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Court rejects motion to overturn Roe v. Wade

• Opinion:  McCorvey v. Hill (FindLaw, PDF)external link
• Opinion:  Carhart v. Ashcroft (FindLaw, PDF)external link
• FindLaw: U.S. Supreme Court Opinion  (Stenberg v. Carhart) external link
• Ruling on: Nat'l Abortion Federation v. Ashcroft (FindLaw, PDF)external link

(CNN) -- A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court dismissed a motion Tuesday from the original plaintiff in Roe v. Wade to have the landmark 1973 abortion case overturned, a court clerk said.

Norma McCorvey's motion asserted she had new information that would affect the case, but the panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana, rejected her claim, said Rhonda Flowers of the clerk's office.

"The case has been dismissed," Flowers said.

In her motion, McCorvey had argued that abortions cause women long-term emotional harm.

McCorvey is "Jane Roe," the pseudonym she assumed to remain anonymous as the lead plaintiff in the case that legalized abortion in the United States.

Once an abortion-rights supporter, McCorvey has switched sides: She's now a vocal anti-abortion activist.

She began her association with one of the most contentious and volatile sociopolitical issues in 1970, when she became the lead plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit challenging the strict anti-abortion laws in Texas.

The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Its January 1973 decision legalized the right to an abortion in all 50 states and sparked a political debate that remains charged to this day.

Many challenges to Roe v. Wade have sought to limit when abortions can be performed.

Last week, a third federal judge ruled a ban on late-term abortions was unconstitutional, citing a lack of an exception when a woman's health is in danger. (Full story)

McCorvey's life

McCorvey, who was 21 when the case was filed and was on her third pregnancy, never had an abortion and gave birth to a girl, who was given up for adoption.

McCorvey went public with her identity in the 1980s and wrote a book about her life called "I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice."

In the book, McCorvey, a ninth-grade dropout, describes a tough life, explaining that she suffered physical and emotional abuse as a child, spent some time in reform school and was raped as a teenager. She also tells of her alcohol and drug abuse, and experiences with lovers of both sexes.

Her first child, Melissa, was raised by her mother; her second child was raised by the father, and the couple agreed that McCorvey would never contact her.

She drifted through a series of dead-end jobs, including work as a bartender and a carnival barker. Once she went public with her story, she worked in several clinics where abortions were performed and did some public speaking, garnering publicity and a little bit of celebrity.

In 1995, McCorvey was working at a Dallas women's clinic when the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue moved its offices next door.

She and the Rev. Phillip Benham of Operation Rescue struck up a relationship across the protest lines when she would go outside to smoke.

Benham, an evangelical preacher, began discussing Christianity with McCorvey. She became friendly with some of Operation Rescue's office staff, and then she accepted an invitation from the daughter of the group's office manager to attend church. That night, she converted to Christianity.

McCorvey co-wrote a book about her religious conversion titled "Won By Love."

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