Thursday, February 23, 2017

Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, dies

Washington Post (February 18, 2017): Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade decisions legalizing abortion nationwide dies at 19, by Emily Langer:

Last Saturday, Norma McCorvey who was plaintiff "Jane Roe" in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade died at age 69.  Roe v. Wade was a landmark in American jurisprudence and is widely quoted in reproductive rights cases around the world.  While the case is widely regarded as a success by reproductive rights activists, McCorvey's life and relationship with the pro-choice movement has been much more complicated. 

According to the most sympathetic tellings of her story, she was a victim of abuse, financial hardship, drug and alcohol addiction, and personal frailty. For much of her life, she subsisted at the margins of society, making ends meet, according to various accounts, as a bartender, a maid, a roller-skating carhop and a house painter. She found a measure of stability with a lesbian partner, Connie Gonzalez, but even that relationship reportedly ended in bitterness after 35 years.

In 1995, she converted to Evangelical Christianity and become an anti-abortion activist.  According to Emily Langer

But neither did Ms. McCorvey find a comfortable home among conservatives in the antiabortion movement, many of whom regarded lesbianism as immoral.

“Neither side was ever willing to accept her for who she was,” the historian David J. Garrow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and the author of “Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade,” said in an interview.

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