Roe V Wade Case: Abortion History-Maker Wants Ruling Reversed ; ROE V WADE CASE Litigant at Centre of Landmark Supreme Court Judgment Recants and Says: `I Was Used and Exploited by Women's Movement'
Dejevsky, Mary, The Independent (London, England)
"JANE ROE", whose name is immortalised in the Supreme Court judgment that gave American women the constitutional right to an abortion, could soon be back in court, trying to get that landmark judgment reversed.
In papers lodged with the US attorney-general yesterday, Ms Roe, whose real name is Norma McCorvey, attached her name to a case already filed in New Jersey that aims to revisit the whole question of abortion rights. She now claims she was "used and exploited" by the women's movement.
According to her lawyer, this is a rare - perhaps the only - example of a litigant in a landmark case seeking to return to court many years later to say the judgment was wrong and plead for it to be overturned.
Ms McCorvey, who has eschewed the limelight since revealing her identity several years ago, barely overcame her shyness to talk to reporters to explain her decision yesterday. She stumbled over her words and almost broke down as she read her statement and sections of her affidavit.
Her introduction encapsulated the original drama in all its spare simplicity: "My name is Norma McCorvey and I reside in Dallas, Texas. I was the woman designated as `Jane Roe' as plaintiff in Roe v Wade, the US Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion. On 22 January, 1973, the Supreme Court declared it was unconstitutional for my state to prohibit doctors from performing abortions."
She went on to complain that the case was essentially a fraud. "As `Jane Roe' of Roe v Wade," she said, "I was used and exploited in the women's movement and the Supreme Court of the United States."
She had met her lawyers in the case only twice, she said, the first time over pizza and plentiful beer. She had not understood the word "abortion", which she associated only with war films in which pilots "aborted" their missions. It was only later when, still poor and homeless, she took jobs in abortion clinics, that she understood that "abortion is the taking of a human life" and a "fundamental violation of the mother's interests".
Ms McCorvey's change of heart on abortion rights became public several years ago when she first revealed her identity, and it was a gift for the fervent anti-abortion lobby, which has never been reconciled to the Roe v Wade judgment. However, the decision of "Jane Roe" to associate herself with the New Jersey casebrings the issue back into the public domain at a highly sensitive time.
With the presidential election in November, the religious right is already angling to have the Republican nominee, now confirmed as George W Bush, undertake to name a running mate who is anti- abortion and to promise …
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Publication information: Article title: Roe V Wade Case: Abortion History-Maker Wants Ruling Reversed ; ROE V WADE CASE Litigant at Centre of Landmark Supreme Court Judgment Recants and Says: `I Was Used and Exploited by Women's Movement'. Contributors: Dejevsky, Mary - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: March 16, 2000. Page number: 18. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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