‘I decide’: Jane Roe and the struggle for autonomy


‘I decide’: Jane Roe and the struggle for autonomy

Jon O’Brien
Catholics for Choice
Feb 24, 2017

"I wasn’t the wrong person to become Jane Roe, I wasn’t the right person to become Jane Roe. I was just the person who became Jane Roe, of Roe v Wade.’ (I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v Wade, and Freedom of Choice, by Norma McCorvey and Andy Meisler, 1994.)

On 18 February, Norma Leah McCorvey – better known as Jane Roe of the landmark US Supreme Court case Roe v Wade – died in Katy, Texas at the age of 69. During her life McCorvey was both a symbol of perseverance and a target of derision for many people. Those who once hailed her wound up deriding her, and vice versa: she was patient zero of the modern pro-choice movement, though she later became one of the most forceful voices of the anti-choice opposition. She was a bisexual in a committed relationship who later became a born-again Christian denouncing her sexuality, and who later still became a Catholic eschewing her born-again identity. She was written off as a naive tool of more powerful forces, slandered by former associates as a money-hungry opportunist, and hailed as an advocate par excellence by those on the left and right of the political spectrum.

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