Who is Jane?
Our name, Army of Jane, was inspired by an article from NPR about the “Women of Jane.”
“Jane” was an underground network in Chicago that counseled and helped women who wanted to have abortions. The service was launched in 1965 by Heather Booth, then a 19-year-old student at the University of Chicago. Her friend’s sister was pregnant and desperately wanted an abortion. Booth found a doctor who was willing to perform the procedure secretly.
At first, “Jane” connected women with doctors. But eventually, the group’s members started performing abortions themselves. With time, Jane grew into an all-women network with dozens of members, ranging from students to housewives.
In 1973, Roe vs. Wade brought an end to Jane because women then had access to legal abortion providers. But it is 2019 and we are watching our rights slip away from us. Laws are being put into place to force birth, criminalizing the act of abortion for both the person – and I say, instead of women in this instance, person; because this affects trans men and nonbinary folks as well – who has become pregnant and the doctor providing healthcare to terminate the pregnancy. I believe that most of us thought that his day would never come. How could it?
How could we be into the 2020s and here we are, still fighting for equal footing with cis-born men?
How is it that the punishment for terminating an unwanted pregnancy could overshadow the punishment for rape?
And now we have legalized bounty hunters after us in Texas? To what end?
We have, when it comes right down to it, historically allowed the wrong people to remain in power and we have allowed the wrong people to be voted into power, power over bodies, power over women, power over non-hetero, non-gender-conforming, power over people of color.
We have allowed women who are wrought with internalized misogyny and/or racism to make decisions for our bodies based on their desperate craving of the power and status they enjoy as benefactors of patriarchy, or more specifically, the very flawed notion of white supremacy.
Our overall complacency has gotten us here, and it is time to say enough.
With this last presidential election, after attempted insurrections and widespread misinformation campaigns, once again, threatened our democracy, have we made progress? Yes. I believe we’re on a better path with the options we were handed in the general election, but we’re not even close to done here. To think otherwise would be at our peril.
We need to work together. We need to lift each other up, to take position or help enable others to take position to put a stop to white patriarchal overreach.
In short, fuck the status quo. It’s not working for us. It never has worked FOR us. So we need to get to work.
And, in areas where we’ve watched rights over our own bodies slip away, we need to work that much harder to provide options for people who are being affected by the embarrassingly backward, misogynistic legislation over our bodies to ensure that they retain control over their own reproductive health.
We will bust our asses and make up for lost time. We will “reclaim our time.”
We will not only do what we are capable of to reclaim what has been dangled in front of us as a possibility but jerked away when we “aren’t nice enough” to “deserve” it, but we will work together to establish ourselves in positions of power so that the chance of losing footing again is officially not an option.
Not all of us are made up of the stuff that is necessary to hold office, or to be on the front lines. Not all of us are able-bodied to physically bust down doors. But where we fall short in some arenas we can make up for in our passion and our resilience. We can help our sisters run for office and win. We can help each other succeed in career paths where women aren’t taking up enough space. We can speak up for those who cannot.
And if you can’t, we will speak up for you. Because this is in everyone’s best interest: Yours, your mothers, your sisters, your daughters, trans men, non-binary folk, folk who don’t fit into any “tidy” (i.e. white and heteronormative) category, and anyone who is unable to, for whatever reason, safely stand up and say ENOUGH.
Women make up the majority. We need to act like it. We need to take this patriarchal shit-show and burn it the hell down.
Who is Jane?