Where Are They Now? Norma McCorvey

Who Were They Then?

Norma Nelson was born Sep 1947 in a small town in Louisiana and raised in Houston, Texas. From the age of ten she was in and out of trouble with the law and at the age of sixteen she married Woody McCorvey, a sheet-metal worker. When he learned she was pregnant, he turned violent and she left him after only two months. She gave birth to a little girl, Melissa, who was adopted by Norma’s mother, against the baby’s father’s wishes. In 1967, Norma gave up another child, Paige, for adoption and hasn’t seen her since. Then, in 1969, after a casual fling, Norma found herself pregnant for the third time. Working in a circus, not knowing where her next meal would come from or where she would spend the night, she could not imagine bringing another child into the world. As she would later write of this time, “I was a street kid. I lived with my dad part-time and on the streets part-time. I sold flowers on the street corner. These aren’t high-paying jobs.” She finally made the difficult decision to have an abortion. The problem was that in 1969 Texas, abortion was illegal. After seeing the horrible conditions in an underground abortion clinic and deciding against that, she was introduced to two lawyers, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee. They wanted to get the ban on abortions overturned and were looking for a suitable test case. Poor, not wanting to bring another child into the world, and unable to afford a trip to a state where abortion was legal, Norma McCorvey was just what they were looking for.

She was given a pseudonym, Jane Roe. A class action suit was filed against then- Dallas District Attorney, Henry Wade. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court where, on Jan 22, 1973, they handed down their 7-2 ruling in the landmark case of Roe v. Wade. While it was a great victory for women that almost didn’t happen, the ruling was no help to Norma McCorvey, who had her baby three years before the Supremes ruled in her favor. She has not seen her child since a nurse accidentally handed the baby to her for feeding, not knowing that Norma was giving the baby up for adoption. She did not look at the baby’s face then, before having the nurse take it away, and she has no idea what her child looks like today.

Roe v. Wade remains one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in our nation’s history. (In the interests of full disclosure, I support the right of a woman to undergo whichever medical procedures she wishes on her own body. Our bodies belong to no one but ourselves, and no one else has a right to force us do things to it, such as carry a baby to term. Women are not property, and they do not “belong” to any man who impregnates them. That is Neanderthal-level thinking and it has no place in 21st-century society.) According to Bob Woodward’s The Brethren, Norma was close to losing her famous case altogether. In the original vote, taken when the Justices first discuss the case, Chief Justice Warren Burger assigned the case to recently confirmed new Associate Justice Harry Blackmun. They were going to rule against Jane Roe. But Harry took his time and wanted to make sure he really understood the issue, and he eventually came to the conclusion that the answer to the question of “Does a woman have a constitutional right to have an abortion?” had to be, “It depends.” And that’s how we got Roe v. Wade.

Norma has had a change of heart in recent years. She has joined up with Randall Terry and his Operation Rescue forces in the fight to overturn the Supreme Court decision that bears her pseudonym. Though she does not support the use of violence, she still wants to work with them despite the murder last month of Kansas OB/GYN Dr. George Tiller (a well-known expert in late-term abortions) by a supporter of Operation Rescue. (Note: These late-term abortions are done out of necessity, not convenience, no matter what anyone tells you.) On a personal note, I feel sad for her because her views are formed from her religious views, and not on scientific fact. She, herself, has never had an abortion, yet because of her, women in the United States have, theoretically, a constituitional right to have one. There are dark forces out there that simply will not abide by the teaching of “Live and let live,” and leave it as choosing to never have an abortion themselves. (Even easier for the men.) Instead, they want to deny the opportunity for a choice for everyone else. That is not how a believer in the Gods these people worship is supposed to behave. I seem to recall a message of “Judge not, lest yee yourself be judged.” I’m not the one professing to a belief in Christianity, so I feel totally free to pass judgment on these people. They are wrong.

Where Are They Now?

On Monday, July 13, 2009, Norma McCorvey was among several anti-abortion protesters ejected from the Senate Confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

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12 thoughts on “Where Are They Now? Norma McCorvey

  1. Now that Norma is too old to get pregnant she is against abortion. Typical.

    Great post Wayne. I didn’t know any of this.

  2. This is an excellent post. I did not know many of these facts. My passionate belief in a woman’s right to choose her own destiny has never waivered. “Pursuit of happiness” is an unalienable right of every human being on this Earth. Period.
    What the religious lunatcs fail to grasp is the desperation felt by many young women upon learning they are pregnant. Abortions take place every day in every country in the world. Legalizing the procedure just makes it safer and less lethal.

  3. I guess the anti-choice crowd thinks that having McCorvey on their side is some sort of signal that they’re more right?

    Idiots.

  4. So McCorvey actually chose to have an abortion, despite it’s illegality, because she couldn’t support the kid and herself. and didn’t want to go through with the pregnancy to then give the kid away.

    Then she chose chose NOT to have an abortion, NOT because it was illegal or because of her religious convictions (choosing to have an abortion in the first place already negated that nation) BUT because she was (rightly) worried about the medical risk to herself.

    She’s apparently perfectly willing to forgive Operation Rescue members for their murders so that she can revoke her own past and perhaps expunge her guilt for her ‘failures’ as a mother .

    Most significantly she’s palling around with murderous terrorists just so that she can feel better about herself, and she’s willing to support a national campaign whose goal is to condemn millions of American women to the same desperate and dangerous choices and victimization she herself faced–AND REJECTED, for the very same reasons women demand the choice that this twisted woman is now trying to deny them!

    Incredible.

  5. Making the choice to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is almost never simple or easy, but it always is very personal. It amazes me that people who are not involved in any way with such a decision feel that they have, or should have the right to impose their opinion on someone!

    My mother was a nurse and was the most pro-choice person I’ve ever met. No, she never had an abortion, most likely never would have, but she saw women bleed to death, endure horrible pain and massive infection, or lose their reproductive capability permanently because of illegal abortions.

    Abortion didn’t begin with Roe, it’s been practiced for thousands of years. It was made safe and legal, and gave women control over their bodies and their lives, which apparently some folks just can’t live with.

  6. Aside from the belief that women have the right to control their own bodies concerning pregnancy, I would like to add a bit of information from Thom Hartmann here.

    Several times he has stated that male-dominated societies always grow in population, while societies where women have equal rights maintain, or even reduce, their population.

    There are already too many of us for this planet to support, resorting to artificial means to feed so many, overfishing our oceans, and in some places, polluting our rivers and streams until they are useless as sources of food.

    We no longer need to be the biggest tribe to be secure. Pragmatism requires that we reduce our populations, on all the continents. We can’t let the religious blind us to these inevitabilities, or their version of the end of humankind could be a cakewalk compared to what we’ll really face.

    Therefore, women’s rights are vital to the survival of us all.

  7. male-dominated societies

    We can’t let the religious blind us to these inevitabilities

    There, you said it all. I believe that religion was created by men as a way to control women.

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