'Jane Roe' of Roe v. Wade Dies at 69

Norma McCorvey later became a staunch anti-abortion crusader
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 18, 2017 2:15 PM CST
McCorvey, Who Was at Center of Roe v. Wade , Dead at 69
In this April 26, 1989 file photo, Norma McCorvey and her attorney Gloria Allred hold hands as they leave the Supreme Court building in Washington after sitting in while the court listened to arguments in a Missouri abortion case.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Norma McCorvey, whose legal challenge under the pseudonym "Jane Roe" led to the US Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion but who later became an outspoken opponent of the procedure, died Saturday. She was 69. McCorvey died at an assisted living center in Texas, journalist Joshua Prager, who is working on a book about McCorvey told the AP. He said she died of heart failure. McCorvey was 22, unmarried, unemployed, and pregnant for the third time when in 1969 she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman's life. The subsequent lawsuit, known as Roe v. Wade, led to Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that established abortion rights.

Decades later, McCorvey underwent a conversion, becoming an evangelical Christian and joining the anti-abortion movement. A short time later, she underwent another religious conversion and became a Roman Catholic. "I'm 100 percent pro-life. I don't believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it's still a child. You're not to act as your own God," she said 1998. Prior to that, though, she was an ardent supporter of abortion rights and worked for a time at a Dallas women's clinic where abortions were performed. Her 1994 autobiography included abortion-rights sentiments along with details about dysfunctional parents, drug abuse, alcoholism, an abusive husband, an attempted suicide, and lesbianism. (More Norma McCorvey stories.)

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