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‘Roe’ asks high court to overturn 1973 decision legalizing abortion


DALLAS (BP)–The woman whose suit against Texas law resulted in the legalization of abortion in the United States is asking for the reversal of that 1973 Supreme Court opinion.

Norma McCorvey — “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade decision — announced June 17 she is petitioning the high court to reopen the case.

“I’m sorry I signed the affidavit [in the original case],” she said, according to Fox News, after filing a motion in federal court in Dallas. “I long for the day that justice will be done and the guilt from all of these deaths will be removed from my shoulders. I want to do everything in my power to help women and their children.”

In January 1973, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to overturn state laws prohibiting abortion. In combination with the Doe v. Bolton opinion released at the same time, the justices’ action had the effect of permitting abortion for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy. More than 40 million legal abortions have occurred in the United States since then.

After working for an abortion rights organization, McCorvey became a Christian and a pro-lifer in the 1990s. She later converted to Catholicism.

“Nothing would be more fitting than for her to be the catalyst that reversed the horrible damage done to women and children by the barbarous Roe v. Wade decision,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.


Land acknowledged there are not enough votes on the high court to overturn Roe, “but there may be by the time it gets there,” he said.

Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix adopted a resolution June 18 reaffirming their opposition to Roe v. Wade and urging Southern Baptists to pray and to work for its repeal. The convention also repudiated SBC resolutions in the early 1970s that supported abortion rights.

McCorvey and her allies believe science, technology and abortion’s impact on women for the last 30 years make it the right time for the justices to revisit the decision, Fox reported.

“There’s no doubt there’s an enormous wealth of info we have now in 2003 that we did not have in 1973 … that cannot be ignored,” said Olivia Gans of the National Right to Life Committee, according to Fox.

Abortion-rights advocates and some legal specialists minimize the chances of a reversal. “I don’t believe that the courts are going to take this seriously in any sort of legal framework,” said Elizabeth Toldeo of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Fox reported.

Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said McCorvey’s effort “has no chance because the Supreme Court has endorsed and reinforced Roe v. Wade consistently since it came out.”

The state attorney general and Dallas district attorney each have 20 days to respond to McCorvey’s motion, Fox reported.