June 27th, 2022
A surprising percentage of younger, modern abortion activists are unaware that Roe v Wade is considered a Supreme Court ruling which established a precedent, not an actual law. Even more still are unaware of the true history behind the court ruling, and the implications that weighed heavily on a single woman.
Norma McCorvey, better known as “Jane Roe”, is a little-known name with a marginalized voice, but her pseudonym is synonymous with abortion access in the United States.
McCorvey was 22 years old when she appeared as a plaintiff in the landmark 1973 case that enshrined a woman’s right to get an abortion. In a reversal that shocked many at the time, McCorvey became a fierce opponent of Roe v Wade, and soon after was all but forgotten by the media.
In 1969 the legendary “Jane Roe” was pregnant for the third time living in the largely conservative south. Her first daughter, whom she birthed as a teenager, was primarily raised by her parents, and the second was put up for adoption.
McCorvey was briefly married at the age of 16 and recalled how her mother beat her when she came out as a lesbian. In addition to her familial crises, McCorvey had a drinking problem and not a penny to her name.
After the birth of her first child, she “quickly realized that she was not fit to be a mother,” nor did she want to be. This is according to author and journalist Joshua Prager, who wrote the book “The Family Roe”.
Faced with the possibility of a third child, McCorvey began to consider abortion. The only problem was that in Texas, the state where she lived at the time, abortion was illegal. In those days, solutions for unwanted pregnancies included secret clinics or traveling to a state that authorized abortion, but at the time McCorvey “simply could not afford it”.
It was at this time that McCorvey was referred to attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee. The young lawyers had purportedly been seeking a pregnant plaintiff with whom they could take abortion all the way to the Supreme Court. They found exactly what they were looking for in Norma McCorvey and thus “Jane Roe” was born.
The lawyers achieved their goal, the historic decision set the precedent for women to receive abortions, but the ruling came several years later, meaning that the woman credited with setting the precedent for legal abortion never received her abortion. She gave birth to the third child, colloquially referred to as “Baby Roe”, and gave the child up for adoption.
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Although initially not involved in the abortion rights movement, McCorvey came out of the shadows in the late 1980s, doing multiple interviews, participating in demonstrations, and even writing the bestseller “I Am Roe.”
Finally seeking the limelight, she fell somewhat short, however, with the feminist movement little inclined to let her speak. “She was not very educated. And they really marginalized her, they pushed her away,” Prager said, explaining that the rejection came as a slap in the face.
Eventually, in the mid-1990s, after years spent defending access to abortion and having even worked in a clinic herself, McCorvey declared that she was opposed to the procedure. The turnaround came shortly after meeting evangelical pastor Flip Benham.
McCorvey became an active Protestant, growing ever more evangelical, before later converting to Catholicism — strongly defending her new convictions along the way.
“My lawyers did not tell me that I would later come to deeply regret that I was partially responsible for killing 40 to 50 million human beings,” she said during a 2005 congressional hearing.
In one of the saga’s great ironies, Dallas County prosecutor Henry Wade, who argued in the opposite camp before the Supreme Court, was privately in favor of abortion, according to Prager.
It is difficult to know the true feelings of McCorvey, who died in 2017. Prager said that at the end or her life, she told him she was in favor of abortion through the first trimester.
Her oldest daughter, Melissa Mills, expressed outrage at the Supreme Court’s possible reversal of the Roe decision, revealed in a leaked draft opinion in early May.
“I think mom would be turning in her grave because she was always pro-woman,” Mills told USA Today. Shelley Thornton, McCorvey’s third child also known as “Baby Roe,” never met her birth mother.
Ryan DeLarme is a disillusioned journalist navigating a labyrinth of political corruption, overreaching corporate influence, high finance, compromised media, and the planned destruction of our constitutional republic. He is also a Host and Founder at Vigilant News. His writing has been featured in American Thinker, Winter Watch, Underground Newswire, and Stillness in the Storm. He also has written scripts for television series featured on Rise.tv. Ryan enjoys gardening, creative writing, and fighting to SAVE AMERICA