In her feature directorial debut, Ask for Jane, filmmaker Rachel Carey crafts a riveting story (co-written with Cait Cortelyou) about an earlier generation of women who fought for the right to control their bodies when abortions were still illegal, and unsafe and reliable medical care was hard to find.
Based on a true story, the period drama centers on the Jane Collective, a secret group of Chicago activists in the late 1960s and early 1970s that believed women deserved the right to choose and took enormous risks to help them do so. In an era before Roe v. Wade, when women were denied the power to make their own decisions, the underground abortion network assisted them in obtaining counseling and terminating unwanted pregnancies.
Nearly 50 years later, new generations of women find themselves facing the very real possibility that they may lose this hard-earned right after a growing number of states – Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky and now Alabama — recently passed extreme anti-abortion legislation that clearly violates Roe v. Wade. It’s an intentional political strategy at the state level to restrict access to safe and legal abortion and bring these cases before an increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court in the hopes of overturning the 1973 landmark decision.
For this reason, Ask for Jane is an urgent and timely movie that is worth the watch. It’s thoughtful and engaging, well-directed on a very limited budget, and features brave and honest performances. The women of the Jane Collective deserve our thanks and respect for having had the courage and commitment to take a stand many decades ago that gave women the power to make decisions about their lives and futures. Women should always have the freedom to decide what they want to do with their bodies, and we should never hesitate to challenge oppressive laws that attempt to criminalize abortion and deny us our fundamental constitutional right.