In April 1970, Jane Hodgson picked up the phone, called her local police department, and asked them to arrest her.
Earlier that day, the Minnesota physician had performed an abortion on a 24-year-old mother of three who had contracted rubella, a disease associated with miscarriage, infant death, and severe health problems for infants that survived pregnancy. As in many other states, Minnesota law only allowed “therapeutic abortions,” procedures that terminated pregnancy only if a mother’s life was threatened.
Hodgson had seen patients beg for illegal abortions—and suffer, even die, when they obtained them from other, unqualified providers. In an affidavit to the grand jury that indicted her, she wrote that she “had to make a choice between following the existing