8 things you didn't know about Roe from Roe v. Wade

Long thought of as a crusader for women's rights, McCorvey is now a born-again Christian who regularly stumps for anti-abortion groups.

As Roe v. Wade turns 40 this week, the woman at the heart of the abortion-rights case has largely been forgotten.

A profile in the February 2013 issue of Vanity Fair sheds light on Norma McCorvey (the "Roe") and her checkered past. McCorvey was the main plaintiff in the watershed suit. She was referred to as "Jane Roe" in court to protect her anonymity at the time.

No longer perceived as a feminist icon, McCorvey is a complicated figure, sometimes hidden, oftentimes broke and currently anti-abortion.

1. The "Roe" pregnancy was McCorvey's third. Her first came when she was 17, after she'd dropped out of high school and married a man six years her senior. They later separated after he abused her. According to Vanity Fair, McCorvey was also hit regularly by her mother, Mary Sandefur, who's now 90 and suffering from dementia.

2. McCorvey granted custody of her first child, Melissa, to her mother, who says McCorvey abused drugs and alcohol and was incapable of caring for the baby. McCorvey's second pregnancy occurred when she was 20. She gave that baby away for adoption.

3. McCorvey never ended up getting the abortion she sought in "Roe." The case hadn't even made it to the Supreme Court by the time she gave birth to her third child, whom she also gave up for adoption.

4. McCorvey, who was bisexual, moved in with her lesbian partner, Connie Gonzalez, following the "Roe" decision.

5. McCorvey lied publicly at least twice, according to Vanity Fair. After the "Roe" decision, she briefly claimed the pregnancy stemmed from her being raped. She later rescinded that claim, and there is no mention of rape in any court documents. McCorvey also told media that she and Gonzalez were shot during a home invasion in the late '80s. Gonzalez denies this ever happened, as do other friends, who speculate McCorvey spun the tale to grab attention.

6. McCorvey opened and shuttered many anti-abortion charities in the years following "Roe." She also gained funds through book deals and TV rights to her story. She was, despite these projects, impoverished in the years following her landmark case. Acquaintances accuse her of habitually selling her story for money. She demanded a $1,000 interview fee from Vanity Fair for the latest story, but the magazine refused to pay her.

7. In 1995, McCorvey changed her mind and decided she would become an ardent anti-abortion advocate. She became a baptized, born-again Christian. In 1998, she converted to Roman Catholicism. At this time, various Christian groups and charities were paying her honoraria and speaking fees.

8. Today, McCorvey, 65, is starring in a low-budget film, "Doonby," where she convinces a troubled young girl to keep her child and find religion. The movie stars John Schneider from "The Dukes of Hazzard," who's also a born-again Christian.

 

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