Vera Drake (played extremely well by Imelda Staunton) is the mother of a working-class family in 1950's England. She cleans other people's houses and checks on sick people, as well as her own elderly mother, and looks for a husband for her daughter. She also performs abortions illegally without her family knowing.
While she's doing the abortions (syringe with soapy disinfectant water) she never uses that word. She "helps girls manage." She tells them "everything will come out okay." She gets most of her references for the girls from a childhood friend named Lily. What she doesn't know is that Lily is charging money and not passing it on. Vera does the abortions to help girls.
We're shown that the daughter of one of her employers is raped and gets pregnant, but has the money to have a legal abortion. The cost of her abortion is 50 times what Lily charges.
Inevitably, one of her girls gets an infection and almost dies. Her mother is forced to reveal Lily and Vera. Lily is not arrested, but Vera is -- at a celebratory party for her daughter's engagement. Vera's face through this and the questioning and the trial is unbelieving, she never really thought she'd get caught. Her family reacts over a broad spectrum of emotions. She's done so much for them, but some are more concerned about how the crime will reflect on them.
This movie is very timely for the US, as conservatives try to make abortions harder to get. The more difficult it is to have a safe abortion, the more likely poor girls will have unsafe abortions.
This movie is highly recommended, but be prepared to have your heart wrenched.