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Roe v. Wade Plaintiff Dies at Age 69

Roe v. Wade was a famous Supreme Court decision in 1973 that legalized abortions in the U.S. The landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion prompted a national debate that continues today about issues including whether, and to what extent, abortion should be legal. The anonymous plaintiff in the case, “Jane Roe,” recently died at the age of 69. Her real name was Norma McCorvey.

What you didn't know about Norma McCorvey

What many people did not know about Norma McCorvey:

  • Her name - many people did not know her name because she filed her lawsuit in 1970 as the anonymous plaintiff “Jane Roe” to fight for her right to an abortion.
  • Why she filed - McCorvey came from an abusive household. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father left the family when McCorvey was just a teen. McCorvey actually gave birth to 3 children, and it was when she was carrying her third child that she initiated the lawsuit to give her the legal right to an abortion. McCorvey herself became addicted to alcohol and drugs.
  • She never had an abortion - McCorvey never had the abortion. Her third child was born and adopted.
  • Pro-life - In 1995, McCorvey changed and became a pro-life activist, which she continued until her death.

Forty-three years have passed since Row v. Wade but it remains a landmark decision that many people remember to this day, resulting in two autobiographies, multiple films, and countless articles about McCorvey's involvement as Jane Roe. According to The Washington Post, McCorvey died of heart failure at an assisted-living facility in Katy, Texas. It was reported that she was working on a book about Roe v. Wade.

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