September 20, 2022
Reception 5:30PM, film screening at 6PM followed by panel discussion and Q&A.
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.
The following panelists will speak after the screening and will host an audience Q&A:
Kelly Davis, MPA
Kelly Davis, MPA is the Executive Director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice, a non-profit dedicated to transforming society for the holistic health and wellbeing of Black women, girls, and gender-expansive people in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Prior to joining New Voices, she helmed initiatives at the National Birth Equity Collaborative and the NYC Health Department, where she catalyzed NYC’s first HIV public awareness campaign totally focused on women and served as one of the founding members of the Center for Health Equity, where she conceptualized the Family Wellness Suites—community respite and healing spaces for parents and children. In her last role at the NYC Health Department, she was responsible for identifying gaps in public health efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in maternal, infant, and reproductive health by incubating new initiatives and supporting anti-racist policy and advocacy strategies. As Director, she spearheaded a severe maternal morbidity/maternal mortality initiative supporting 14 maternity hospitals in a long-term institutional transformation process that addresses structural racism, bias, resilience, and trauma-informed care. She also is the Co-Founder and Chief Equity Officer of KINSHIFT, a boutique consulting firm that supports healthcare and public health transformation through evidence-based practices rooted in actionable principles of trauma-and-resilience-informed care and anti-racism. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University, where her senior thesis explored how Black women and Latinas experienced contraception in the 20th Century, and a Master of Public Administration degree from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Sydney brings a passion for reproductive health and is committed to the elimination of health disparities for underserved and underrepresented populations. She comes to Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania (PPWP) from Medicines 360, a nonprofit pharmaceutical company with a mission to remove cost as a barrier to health by developing and providing affordable women’s health products. Prior to that, Sydney worked for Planned Parenthood Federation of America for nearly ten years serving as Director of the Health Care Investment Program where she provided guidance on ways to further embed women’s health in system transformation efforts, focusing specifically on value-based payment, telehealth, and health equity. Sydney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in Public Health and Health Policy from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
Susan Frietsche is the co-interim Executive Director and the founder and director of the Western Pennsylvania Office of the Women’s Law Project, where she has worked since 1992. Her law practice focuses on providing legal services for the 17 freestanding abortion facilities in Pennsylvania, including direct representation in state and federal courts, amicus representation, compliance work, legislative advocacy, representation before state licensure boards, and strategic defense from anti-abortion violence and disruption. Frietsche has appeared as counsel for young women seeking confidential abortions in over 50 judicial bypass cases. In addition to her reproductive rights practice, she engages in civil litigation and advocacy involving sexual harassment and sexual assault in education and employment settings, Title IX athletics, LGBTQ discrimination, economic security, incarcerated women, criminalization of pregnancy, and race and gender bias in the legal system. She has argued before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Fourth Circuits as well as Pennsylvania appellate courts. She is the co-author of “Women on the Court and the Court on Women,” in The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania: Life and Law in the Commonwealth 1684-2017 (John J. Hare, ed., 2018), and “Preserving the Core of Roe: Reflections on Planned Parenthood v. Casey,” published in the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism. She is a member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she teaches Reproductive Law and Policy and Gender and the Law. Prior to joining the staff of the Women’s Law Project, Frietsche was the Deputy Director of the Pennsylvania ACLU and the organization’s state lobbyist. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Temple University Law School.