Monday, June 1, 2009

The Martian Chronicles has a place in The Story of Jane and the annals of abortion

Unexpectedly, Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (1950) is mentioned in The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service (1995), a history of the Abortion Counseling Service (unofficially known as Jane) of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union, written by Laura Kaplan, a former member. An underground abortion service which operated in Chicago from the late 1960s until its disbandment in 1973, Jane was raided by police on May 3, 1972. Seven women were arrested on charges of operating an illegal, low cost abortion clinic out of two Southside apartments:
When the officers demanded everyone's name and only the Jane members refused, they quickly figured out who was who. Other than the five workers at least eight other women were in the apartment. There was a lot of milling about while the officers questioned each of these women separately. Gail felt her whole life shifting. She wanted to distance herself from what was happening, so she picked up a copy of The Martian Chronicles that happened to be lying around and sat down to read. Time passed. The three women who had had abortions were taken to the hospital, examined and released. Everyone else was going to the police station.
On March 9, 1973, just weeks after the Unites States Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the case against the seven members of Jane who had been arrested in Chicago was dismissed and their court records were ordered expunged.

Pictured above: Jane poster

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