Who is Roe?

On the anniversary of the Supreme Court Decision regarding Roe vs Wade I searched for the answer to a question that I’ve had for some time. Who is Roe? What motivated me in this search was the curious lack of news coverage of the annual Right To Life March in Washington D.C. each year since the Supreme Court’s decision. I attempted to find out the why by finding the who. The following information is provided by Wikipedia. It is the real woman behind the identified Roe and her story. 

In 1969, at the age of 21, McCorvey became pregnant a third time. She returned to Dallas. According to McCorvey, friends advised her that she should assert falsely that she had been raped and that she could thereby obtain a legal abortion under Texas’s law which prohibited abortion; sources differ over whether the Texas law had such rape exception. Due to lack of police evidence or documentation, the scheme was not successful and McCorvey would later admit the situation was a fabrication. She attempted to obtain an illegal abortion, but the respective clinics had been closed down by authorities.

Eventually, McCorvey was referred to attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who were looking for pregnant women who were seeking an abortion. The case took three years of trials to reach the United States Supreme Court, and Norma never attended a single trial. In the meantime, she had given birth to the baby in question, who was eventually adopted.

McCorvey revealed herself to the press as being “Jane Roe” soon after the decision’s issuance and stated that she sought an abortion because she was unemployable and greatly depressed. In the 1980s, McCorvey asserted that she had been the “pawn” of two young and ambitious lawyers (Weddington and Coffee) who were looking for a plaintiff with whom they could challenge the Texas state law prohibiting abortion.

In her first book, the 1994 autobiography, I Am Roe, McCorvey wrote of her sexual orientation. For many years, she had lived quietly in Dallas with her long-time partner, Connie Gonzales. “We’re not like other lesbians, going to bars,” she explained in a New York Times  interview. “We’re lesbians together. We’re homers.” That same year, she became a Christian and voiced remorse for her part in the Supreme Court decision. McCorvey has worked as part of the pro-life movement, such as Operation Rescue.

At a signing of I Am Roe, McCorvey was befriended by evangelical minister and National Director of Operation Rescue Flip Benham and later baptized on August 8, 1995, by Benham, in a Dallas, Texas, backyard swimming pool, an event that was filmed for national television. Two days later she announced that she had quit her job at the abortion clinic she was working at, and had become an advocate of Operation Rescue’s campaign to make abortion illegal.

McCorvey’s second book, Won by Love, was published in 1998. She explained her change on the stance of abortion with the following comments:

I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. 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!

I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. 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. Signing that affidavit, 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.

Shortly thereafter, McCorvey released a statement that affirmed her entrance into the Roman Catholic Church, and she has been confirmed into the church as a full member.

McCorvey has also stated that she is no longer a lesbian. On August 17, 1998, she was received into the Roman Catholic church by Father Frank Pavone, the International Director of Priests for Life and Father Edward Robinson in Dallas.

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About Alan A. Malizia: Contagious Optimism! Co-Author

Retired mathematics teacher and high school athletics coach. Honors: 1988 Ct. Coach of the Year for H.S. Girls Voleyball and 2007 Inducted into the Ct. Women's Volleyball Hall of Fame. Since retiring have written two books; "The Little Red Chair," an autobiography about my life experience as a polio survivor and "A View From The Quiet Corner," a selection of poems and reflections. Presently I am a contributing author for the "Life Carrots" series primarily authored by Dave Mezzapelle of Goliathjobs.com.
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2 Responses to Who is Roe?

  1. Such an interesting story Alan. A woman who certainly went through many difficult experiences to eventually find her truth and herself. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An important story that not many knew, Karen.
    The realization of the truth is most perplexing in one’s life. For it requires the courage to change.
    Thanks for reading and your wise comment.
    -Alan

    Like

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