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Reproductive Rights in America

From the JANE Collective to the Post-Dobbs Health and Legal Landscape

Sunday October 29, 2023 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm


The Janes logo and 4 mugshots
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In partnership with the Barnard in Washington alumni group, WHC is pleased to present a panel discussion about “The Janes,” a real-life story turned into a documentary film available on MAX. 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 “The Janes.”

Join us for a panel discussion about these incredible women who risked so much to provide help to those who needed it prior to Roe. Our panel will also discuss the current impact on women’s health from the denial of access to certain reproductive healthcare services and the current legal challenges around the county concerning women’s access to abortion services since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs. On the panel will be Abby Pariser, one of the members of the Janes group, Hillary Schneller, Senior Counsel, the Center for Reproductive Rights, who was co-lead counsel in the Dobbs case, and Dr. Cleopatra McGovern, Community of Hope Health Clinic. Rabbi Shankman will also be speaking about the Jewish pro-choice perspective.

We encourage you to view the movie in advance of this program. It is available on MAX, and we are working to set up viewing parties for those who would like to watch it with a group.


Following the discussion, lunch, sponsored by the Women of WHC Sisterhood, is being offered for $20 per person. Space is limited, and a separate RSVP is required.



Abby J. Pariser, B.A. Barnard College 1967, M.A. Roosevelt University 1975. Abby joined the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union at its founding in 1968, and in 1970 became a member of the Chicago Abortion Counseling Service, also known as the JANE Collective. During her tenure at JANE, Abby counseled women and girls seeking abortions. In 1974, Abby helped found a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wheaton, Illinois, where she worked until 1979. She has also been a member of the Suffolk Abortion Rights Coalition and is a current member of NOW. Since 1986, Abby has served as a Board Member and Officer of Kehillath Shalom Reconstructionist Synagogue. Abby will speak about her activities in the early 1970s as a member of the JANE Collective, and the economic and health impacts on women who are denied access to abortion care.

Dr. Cleopatra McGovern earned a B.A. from Barnard College in 2012, an MD from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine in 2017, and in 2020 completed a residency in family medicine at the Institute for Family Health in Harlem, NYC. Cleo currently works as a family physician in Washington, D.C., where she provides a full spectrum of reproductive healthcare services to individuals who lack health insurance or are underinsured. She also provides reproductive health care services to women on weekends at the Falls Church Healthcare Clinic. Cleo will discuss the University of San Francisco’s Turnaway Study, which found that women who were denied access to abortion care suffered significant adverse effects, as well as her own clinical work.

Hillary Schneller, B.A. Barnard College 2009, JD Columbia University Law School 2012, (she/her) is a senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she has worked since 2014. Hillary was co-lead counsel in the 2022 Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, representing the last abortion clinic in Mississippi. She has led cases in federal and state court to secure and expand access to abortion and works on litigation to improve access to maternal health care in the U.S. She previously worked as an Equal Justice Works fellow at the National Women’s Law Center. Hillary will discuss her legal work at the Center for Reproductive Rights, including as co-lead counsel in the Dobbs case, and the Center’s litigation strategy to secure women’s access to abortion in light of the Dobbs decision.



Sunday, October 29


10:30 am - 12:00 pm




DEIJ, Lecture, Women of WHC