Elizabeth Banks is a quick study.
The actress says she learned how to actually perform abortions in preparation for the film “Call Jane,” which tells the story of a revolutionary group of women in 1968 who helped women get abortions in Chicago, pre-Roe.
In the movie, Banks, 48, plays Joy, a housewife whose pregnancy has a 50% chance of endangering her life. After an emergency approval for a termination is denied by the hospital, she turns to the Jane Collective, an underground abortion clinic. After her procedure, she ends up joining the group and facilitating care for other women in need.
In preparation for the role, she learned how doctors perform abortions, telling Vanity Fair “I might be able to” do a procedure.
“I didn’t actually ever get to dilate anybody,” she tells the outlet. “I got to learn about the tools, watch the videos. But the procedure that we performed from 1968, there are similarities to it now but it is not the exact same,” she says. “Most abortions now are self-managed via two pills.”
The actress also reflected on her past and thought about how women are sometimes mistreated by health care professionals. “There was a lot of sense memory in the acting for me,” she explains. “It’s very intimate, what women are put through.”
She described a traumatic experience getting ovarian cysts removed.
“It was a specialized procedure that had to be done by somebody I’ve never met before, a male technician. He starts his procedure, no bedside manner, and it was so painful. I said, Can you please stop? It was actually making me nauseous, and I was worried I was gonna throw up. He treated me like, Can’t you just get it together? So I forced myself through this pain, through this procedure with this asshole technician in this room with no understanding of what [I’m feeling]. And then I went to my car and I bawled my fucking eyes out.”
“And honestly, that’s what I was thinking of while I was having the procedure in the movie. A pretty easy sense memory to bring up because it was raw and fresh, even though it was 10 or 11 years ago now.”