who is “Jane Roe”, a woman who has become a symbol in battle?

In 1969, when the story of the court case begins, this rural, conservative South American is 22 years old and pregnant for the third time. Her first daughter, whom she had as a teenager, was raised by her parents, and her second was adopted. Briefly married at 16, abused by her family when she confessed to them being a lesbian, Norma McCorvey has a serious alcohol problem and not a penny in her pocket. Above all, she realized shortly after the birth of her first child “that she was not made to be a mother and that she did not want to be”, relates journalist Joshua Prager, author of a very detailed book. , “The Family Roe”.


She is referred to attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee. Far from being an activist, Norma McCorvey is simply looking for a way to end her pregnancy. The two young women are looking for a plaintiff to defend abortion before the Supreme Court. This is how Norma McCorvey becomes “Jane Roe”, a name used to anonymize her. His lawyers achieve their goal, obtaining a historic decision from the Supreme Court a few years later. But for the young woman behind it, it’s too late. She had her child, later dubbed “Baby Roe”, and given up for adoption.

Initially withdrawn from the movement which calls itself “pro-choice”, Norma McCorvey “came out of the shadows” at the end of the 1980s, says Joshua Prager. She multiplies the interviews, participates in demonstrations and even writes a bestseller, “I Am Roe”. She seeks to be in the light, but is not unanimous within the feminist movement, little inclined to let her speak. “She was not very educated. And they really marginalized her,” says Joshua Prager.

“Fortunate activist”

Norma McCorvey converted to Protestantism – then, later, to Catholicism – and strongly defended her new convictions. “My lawyers had not told me that I would later deeply regret the fact that I am partly responsible for the death of 40 to 50 million human beings”, she declared in 2005 before a commission parliamentary.

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