Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that protected a women's right to an abortion, had not yet been handed down, meaning the procedure was illegal throughout most of the United States, forcing women with unwanted pregnancies to turn to exploitative abortion providers (like the Mafia) or resort to dangerous methods to self-induce an abortion. Using code names, blindfolds, and safe houses, a group of brave women built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions calling themselves JANE. Ultimately, the Jane Collective provided close to 11,000 abortions by the time Roe v. Wade came into effect. Through interviews with the former Janes, this film portraits the history of JANE, and reminds the viewer of their commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of other women was a measured, intelligent response to the inadequacies of a system that refused to fend for its own.
The murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, was arguably a pivotal event in the history of race and policing in the United States. Police on Trial shows, Chauvin’s encounter with Floyd was not the first time the Minneapolis police officer used excessive force on a Black citizen. Nor was it the first time that questions were raised around the culture of the Minneapolis Police Department itself. The film draws on reporting from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and features never-before-published police cam video of Derek Chauvin using excessive force years before George Floyd’s death, to document the trial and murder-conviction of Chauvin, and the various responses for police accountability and reform in Minneapolis.