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The Story of Jane
This fall WGS and the UNCG chapter of VOX (Voices of Planned Parenthood) teamed up to put on Jane:
Abortion and the Underground by Paula Kamen. Jane is a provocative drama about the “best-kept secret” in
Chicago, an underground abortion service that operated from 1969 to 1973. Run by a feminist collective of
mostly middle-class housewives and students, Jane was the only safe alternative for over 11,000 Chicago
women from all backgrounds. The service boasted no fatalities and was operated in private apartments
throughout the city. It was well trusted by the community, and often received referrals from social workers,
clergy, hospital staff, and university administrators, even though abortion was illegal during that time.
The production, which consisted of three performances, ran in
October 2009. The cast consisted of UNCG students and staff as well
as members of the Greensboro community. Jane was produced by
VOX Officers, Sarah McCall and Anne Keyworth, and directed by
Christine oW odworth, who teaches Theatre History and serves
as Dramaturg in the UNCG Theatre Department. Discussions
about the play, abortion, women’s health, and reproductive
rights were held after each showing, led by Beth aW lker from
GW S, Tracy Nichols, Associate Professor in the Public Health
and Education Department, and Sarah Cervenak, Assistant professor in GW S and African American Studies.
The cast of Jane also participated in the discussion, sharing their experiences, points of view, and what they
learned as a result of being involved in the production. All proceeds went to the Fund for Choice in the Triad
with Planned Parenthood Health Systems, Inc.
Sarah McCall, president of VOX, says, “I had heard this story about two years ago and just couldn’t ever let the
phenomenal story of the Jane Service go. I thought these women sounded so brave and so certain that what
they were doing was right that they did exactly what they felt they had to do to save women’s lives. Once
I realized there was a play written about the service I contacted Carole Lindsey-Potter and Mary Connor-
Hill (our VOX advisors). Carole was able to get the script from the playwright, Paula Kamen and Mary had
just met Chris oW odworth. As a student activist I felt the issue of abortion was very minimally discussed
in classrooms and felt that many young students had no knowledge of the history of the
reproductive rights movement.“ She also says, “It was great to see theory and practice
come together and to be able to see the campus join VOX in this critical conversation of
reproductive rights.” Sarah McCall and Anne Keyworth of UNCG’s VOX received a
grant of $500 dollars from the Southeastern oW men’s Studies Association (SESW A) to
aid in production costs of Jane. McCall and Keyworth will present their experiences and
what they learned while putting on this production at the SESW A conference entitled
“Cultural Productions, Gender, and Activism” to be held at the University of South
Carolina in Columbia, SC, in March 2010. For more information about the Jane cast,
Sarah McCall and
please visit http://sites.google.com/site/uncgjane/Home/jane-cast-and-staff
Anne Keyworth
The Coat Hanger Project
As a follow-up to Jane, WGS sponsored a screening of The Coat
Hanger Project, a documentary film released in 2008 about
abortion and the current state of the reproductive justice
movement. The film recalls the anti-choice forces at work since
the passing of Roe-v-Wade in 1973 and the resistance of the
pro-choice movement. The documentary, geared towards the
generation born after Roe-v-Wade, aims to provide glimpses
of truth about the lived realities of women and their need
for safe, legal abortion access. Sarah McCall, UNCG VOX
President, facilitated a discussion afterwards which featured
guest panelists Beth Walker and Sarah Cervenak of WGS and
Christine Woodworth of the Theatre Department.
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