Norma McCorvey
Born Norma Lee Nelson
September 22, 1947 (1947-09-22) (age 69)
Simmesport in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana
Other names Jane Roe
Occupation Director, Crossing Over Ministry
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Woody McCorvey (divorced)
Partner Connie Gonzales (1970-92)
Children Melissa, plus two others

Norma Leah McCorvey (née Nelson, born September 22, 1947, in Simmesport, Louisiana), better known by the legal pseudonym "Jane Roe", was the plaintiff in the landmark American lawsuit Roe v. Wade in 1973.[1] The U.S. Supreme Court overturned individual states' laws against abortion by ruling them unconstitutional. Years later she recanted her support of abortion rights.[2]


The Roe v. Wade case took three years of trials to reach the United States Supreme Court. In the meantime, McCorvey had not aborted, but had given birth to the baby in question. Prior to the case, she claimed that her pregnancy was the result of rape. Later however, she admitted this was a fabrication.[3] [4]

In the 1980s, McCorvey revealed herself to be the "Jane Roe" of the famous case, and that she had been the "pawn" of two young and ambitious lawyers (Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee) who were looking for a plaintiff with whom they could challenge the Texas state law prohibiting abortion.[5]

In 1994, McCorvey converted to Christianity and expressed remorse for her part in the Supreme Court decision and has worked as part of the pro-life movement, such as Operation Rescue. She also repudiated her lesbian lifestyle since her conversion and is now a member of the Catholic Church.

Personal Life and Conversion

In her 1994 autobiography, I Am Roe (her first book), McCorvey wrote of her sexuality. For many years she had lived quietly in Dallas, Texas with her long-time partner, Connie Gonzales. "We're not like other lesbians, going to bars," she said in a New York Times interview. "We're lesbians by ourselves. We're homers."[1]

At a signing of I Am Roe, in 1994, McCorvey was befriended by activist Flip Benham. Within a year, McCorvey converted to Christianity. She was 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 become an advocate of Operation Rescue's campaign to make abortion illegal.

In her book, Won by Love, McCorvey wrote:

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.[6]

In 1998, 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.[7] She has also stated that she is no longer a lesbian.[8] On August 17, 1998, she was received into the Catholic Church by Father Frank Pavone, the International Director of Priests for Life and Father Edward Robinson in Dallas.

In 2005, in McCorvey v. Hill, McCorvey petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 decision, arguing that the case should be heard again in light of evidence that the procedure harms women, but that petition was denied.

Despite asking for an abortion in her original suit, McCorvey never had the procedure. She gave birth to a girl, who was put up for adoption.[1] As is common in cases heard by the Supreme Court, the court decision took longer than the nine-month pregnancy.

On January 22, 2008, McCorvey endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul. McCorvey stated, "I support Ron Paul for president because we share the same goal, that of overturning Roe v. Wade. He has never wavered on the issue of being pro-life and has a voting record to prove it. He understands the importance of civil liberties for all, including the unborn."[9]

McCorvey is still active in anti-abortion/pro-life demonstrations [10][11] like that before President Barack Obama's commencement address to the graduates of the University of Notre Dame. The decision to have Obama speak at the school on May 17, 2009 was met with some controversy because his opinions on abortion differ from those of the Catholic Church. She was arrested during the first day of hearings for the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor after she and another protester started yelling during the opening statement of Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.).[12]

TV movie



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Norma McCorvey; Of Roe, Dreams And Choices" By Alex Witchel in The New York Times (July 28, 1994)
  2. Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court collection, Cornell University Law School
  3. McCorvey, Norma. Won by Love (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997), p. 241.
  4. McCorvey, Norma. Testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights (1998-01-21), quoted in the parliament of Western Australia (PDF) (1998-05-20).
  5. - Who is 'Jane Roe'?, Jun. 18, 2003
  6. Roe v. McCorvey
  7. Priests for Life: Norma McCorvey's Ministry and Website
  8. Duin, Julia (January 21, 1996), "Jane Roe's 'turn to God' complete", The Washington Times 
  9. 'Jane Roe' endorses Paul -
  10. "Obama calls for 'common ground' on abortion at Notre Dame", CNN, May 18, 2009
  11. "19 arrested at ND",WSJV
  12. "'Jane Roe' Arrested at Supreme Court Hearing", Washington Post, July 13, 2009

External links

ja:ノーマ・マコービーsv:Norma McCorvey

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