Norma McCorvey, better known as “Jane Roe” in the Roe vs Wade court battle that saw the right to abortion legalised in the United States, has died at the age of 69, the New York Times reported.
Ms McCorvey’s death was caused by heart failure, according to Joshua Prager, who is writing a book on the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court decision.
According to the Times, following the ruling, about 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States.
Ms McCorvey grew up in a broken home, raped by relatives, married at 16 and soon divorced, hooked on drugs and alcohol, and identifying as a lesbian. By her teenage years was living on the streets, where she was discovered – aged 22 and pregnant – by activists looking for a name and face to put to their drive to legalise abortion.
After signing a one-page affadavit, she was never called to appear in court. She herself never got an abortion, with the Supreme Court only passing the ruling 4 years after it was first filed.
A lesser-known fact about Ms McCorvey is that in later years, won over by the conviction and compassion of pro-life activists, she herself started to campaign against abortion, calling herself “100% pro-life”.
“Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception.’ It wasn’t about ‘missed periods.’ It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs.”
“I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. (But) I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth – that’s a baby!,” she would recount in her book, Won By Love.
“I felt ‘crushed’ under the truth of this realisation. I had to face up to the awful reality.
“Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception.’ It wasn’t about ‘missed periods.’ It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong.
“No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion – at any point – was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.”