Roe v Wade plaintiff turned pro-lifer dies at 69

What happened?

Norma McCorvey, the Roe of the infamous US abortion judgment Roe v Wade, has died. In 1969, aged 22, she sought an abortion after becoming pregnant with her third child. The case went to the Supreme Court, with McCorvey taking the pseudonym “Jane Roe”. McCorvey later said she was exploited by her legal team to lead the Supreme Court to effectively legalise abortion in America.

Years later, McCorvey became a pro-life activist and then a Catholic.

What the media are saying

The New York Times described the traumas of McCorvey’s early life, before the crisis pregnancy: she was an “unwanted child of a broken home, a ninth-grade dropout who was raped repeatedly by a relative, and a homeless runaway and thief consigned to reform school. She was married at 16, divorced and left pregnant three times by different men.”

But, as the Washington Post observed, she never actually had the abortion which became the centre of a landmark legal case. The baby was adopted, and McCorvey only emerged in public in the 1980s.

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