Original Roe v Wade mum who later became pro-life dies

The woman at the centre of the historical legal test case to introduce abortion in the USA has died aged 69.

Norma McCorvey, who used the pseudonym “Jane Roe” in the 1973 court case which legalised abortion nationwide, passed away at a care home in Texas.

After the case, she said that it was “the biggest mistake of my life”, and also promised to spend “the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name”.


McCorvey never actually aborted the child at the centre of the case – instead she gave her up for adoption.

Following her death, pro-life groups praised her change of heart.

Norma McCorvey was born in 1947 to an alcoholic mother and a father who later left the family.

In 1970, when she was pregnant with her third child, she was selected to take part in the case challenging the law on abortion.


She did not know the meaning of “abortion”, according to The Gospel Coalition, thinking it simply meant ‘going back’ to not being pregnant.

…the biggest mistake of my life
Norma McCorvey

McCorvey never appeared in court, but on 22 January 1973, the Supreme Court ruled by 7-2 that there was a right to abortion under the Constitution.

She stayed quiet for many years after the case, but then began campaigning in favour of abortion.


However, in 1995 after talking to the leader of a pro-life group, she changed her mind and began speaking for the pro-life cause.

She later became affiliated with the group Priests for Life. Its National Director, Frank Pavone, said: “She was victimized and exploited by abortion ideologues when she was a young woman but she came to be genuinely sorry that a decision named for her has led to the deaths of more than 58 million children.”

Americans United for Life said McCorvey would be “greatly missed”.


The organisation’s Acting President Clarke Forsythe said: “Since the days of Roe v. Wade, countless women have been harmed and infants lost to the devastation of abortion.

“The case was decided without a trial record, without medical evidence, without reliable medical data.

“I and many others have been touched by Norma’s courage and humility as she spoke on behalf of life.”

Her family thanked well-wishers for their support, while also expressing their need for privacy.

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