Page 3, 19th March 2004

19th March 2004
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Page 3, 19th March 2004 — Abortion law: the battle commences
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Abortion law: the battle commences

Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in the Roe vs Wade case that gave America legal abortion, is fighting to reverse the ruling

BY SIMON CALDWELL

THE WOMAN whose case led to the legalisation of abortion on demand in the United States has told British politicians that she is fighting for the law to be overturned.

Norma McCorvey visited Parliament to tell MPs and peers that she was mounting a legal challenge to overturn the Roe vs Wade ruling under which 44 million abortions have been carried out since 1973.

The ruling by the US Supreme Court established abortion as a constitutionally protected right, but Miss McCorvey is exercising a unique right of her own, under American law, to challenge it because as the plaintiff Jane Roe she was a party in the original decision.

She told politicians in Portcullis House, London, that she was convinced that the ruling was fundamentally unjust. She was accompanied by Allan Parker, a Professor of Law and the chief executive of the Justice Foundation, who, in an attempt to bolster her case, has documented the testimonies of more than 1,000 women who claim abortion has harmed them.

She also delivered a devastating first-hand account of how she had been manipulated by the pro-abortion movement to secure the change in the law. Miss McCorvey said: “The pro-abortion movement misled me and I should know. I was used by it to force through the legalisation of abortion in the United States. My life’s work is now devoted to seeing Roe vs Wade overturned by the US Supreme Court.

“They lied to me and the continue to lie to thousands of women each day about the damage that abortion does to women’s physical and psychological health.” Miss McCorvey, 56, from Texas, explained how she became involved in the landmark legal battle after she fell pregnant for the third time at the age of 22 years. She sought an abortion at an illegal clinic but was horrified at the squalid conditions and refused to go through with the procedure.

She was then approached by Texan lawyers Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee and was persuaded to be the plaintiff in a lawsuit against the State of Texas, which progressed to the Supreme Court.

After the case, Miss McCorvey gave birth to a baby girl who she gave up for adoption but she was dropped by the pro-abortion movement. She nevertheless worked in abortion clinics and continued to attend rallies.

“I started changing my mind concerning abortion back in the early 1980s,” she said. “I was in Santa Rosa, California, and a woman came up to me and said, ‘I would like to thank you for my abortions.’ “I said, ‘Abortions? What do you mean? How many have you had?’. She said, ‘Eight or nine, who keeps count?’ It was clear she was using abortion as contraception.” Miss McCorvey said that she encountered another woman who was seeking a late-term abortion simply because she was carrying a girl when she wanted a boy.

Drink and drugs soon came to dominate Miss McCorvey’s life as she struggled with her conscience. She was also sacked from an abortion clinic for suggesting to a woman that she gave up her baby for adoption instead of killing it.

She told politicians that she was disgusted by the poor standards of hygiene in clinics and said one owner refused even to pay for cleaning products, and left it to his staff to buy bleach out of their own wages.

Her conversion to Christianity occurred, she said, when she accompanied two children to a service during the 1990s. She was baptised into the Baptist Church in 1995 and moved from a job in an abortion clinic to a job in the nearby national offices of Operation Rescue, a pro-life group.

In 1998, she completed her autobiographical account of her conversion, Won By Love, and in the same year was received into the Catholic Church by Fr Edward Robinson, a Dominican priest, and Fr Frank Pavone, the international director of Priests for Life.

Miss McCorvey told The Catholic Herald that she was “absolutely happy” in the Church and attended Mass as often as she could.

She said she felt God had called her to the Faith — to “higher things” — and added that her mother had been brought up a Catholic.

At the end of her address, Lord Alton of Liverpool, treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, which had invited Miss McCorvey to Britain, received copies of the affidavits collected by Mr Parker.

Lord Alton said: “These sworn statements give the lie that choices carry no consequences. The law may say it’s just ‘my right to choose’ but these accounts tell a very different story.

“You cannot trivialise the taking of your own child’s life. The developing life of a child cannot be reduced to yet another of life’s choices. You may be able to scrape the baby out of a mother’s womb, but never out of her heart.” Mr Parker said that Miss McCorvey’s case had been rejected by a judge in Texas and was under appeal by a judge in New Orleans. He said it would be resolved by the Supreme Court within the next three years.

John Gummer: Page 9




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