Nearly two months after the Supreme Court overturned its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion, Hollywood dramatizes the story of the Janes, a group of women who secretly helped others through the years. sixty illegally obtained Chicago, in the new movie Call Jane.
The trailer for the new film, starring Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Wunmi Mosaku and Kate Mara, was released on Tuesday. In it, we see Banks as Joy, a woman faced with a dangerous pregnancy, who by law must get approval from a table full of men to end the pregnancy she’s carrying. One of the men asks the others—and not Joy, even though she’s sitting right in front of them—”Is there any chance she’ll survive the pregnancy?” and another replies, “Maybe 50 percent.” They decide that Joy can not having an abortion, so she calls the Janes for help.
After her own experience with the group, Joy joins them, although of course she must keep her involvement a secret and even tell her husband, played by Messina, that she was in art class when she was actually with the Janes. Later we see her confronted with questions, not only from her husband, but also from a detective.
The Janes struggle with pressure from the authorities, but remain determined to help as many people as possible; the women at one point debate whether to help an 11-year-old girl, a woman with cancer or a rape victim. There are also internal problems, such as when the group’s only black member, Mosaku’s Gwen, complains that “economics always seems to mean black women getting screwed.”
The story of the Janes was told in an HBO documentary, simply called The Jane’sreleased just two weeks before the controversial decision was made.
“They were very disguised, you know. They were sneaky,” Tia Lessin, who co-directed the document with Emma Pildes, told Yahoo Entertainment ahead of its release. “These are women in their twenties and early thirties who had a whole range of tricks, from getting medical supplies without a license to protecting and protecting the women they served. I think it’s surprising that all of them, on that young age, were willing to take the risk. I mean… this goes beyond civil disobedience, you know?”
The fictionalized version of the Janes’ story is directed by Phyllis Nagy, who was nominated for an Oscar for her screenplay for the 2015 film. Carol.
Call Jane arrives in theaters on October 28.