Norma McCorvey was just 22 years old when she fell pregnant for the third time.
As an unmarried and unemployed young woman without stability, Norma sought to end her pregnancy.
She had a troubled childhood and a long history of run ins with law enforcement, plus issues with alcohol and drug use, and felt she was in no position to care for a child.
Explaining abortion to Uncle Barnaby. Post continues below video.
At age 15, Norma had married 21-year-old Elwood McCorvey, but he, she stated, could be violent and she divorced him even before the birth of their first daughter, Melissa, when Norma was 16.
Melissa was adopted by Norma’s mother Mary.
At age 19, she became pregnant again. At birth, this baby was given to a waiting adoptive couple.
When she fell pregnant for a third time, it was 1969 and abortion was illegal in Texas, except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.
Desperate, Norma resorted to visiting an underground abortion doctor but ended up walking out because of the “filth and cockroaches”.
So she decided to file a case. Under the pseudonym ‘Jane Roe’, she filed a case which would famously become known as Roe v Wade, to challenge the criminal abomination laws in Texas. Norma claimed that she had been raped, but in the end her case was rejected.
Despite being forced to give birth (the child was placed for adoption), Norma’s actions that day would go on to change the course of American history.
The case took three years of trials to reach the US Supreme Court in 1970 and another three years for the court to hand down its decision. In 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its historic 7-to-2 ruling, which finally saw the legalisation of abortion in all 50 states.
But by that time, Norma’s baby had already been given up for adoption.