Set in Texas, a 22-year old, white, unmarried pregnant woman (Jane Roe) challenged the constitutionality of the state’s abortion laws in the 1970s. Then Texas laws prohibited ALL abortions within its state boundaries, except by a doctor’s orders to save a woman’s life.
For a historical perspective, in 1969, Roe gave birth to her first daughter, Melissa, at the age of sixteen. Roe divorced the father of her child before Melissa was born. She gave her mother, who she described as raging alcoholic, custody. Her next daughter, Jennifer, she put up for adoption. Then, after unwillingly giving birth to her third child (Roe baby), who according to Roe was conceived during a rape, she was resigned to yet another private adoption.
Shortly after her last daughter was born, Roe was contacted by Texas lawyers, Linda Coffee & Sara Weddington, seeking a woman to represent in their lawsuit challenging Texas’ anti-abortion laws and women’s right to privacy concerning medical treatment and procedures.
So, who is Jane Roe? The name Jane Roe, adopted from anonymous John Doe, was not well-educated, therefore she struggled to communicate. She wasn’t well-off; she was poor with limited resources. And when Roe had her last daughter, she was on drugs. Born to an unwed mother herself, Roe struggled to get her life together.
She agreed and the case proceeded as Roe vs the district attorney, Henry Wade, of Dallas County, where she resided, with lawyers Linda & Sara at the helm. The case was filed in 1971 and the SCOTUS handed down its ruling, establishing the constitutional right to abortions in 1973. The rest is history…well, it was and until recently.
Fast forward to the mid-nineties, Roe was living as a lesbian, actually working in an abortion clinic, when, according to her daughter Melissa, with who she maintained contact, she was offered an unspecified amount of money from an unspecified group/person, to publicly change her position from pro-choice to “100 pro-life.” She did – complete with TV cameras makingher identity well known –as Norma McCorvey. She ended her lesbian relationship because her now Christian persona, believed same-sex relationships was wrong and left her job to work for a non-profit, pro-life organization.
Once again, she realized she was being used for the advancement of a position, but she could not clearly articulate.Norma went quietly in seclusion. It wasn’t until she was dying that Norma McCovey made it clear that she would have NEVERchanged her mind about abortions if it weren’t for the money, a new job and life, she was afforded.
Norma McCorvey died in a nursing home in Katy, Texas – the western part of the greater Houston metropolitan area, in one.
Amendments that were the basis of the first SCOTUS decision.
9th amendment states, that the federal government doesn’t own the rights that are not listed in the Constitution, instead, they belong to the people. Basically, rights not specified or called out in the constitution, belong to the people.
13th amendment says, states cannot deprive citizens of life, liberty, or property without due process. This amendment endorsed other rights and prevented states from implementing laws that restrict those not explicitly stated in the Constitution…like “Abortions.”
14th amendment provides a fundamental right to privacy which protects a pregnant woman’s liberty/choice to have an abortionand provides for equal protection by law.
SCOTUS punted…and punted hard to states to determine and decide what abortion laws to implement for themselves – regardless of the previous ruling and the above amendments.
In Florida where I reside, if DeSantis has his way, the law he signed in April of this year, will prevent abortions after 15-weeks of conception, effective 1 July. There are two lawsuits against this Florida law. Stand-by.
In other states, over half of the 50, severely restrictive abortionsmay drive pregnant teens and women to neighboring states or across the border to Mexico, for unauthorized/credentialled backroom abortions, abortion pills delivered by mail, and unwanted infants, subjected to abandonment, neglect, abuse, and even death.
Opinion piece by Tena Lawyer 6/26/2022