Norma McCorvey, plaintiff in Roe. v. Wade abortion case, dies

Updated 6:25 PM EST, Sat February 18, 2017
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Story highlights

Norma McCorvey later regretted her role in Roe v. Wade, a priest says

The 1973 Supreme Court decision legalized the right to an abortion

(CNN) —  

Norma McCorvey, known as “Jane Roe,” the anonymous plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court case that established a constitutional right to abortion, died on Saturday, a priest close to her family said. Multiple media sources said she was 69.

McCorvey died at 12:07 p.m. ET in the Houston area with her daughter, Melissa, and several grandchildren present, the Rev. Frank Pavone said on Facebook.

Pavone did not give the cause of death but said McCorvey had been a heavy smoker and had respiratory problems. She’d been in and out of assisted living facilities over the past year.

McCorvey once supported the pro-choice movement but switched sides in 1995. She converted to Christianity, joined anti-abortion activists and started an outreach group called Roe No More.

“I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name,” McCorvey said in an anti-abortion TV advertisement.

Landmark ruling

McCorvey began her association with one of the nation’s most contentious and volatile sociopolitical issues in 1970 when she became the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit challenging the Texas law that prohibited abortions except to save a pregnant woman’s life. The defendant was Henry Wade, the longtime district attorney in Dallas County.