child.

The same society that glamorizes women as sex objects and teaches them from early childhood to please and satisfy men views pregnancy and childbirth as punishment for "immoral" or "careless" sexual activity, especially if the woman is uneducated, poor or black. The same morality that says "that's what she gets for fooling around" also fails to recognize society's responsibility to the often unwelcome child that results. Punitive welfare laws reflect this view, and churches reinforce it.

Our society's version of equal opportunity means that lower-class women bear unwanted children or face expensive, illegal and often unsafe abortions, while well-connected middle-class women can frequently get safe and hush-hush "D and Cs' in hospitals.

Only women can bring about their own liberation. It is time for women to get together to change the male-made laws and to aid their sisters caught in the bind of legal restrictions and social stigma. Women must fight together to change the attitudes of society about abortion and to make the state provide free abortions as a human right.

There are currently many groups lobbying for population control, legal abortion and selective sterilization. Some are actually attempting to control some populations, prevent some births — for instance those of black people or poor people. We are opposed to these or any form of genocide. We are for every woman having exactly as many children as she wants, when she wants, if she wants. It's time the Bill of Rights applied to women. Its time women got together and started really fighting for their rights. Governments have to be made to realize that abortions are part of the health care they must provide for the people who support them.

If you are interested in giving your energy and time to help bring about a better life for yourself and your daughters and sons, get in touch with Jane.

(Editors note: What followed were addresses and phone numbers to contact Jane. These are omitted in this Internet version.)