The protection of preborn human life in the womb was dealt a deadly blow on Jan. 22, 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions in all 50 states.
One of the legal cases, Roe v. Wade, involved a woman known to the Court as “Jane Roe.” Her real name was Norma McCorvey. McCorvey, who later became a Christian pro-life activist, died Feb. 18, 2017.
The following is an excerpt from January 2003 Focus on the Family magazine article by Tom Neven, which chronicles some of McCorvey’s life:
In 1969 Norma McCorvey was a self-described hippie and often unhappy. “I’d been on the streets since I was 9 or 10,” she says. "I often told my mother, I wish I could find the person who invented life. I'd slap ’em."
She was pregnant for the third time—the second time out of wedlock—and looked into getting an abortion. The illegal abortion clinic she was referred to was, in the mildest terms, disgusting.
“There was dried blood all over the floor and on the side of this makeshift table,”
McCorvey says. “There was a grip hanging from the ceiling. I guess that's what the girls would hold on to. This was before they were given mild anesthesia. I saw the conditions of the place and went outside to get ill.”
Eventually, McCorvey was recommended to two young women fresh out of law school, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee. She lied to them, saying she had been gang-raped.
“They said, ‘Well, you know, women have the right to vote,’" McCorvey says.
“I’m sitting there and thinking, Well, I may live part time in the streets and part time at my dad’s but I’m not stupid, okay?” They were treating me like I was stupid, and I resented that.
“Then they said, 'Well, Norma, don't you think women should have rights to their own reproductive organs?' And I'm going, like, yeah. I wasn't real sure what they were talking about, but then you have to understand that I stayed stoned a lot.”
They told McCorvey that the case was only about Texas' abortion laws. (Ironically, because the case dragged out in the courts, McCorvey never got an abortion. She placed the baby for adoption.) When she found out that the case had gone all the way to the [U.S.] Supreme Court and resulted in legalizing abortion in all 50 states, she was stunned.
"I sat in the dining room that night and just kept rereading the newspaper story and drinking—drinking and thinking,” she says. “It made me sad to know that my name, even though it was a pseudonym, would always be connected to the death of children.”
McCorvey got a straight razor and started cutting her wrists a little at a time. "That didn't work, so I went out and I got as many pills as I could. I took all of them and chased it with a quart of Johnny Walker, thinking I would die, and I wouldn't ever have to talk to Sarah Waddington or Linda Coffee again. But that was not God's plan for me.”