Norma McCorvey, the force behind the historical Roe V. Wade Supreme Court ruling, which legalized abortion in the U.S. in 1973, has died at 69-years-old. McCorvey is better known as Jane Roe, the pseudonym she used to remain anonymous during the trial.
It was at age 22, during her third pregnancy that McCorvey sought an abortion. She could not find any doctors in the state of Texas to perform the procedure since it was illegal at the time. It was only legal for women to get abortions if the mother was endangered. McCorvey was not endangered; rather, she wanted the abortion because she was unmarried and had already had two children.
Her case was taken up in 1970 by attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Waddington. Her case eventually made it to the Supreme Court, but by the time the ruling was passed. McCorvey had carried to term and given up the child for adoption.
The ruling had a large impact in the United States, establishing women’s constitutional right to an abortion in all 50 states.
In 1995, McCorvey converted to Christianity and became an anti-abortion activist. In 1997, on the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade she told CNN, “I’m very sad (about the anniversary). But this year, I’ve got so much to do, I don’t have time to sit down and be sad.”
McCorvey’s daughter reported that she had died of heart failure Feb. 18.
Abortion is currently legal in Texas, and women have the constitutional right to get a surgical abortion up to 20 weeks into pregnancy. In 2016 the Supreme Court blocked a law in Texas that required clinics and hospitals to bury or cremate fetus remains.
In early January, Texas state representative Tony Tinderholt proposed a bill that would eliminate all abortions at every stage of pregnancy. The bill would make no exemption, including women pregnant with fetus abnormalities or pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest.