Home WORLD AMERICA “Jane Roe”, a woman tossed about in the American battle for abortion

“Jane Roe”, a woman tossed about in the American battle for abortion


In 1969, when the story of the court case begins, this rural, conservative Southern American is 22 years old, and she is pregnant for the third time. Her first daughter, whom she had as a teenager, was raised by her parents, and her second was adopted.

Briefly married at 16, abused by her family when she confessed to them being a lesbian, Norma McCorvey has a serious alcohol problem and not a penny in her pocket. Above all, she realized shortly after the birth of her first child that she was not made to be a mother and that she did not want to berelates the journalist Joshua Prager, author of a very detailed book, The Family Roe.

Except that in 1960s Texas, where she lives, abortion is illegal. Solutions exist, in clandestine clinics or States which authorize it, but the young woman just can’t afford itsays Joshua Prager at theAFP.

She is referred to attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee. Far from being an activist, Norma McCorvey is simply looking for a way to end her pregnancy. The two young women are looking for a plaintiff to defend abortion before the Supreme Court.

A woman stands on the handle of a broom.

Jane Roe in 1983, when she was 35 years old.

Photo: Associated Press/Bill Janscha

This is how Norma McCorvey becomes Jane Roe, name used to anonymize it. His lawyers achieve their goal, obtaining a historic decision from the Supreme Court a few years later. But for the young woman behind it, it’s too late. She had her child, later nicknamed baby Roeand given up for adoption.

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Initially withdrawn from the pro-choice movement, Norma McCorvey emerged from the shadows at the end of the 1980s, says Joshua Prager. She multiplies the interviews, participates in demonstrations, and even writes a successful book, I Am Roe.

She seeks to be in the light, but is not unanimous within the feminist movement, little inclined to let her speak. She was not very educated. And they really marginalized hersays Joshua Prager, who assures that she was struck by this rejection.

Finally, in the mid-1990s, after having spent years defending access to abortion, even working in a clinic, she declared herself opposed to theAbortionshortly after meeting an evangelical pastor, Flip Benham.

Norma McCorvey converted to Protestantism – then, later, to Catholicism – and strongly defended her new convictions.

A man in a cassock holds a woman in his arms.

Norma McCorvey with Reverend Robert Schenck in 1996.

Photo: Associated Press/Cameron Craig

My lawyers did not tell me that I would later deeply regret the fact that I am partly responsible for the death of 40 to 50 million human beingsshe declared in 2005 before a parliamentary commission.

Ironically, Dallas County prosecutor Henry Wade, who had pleaded for the opposite camp before the high court, was in favor of the right to abortion, assures Joshua Prager.

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It is difficult to know the real opinion of Norma McCorvey, who died in 2017. The journalist assures us that she told him, at the end of her life, to be in favor of abortion until the first trimester, thus returning to her first decision. public position – and called Roe v. Wade, his law.

Rumors explained his volte-face by a so-called jackpot offered by the other camp. It makes no sense, says Joshua Prager. Having remained poor all her life, she nevertheless turned his complaint into a livelihoodbeing notably paid for speeches.

A woman gives a speech outside the Supreme Court, surrounded by people with signs.

Norma McCorvey speaks to the Supreme Court with activists for the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2005.

Photo: Getty Images/Travis Lindquist

She was a fortuitous activistshe who desperately wanted attention, love, acceptancehe judges.

His eldest daughter, Melissa Mills, expressed outrage at the Supreme Court’s possible reversal in early May.

I think mom would turn in her grave, because she’s always been in favor of women.she told USA Today.

As for baby RoeShelley Thornton, who never saw her biological mother again, she told ABC News that she was convinced that Norma McCorvey had been used by both sides, but has also benefited both sides.

A woman in front of two microphones.

Norma McCorvey in 1998.

Photo: dpa via getty images / CHRIS KLEPONIS

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