11:41, February 21 265 0 abajournal.com

2017-02-21 11:41:10
Plaintiff in ‘Roe v. Wade’ dies at 69; she later switched sides and opposed abortion rights

Norma McCorvey, who was the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, has died at the age of 69.

McCorvey died from a heart ailment on Feb. 18 at an assisted living facility in Texas, report the Washington Post and the New York Times. The source for the information was Joshua Prager, a journalist working on a book about Roe v. Wade.

McCorvey was anonymous when she was the plaintiff in the suit that established a constitutional right to abortion in 1973. She revealed her identity in the 1980s. The in 1995 she became a born again Christian and announced that she opposed abortion except in the first trimester, according to the Post. She joined the movement against abortion rights and later became a Catholic.

McCorvey gave birth before the Supreme Court decision and gave the baby up for adoption. She was represented by Dallas lawyers Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, though she had little contact with them, according to the Times. Remaining anonymous, she didn’t testify or go to court and “was uninvolved in the proceedings,” the newspaper says.

According to the Times, McCorvey’s childhood “had been a Dickensian nightmare. By her own account, she was the unwanted child of a broken home, a ninth-grade dropout who was raped repeatedly by a relative, and a homeless runaway and thief consigned to reform school. She was married at 16, divorced and left pregnant three times by different men.” She said she suffered from suicidal depression, and battled drugs and alcohol.

She had worked at a waitress, bartender, carnival worker and house painter. She had a 35-year lesbian relationship, putting her at odds with many antiabortion conservatives who applauded her conversion but viewed lesbianism as immoral, the Washington Post says.

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