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‘The Janes’ Posters Vandalized Ahead Of Bucktown Doc Screening On Women Who Helped Thousands Get Abortions

The HBO film tells the story of the Chicago-based group that helped thousands get abortions before Roe v. Wade. Neighbors have organized a screening Tuesday at Holstein Park.

Posters for the screening of the documentary The Janes were recently vandalized at Holstein Park in Bucktown, as seen on Sept. 12, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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BUCKTOWN — Someone defaced posters promoting a Bucktown screening of a documentary about Chicago organizers who helped people get abortions before Roe v. Wade — but the show will go on.

HBO documentary “The Janes” follows the story of the Jane Collective, an underground group in Chicago that connected women with access to abortions in the ’60s.

The documentary debuted earlier this year and has received widespread attention since the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June. It’s also led Chicago activists to form a new group, We Are Jane, to connect people with abortion providers in areas with reproductive health restrictions.

After seeing the documentary this summer, Bucktown neighbor Jean Alan said she was inspired to do something to support abortion rights in Illinois and around the country.

Alan has been longtime friends with Abby Pariser, one of the original Janes, but wanted to ensure the group’s history was more broadly known, especially to younger people.

“We can’t be passive around this. And it’s hard to figure out what you can do. You know, it’s not like you can have a rummage sale and solve it. It’s infinitely more complex than that. And really, what it’s about is information and education, and helping the younger generation understand this history and the preciousness of that right,” Alan said.

Credit: Courtesy Women Make Movies
Images from the Jane Collective, which helped women obtain “underground” abortions in a safe manner before Roe v. Wade.

Alan and fellow Bucktown resident Linda Kanoski worked with the Holstein Park supervisor and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) to plan a screening, and got permission from HBO to show the film.

The screening will take place 7 p.m. Tuesday at Holstein Park, 2200 N. Oakley Ave. The event also will feature a Q&A with four members of the Jane Collective, and several abortion providers and advocacy groups. More information is available here.

But late last week, three posters hung on the fence surrounding Holstein Park to promote the screening were vandalized, with red paint sprayed over the faces of four members of The Janes pictured, Alan said.

The banners were hung up Thursday night. Alan heard from a Park District employee one of them had been vandalized by Friday afternoon, she said.

By Saturday morning, all three banners hanging at the park had been defaced, Alan said.

“We always feared we would be a target in some way. And it’s just sad. Like, who are these people and why would they want to do something so ugly?” Alan said. “You know, all of the decisions around what’s happening are deeply cruel decisions. And I think this is just part of that cruelty.”

In response, Alan and Kanoski printed fliers and attached them to the banners that read, “The person who defaced this poster wants to the government to control your body and your life. Don’t let them get away with it.”

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Posters for the screening of the documentary The Janes were recently vandalized at Holstein Park in Bucktown, as seen on Sept. 12, 2022.

Only one banner had the flier still attached to it Monday, but all three banners remain hanging on the Holstein Park fence.

Alan said she and Kanoski are determined to go forward with the event, and remain committed to promoting education and activism surrounding abortion rights. Alan is also encouraging people to come early Tuesday to have a picnic in Holstein Park.

“I’m an interior designer. Linda’s an architect. You know, this is way outside of our wheelhouse. But … it’s not dissuaded us in any way,” Alan said.

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