Roe v. Wade plaintiff Norma McCorvey dies | News | DW | 18.02.2017
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Roe v. Wade plaintiff Norma McCorvey dies

McCorvey changed the US legal landscape forever as "Jane Roe" of the milestone court case. She later converted to evangelical Christianity and became a pro-life activist.

Norma McCorvey, the woman at the center of the landmark US Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, died on Saturday at the age of 69. According to a journalist who had been working closely with McCorvey, she died of heart failure after a long illness, surrounded by her family.

In 1969, when she was 22, McCorvey found herself unemployed, without a partner and pregnant for the third time. She later said that her mother had tricked her into signing away custody of her oldest child and then kicked her out of the house. She became pregnant a second time and let the baby be adopted.

She attempted to secure an abortion where she was living in Texas, but it was illegal unless the mother's life was at risk. The lawsuit that followed eventually became known as Roe v. Wade for McCorvey's pseudonym, "Jane Roe," and the Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade.

The Supreme Court's ruling allowing abortion across all 50 states did not come down until 1973, by which time McCorvey had given birth to her daughter and placed her for adoption.

McCorvey became an ardent advocate of abortion rights through the 1980s and into the early 1990s. However, she underwent a religious conversion in 1995 that prompted her to abandon both her pro-choice stance and her romantic partner, Connie Gonzales.

She then threw her support behind a number of pro-life causes and told the Associated Press in 1998: "I don't believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it's still a child. You're not to act as your own God."

es/sms (AP, AFP)

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