Production has begun on a new film based on the true story of the underground abortion network known as The Jane Collective, a press release has announced. “Ask for Jane” is the brainchild of Cait Johnston, who is among the project’s producers (along with Caroline Hirsch of Caroline’s Comedy Club). Written and directed by first-time feature filmmaker Rachel Carey, the pic stars Johnson (“The Knick”), Sarah Ramos (“How to be Single,” “Parenthood”), Alison Wright (“The Americans”), Cody Horn (“Magic Mike,” “End of Watch”), Sarah Steele (“The To-Do List”), and Chloe Levine (“The Oa”).
The Jane Collective was founded by a group of young college women and based in Chicago, where it helped over 11,000 women get illegal abortions between 1969 and 1973. Though fictionalized, this account of the work of the women known as “The Janes” will stick close to the source. Writer and activist Judith Arcana — a former “Jane” herself— is acting as a Consulting Producer on the film, in which she will also have a cameo role.
“During a time when abortions were illegal, reproductive rights were being challenged, and birth control wasn’t easily accessible or morally accepted The Janes fought for what they believed in and acted out of bravery to create opportunity and freedom for women,” the film’s official press release states. “Five years before Roe v. Wade came into legislation The Janes were writing their own set of rules by standing up for and supporting women.”
“When I first heard the story of the ‘Janes’ and their covert abortion service, I was surprised I’d never heard of them before, and we hope our film will change that,” Carey said in a statement. We are excited to have a female-driven team bringing this important story to a wider audience.”
If “Ask for Jane” sounds familiar, you may be remembering an earlier iteration of the project. According to the release, “In 2016 Carey and Johnston’s limited series ‘Ask for Jane’ was one of three finalists chosen in the New York Television Festival Works 4 Progress Initiative with Participant Media.”
Rachel Carey’s Film About Chicago’s Underground Abortion Network Goes into Production was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.