The really shocking element with Vera is that she is introduced as completely dedicated to her family and her duties as wife and mother. Keeping this horrible secret from her family and being undisturbed for many years, for her this was a regular visit to someone's house and helping them out of the situation. At the time single women in particular would be socially and economically condemned if they got an illegitimate child. So in order to avoid the catastrophic situation, women would do anything to save their social appearance and image. What the film tries to imply to the audience is that the heroine acts on the bases of her own principles and she is guided by her good will to save the women and empower them with the right to decide for themselves what is best for them.
What we do not expect from the movie is that such a kind and agreeable, wife and mother would ever thought of performing illegal abortions at a time when social norms and restrictions do not justify it. Vera possesses the inner strength and stamina to do these procedures and she is always soothing the misfortune women showing deep understanding and support for their situation. The director very carefully explores and plays with the roles that Vera fulfills - wife, mother and criminal. Though we are introduced to Vera's family, friends and social surrounding we are never given the argument what made Vera into practicing the then illegal abortions. So we can only assume that she is doing it out of her good will and belief that she is helping. She is supported by her response when the inspector comes into her home. In fact, they never ask her what she is doing, she gives her in by admitting that she knows already why they are here. And she replies: "I help girls out." Using this euphemism leads us to believe that her desire is to aid the girls.
Vera's action can be best described as "getting girls out of trouble". Another evidence of her good will is that she is not taking money. Instead she is brought food or milk or other ingredients. When asked about that she is repulsed. It seems that her explanation is far more complicated than simply gaining extra cash. Vera's discreet services and house to house visits give away that she is oblivious about taking advantage of women's situations and instead risks it all - her family and her good name in order to assist the women in their desire to make abortion.
The audience is also given other perspectives after Vera's arrest. We have Reg's opinion (Vera's daughter potential husband) - "It ain't fair. Me mum brought up six of us in two rooms. If you can't feed 'em, you can't love 'em, now can you" His point shows understanding about the role that women play as mothers, homemakers and care providers. Vera has very affectionate bond with her husband - Stan. What he thinks about her arrest is that "Whatever she done, she done it out of the goodness of her heart!" Since the viewers have to rely on clues that other characters give away, Stan and Reg provide us with possible explanations why Vera initiated her actions.
The reason for Vera's arrest is a life threatening mishap that happened to one of her customers a daughter of a wealthy bourgeoisie family for whom Vera cleans. Susan's desperation is as intense as Vera's