Heather Booth

“A friend mentioned his sister was pregnant, nearly suicidal, and needed an abortion, so I helped find her a doctor. A few weeks later, someone else called…the word had spread. I was living in a dormitory, so I told people to call and ask for Jane. In those days, three people discussing an abortion was a conspiracy to commit a felony murder.”

Heather Booth has been an organizer starting in the civil rights and women's movements of the 1960s. A student at the University of Chicago, she joined the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Project, in the campaign for black voting rights. Booth was active in the founding of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, creating JANE (an underground abortion service) and Action Committee for Decent Childcare, and setting up the first campus women’s liberation organization.

When Dr. King said the way to civil rights was through union rights, she became a labor organizer.   She was the Founding Director, now President, of the Midwest Academy, which trains organizers, including some of the early NOW leaders. Booth has directed and worked on numerous national campaigns, including the 2000 NAACP National Voter Fund, the Health Care Campaign, AFL-CIO, the Alliance for Citizenship (the leading coalition for immigration reform) among many others.