It is true that as Martin Scicluna explained in his opinion piece ‘The Issue of Abortion’, Norma McCorvey under the anonym Jane Roe became the central figure of Roe vs Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalised abortion for millions of American women. It is worthwhile remembering that this ruling was formally passed when McCorvey had already carried her pregnancy to term and had given up her child for adoption.
It is also true that for about 20 years, McCorvey was a staunch defender of abortion rights, working for a time at a Dallas women’s clinic where abortions were performed.
But one has also to remember that in the mid-1990s, after the publication of her first memoir I am Roe, McCorvey underwent a dramtic conversion after becoming a born-again Christian and began working for the anti-abortion and pro-life movement Operation Rescue.
She then championed against abortion rights granted by the case that bears her pseudonym, voicing remorse for her part in the Supreme Court decision.
In her second book Won by Love, which she published in 1998, she also explained her change on the stance of abortion.
On August 17, 1998, McCorvey was received into the Roman Catholic Church by the renowned Fr Frank Pavone. As a Catholic, she travelled around the country speaking against abortion. She also formed her own group, Roe no More ministry.
In May 2009 she was arrested on trespassing charges after joining more than 300 anti-abortion demonstrators when President Barack Obama spoke at the University of Notre Dame. In February 2008 McCorvey petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the 1973 decision with McCorvey v Hill. She argued that she had standing to do so as the original litigant in Roe v Wade. The petition was denied by the Supreme Court.