In the book Deep Care, historian Angela Hume offers lessons from generations of underground activists and clinicians who worked to protect abortion access
Mon 27 Nov 2023
In the run-up and year following the US supreme court’s reversal of Roe v Wade in June 2022, there emerged a narrative of return: that abortion in states where it was suddenly banned would revert to the underground. It would be a return to 1972, when diffuse, partially anonymous groups such as the Jane Collective, a secret network of abortion providers in Chicago immortalized in the documentary The Janes and in a feature film starring Elizabeth Banks, stood in for legal reproductive healthcare.
In reality, the end of Roe didn’t so much send the US back to a pre-1973 landscape of unsafe abortions, but toward a bleak and unprecedented future of criminalized pregnancy. And the abortion underground never disappeared under Roe, anyway. Far from it – in a new book, the feminist historian, critic and poet Angela Hume draws on dozens of interviews with former unlicensed abortion providers, community clinic workers and volunteer clinic defenders who together formed the vibrant, multi-pronged and under-sung radical edge of the abortion defense movement.