Set in Chicago, 1969… Ask for Jane takes you back to a time to where abortion is punishable by prison, and getting birth control is nearly impossible. As a result, women die every day from taking matters into their own hands. Based on a true story, Ask for Jane follows a group of determined Midwestern women who inspired an entire generation to take control of their bodies and their activism resonates through to today as the fight for abortion rights and Roe v. Wade are just as important now as they were then.
Ask for Jane is a well-paced historically accurate movie, set in 1969-1973 United States, about the Chicago underground abortion network known as the Jane Collective. The Jane Collective existed before Roe v. Wade made abortion a legally accessible option for unwanted pregnancy for millions of woman across the United States. In fact, the Jane Collective is said to have helped over 11,000 desperate women find safe and accessible ways to terminate unwanted pregnancies. The movie focuses on these stories, how woman forced into desperate situations, due to our countries historically antiquated views on women’s rights, specifically, as it relates to family planning and a women’s right to have personal autonomy over their own bodies, spurred the creation of the Collective and the many challenges (both legally and socially) the Collective faced.
We caught up with creator, producer, and star Cait Cortelyou, who plays Rose is a third-generation volunteer for planned parenthood, whose worked closely Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute of Woman’s reproductive rights, to lobby for women’s reproductive rights, to get her take on the subject.
“I wanted to bring the women back into the story. I think lawmakers are arguing all these “ideas” without actually taking the women being affected by there decision into account… And I think every woman regardless of economic status because that’s who is being affected the most by these policies, every person should have access to medical care in a safe and affordable way in their own communities.”
Cortelyou co-star Cody Horn, who plays Janice, goes on to say “It’s also important to remember that historically, a women’s health and body were always in the hands of a man be it her father, husband, or doctor. The Jane Collective is a story about women taking their power back. This was us doing it for us.
To tell the truth, five years ago Ask for Jane would be nothing more than a horrifying look into our nations not-so-distant problematic past when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. A world where women drink rat poison and jump off buildings in lieu being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Unfortunately, given the current challenges to women reproductive rights in states like Georgia, Alabama, and 14 other states, Ask for Jane serves as a cautionary tale of our country’s future if a women’s right to choose is not vigilantly protected.
“I hope this movie gives for perspective to people today to recognize the “privilege” that we have today”, says Horn. “I think that people that didn’t grow up in the 1960s need to understand how these rights, or privileges we have…being able to get birth control without our boyfriends, or fiancés, or husbands permission, having autonomy over our bodies…these were rights that woman in the past have fought incredibly hard for and the fight is not over. We need to stay vigilant to ensure that these rights are protected. And even on a federal level…thing need to come together. I’m a big advocate for workers rights, I’m a union activist and a big LBGTQ rights advocate and I believe in having the government work for people. Getting involved in advocacy to make sure the government protects these rights.”
Ask for Jane isn’t the movie we asked for, but in 2019, when Georgia has just outlawed abortion past 6 weeks, even in the case of rape and incest, Ask for Jane is the movie we deserve with a message that we collectively, as a nation, need to hear.
“Ultimately, there are so many different facets to this conversation”, says Cortelyou “because it is a complex decision that will affect every woman differently, that’s why we need to stay vigilant and protect a women’s right to make the best choice for herself and her situation.”
Ask for Jane was created and produced by Cait Cortelyou and written and directed by Rachel Carey. The film stars Cait Cortelyou, Judith Arcana, Cody Horn, Alison Wright, Sarah Ramos, Chloe Levine, Danny Flaherty, Sarah Steele, Lilly Englert, Ben Rappaport, and Sophie von Haselberg.
The film is now playing.