Heather Booth | The 2022 MAKERS Conference

Heather Booth at the 2022 MAKERS Conference.

Video Transcript

- Please welcome Heather Booth.



(SINGING) Takin' chances is the only real way because they want us to break, to break, to break, yeah.

HEATHER BOOTH: If we organize, we have changed this world, and we can change this world, as long as we have love at the center.

You are among the people who are the world changers. And it matters so much what you do, that you use the power and influence you have especially now. Our country is on a knife's edge between freedom and tyranny. And this, of course, includes the freedom for a woman to control our own bodies, the most intimate freedom in a person's life, the freedom to decide when or whether or with whom we have a child.

The service, or what became Jane, is covered in this remarkable film by Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes. And it documents what life was like before Roe. We'll hear more about that soon. I had started the Jane underground abortion service simply as a good deed to a friend in need. I learned the lessons from the Civil Rights movement and decided to build a beloved community.

Over time, women recruited to Jane ended up themselves learning how to do the procedures. And they provided 11,000 abortions between 1965 and 1973, when Roe became the law of the land. When we acted together, we expanded access to this freedom. But it's now under attack by extremist politicians who want to come between a woman and her doctor. And this is opposed by 80% of the American public.

But when we organize, we have changed this world. And if we organize now, we still can change this world. At a time when we face a challenge, this freedom is tied to other freedoms-- the freedom to vote, the freedom to hold elections without threats of violence, the freedom to expand and not contract our democracy. The struggle continues.

I've come to this conference because you are the makers. You're the people helping to make the future. As Gloria Steinem said, we are the leaders we have been waiting for. And you are amongst the leaders we have been waiting for. It is up to us. Are you up for this struggle?

- Yes!

HEATHER BOOTH: You're about to see now a short clip of a documentary film about this service called the Janes. It's shocking, inspiring, and galvanizing support for reproductive freedom around the country. We'll then hear an amazing panel who will discuss women's reproductive freedom with remarkable people. Loretta Ross-- I've waited years just to meet her. Yes! Yeah, Loretta Ross. Tia Lessin-- and for Tia.


And Emma Pildes. Loretta, as you now know, is the dynamic advocate for women's health from the days when she faced a decision to have an abortion and is now ensuring that there will be coverage for others. She's a founder of Sister Song, one of the leading voices advancing this freedom for women, and also a recent recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award. So we know that she is both courageous and brilliant!

Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes are the award-winning producers of this remarkable documentary. And we are so grateful to Makers to include this story in the program and so grateful to all of you, who will help make this a history for the future generations with greater freedom when we organize with love at the center.