“Roe” in Roe v. Wade dies at 69

By: Regina Wright ~Campus News Editor~

Photo courtesy of houstonchronicle.com | Norma McCorvey, better known as “Roe,” was 22 years old when she fought for an abortion in Texas, which led her to the Supreme Court and center of abortion rights.

Norma McCorvey, also known as “Jane Roe” in the monumental Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court case, has died at 69.

McCorvey became the center of the abortion rights movement when she became pregnant for a third time at 22 years old and was unmarried, unemployed and fighting for an abortion in 1969. She lived in Texas at the time, where abortion was illegal except for the case of saving the mother’s life.

Although McCorvey wanted an abortion, she had gave birth to a girl in 1970 and was recommended to visit lawyers Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington. Coffee and Weddington were seeking a candidate to challenge Texas’s anti-abortion statute. The case ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973, where a 7-2 ruling legalized abortion throughout the U.S. After the ruling, McCorvey revealed her name.

“I was surprised that a women who was not so sure about her ideas, and eventually changed them, became a household name without people knowing her story or real name,” Ann Bishop, junior occupational therapy major, said. “McCorvey seemed really unsure of herself and her beliefs throughout her life and it seems like her lawyers took advantage of her to have the perfect plaintiff to take a case to the Supreme Court.”

After the ruling, McCorvey supported abortion rights and worked at a Dallas women’s clinic throughout the 80s and early 90s.

During this time she wrote one of her two memoirs, “I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice,” which discussed the case, her story before and the years following it.

In 1995, she became an evangelical Christian and joined the antiabortion movement Operation Save America, then known as Operation Rescue. She later converted to Catholicism, left Operation Save America and created her own prolife group, Roe No More Ministry. With her group, she traveled across America and spoke out against abortions and the Roe v. Wade ruling.

She wrote her second memoir in 1998, “Won By Love” about her conversion and reluctance to becoming the poster child of abortion rights and regret.

“I’m really surprised she changed her views, but it was later in life,” Jordan Hendershot, junior occupational therapy major said. “I’m interested to see how her death and late opinions will be used in future cases against Roe v. Wade.”

In 2005, McCorvey attempted to challenge the ruling but was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court.

“I don’t think her latest stance on anti-abortion movements should be taken into account because they are her opinions,” Hendershot said. “Unless the Supreme Court is presented with scientific evidence that would support overturning the law, the ruling should stand firm and future cases should not use her opinion.”