"The Janes" Documentary Screening & Panel

85 Bedford St
Portland, ME
Monday, October 30, 2023
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM


USM and YWCA Central Maine are hosting a panel discussion featuring Heather Booth, founder of the Jane Collective; Patricia Novick, an original Jane; and Anna Kellar, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Maine. The panel will discuss the action organized by the Jane Collective to provide safe abortion care in the 1960s, as well as broader conversations on human rights, democracy and civic engagement, and social justice in Maine.

A screening of the entire documentary film The Janes will be held immediately prior to the panel.

This event is free and open to the public, taking place in Talbot Hall (in the Luther Bonney Hall on USM's Portland campus). Please click here for information on parking.



4:00 - 5:00 PM | Local Social Justice Partner Meet & Greet

5:00 - 6:30 PM | Film Screening

6:30 - 7:30 PM | Panel Discussion


About the Emmy Award winning documentary:
Winner of the Best Documentary at the 44th Annual Documentary Emmy Awards!

In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on the South Side of Chicago where seven women who were part of a clandestine network were arrested and charged. Using code names, fronts, and safe houses to protect themselves and their work, the accused had built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions. They called themselves "Jane."

Directed by Oscar-nominee Tia Lessin (HBO’s Trouble the Water) and Emmy-nominee Emma Pildes (HBO’s Jane Fonda in Five Acts), The Janes offers first-hand accounts from the women at the center of the group, many speaking on the record for the first time.

The Janes tells the story of a group of unlikely outlaws. Defying the state legislature that outlawed abortion, the Catholic Church that condemned it, and the Chicago Mob that was profiting from it, the members of Jane risked their personal and professional lives to help women in need. In the pre-Roe v. Wade era –– a time when abortion was a crime in most states and even circulating information about abortion was a felony in Illinois –– the Janes provided low-cost and free abortions to an estimated 11,000 women.

Click here to watch the film trailer.


About the Panelists
Heather Booth is one of the country's leading strategists about progressive issue campaigns and driving issues in elections. She started organizing in the civil rights and women's movements of the 1960s, founding the underground abortion service JANE in 1965. Since then, she has served in many roles in training social change leaders and organizers and directing political and social justice campaigns. The biographical film Heather Booth: Changing the World aired on PBS in 2016.

Rev. Patricia Novick has spent more than 50 years focusing on issues of social justice, diversity, and community development as a consultant, trainer, activist, researcher, and ordained minister. She was one of the original Janes, providing abortion services in Chicago before the Supreme Court made abortion legal in 1973. She is currently a senior research fellow at DePaul University and Keller Science Action Center at the Field Museum of Natural History.

Anna Kellar, the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Maine, grew up in Maine before earning a BA in Political Science from Yale University and a Masters in Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics. Their experience with democracy and anti-corruption campaigns in Eastern Europe and Central Asia makes them all the more committed to preserving and strengthening civil society and grassroots democracy in Maine. Anna started working at MCCE in 2014 as an organizer on the Clean Elections Initiative. They ran for the state legislature as a Clean Elections candidate in 2016. In 2017, Anna was appointed as the first joint Executive Director for MCCE and the League of Women Voters of Maine.