WASHINGTON -- The woman whose famous abortion case led to the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision said in an interview released Tuesday she lied when she told lawyers her unwanted pregnancy was the result of a gang rape.
Norma McCorvey, the woman called 'Jane Roe' in the famous 1973 decision that said women had a constitutional right to an abortion, told WUSA-TV in an interview to be broadcast Sept. 13 that she fabricated the rape story to get around a Texas law that banned abortions except to save the mother's life. McCorvey never had the abortion.
Roe vs. Wade is one of the decisions pro-choice advocates fear will be overturned if conservative Judge Robert Bork is confirmed by the Senate to replace the moderate Justice Lewis Powell, who resigned earlier this year.
Sarah Weddington, the Austin, Texas, lawyer who represented McCorvey, told United Press International Tuesday, 'The issue of how Jane Roe became pregnant is irrelevant to the case. There was nothing in any of the papers filed with the court or in any of the oral arguments made that related to the cause of the pregnancy.
'Rather, the case was about a young woman who was pregnant, who didn't want to be pregnant, and who had been denied an abortion because of the provisions of the Texas anti-abortion statute.
'All of these facts are true. No fact was ever presented to the court unless I was certain we could prove it,' she said.
While rape was never an issue in the case, public opinion was considered swayed by the media accounts detailing what McCorvey claimed was a gang rape by three men and a woman while she worked for a circus in Georgia.
'I found out I was pregnant through what I thought was love,' McCorvey said in the interview with Carl Rowan. 'When I came back to Texas ... I went to my doctor. ... I told him I wanted an abortion, that I did not want to carry the child because of economic reasons. ... He told me that abortions were illegal in the state of Texas and that I would have to go to another state in order to obtain a legal abortion.'
In the interview with the Washington CBS affiliate, McCorvey said, 'How dare them tell me that I couldn't abort a baby that I did not want ... and couldn't have control over my own body.'
McCorvey said she had the baby and put it up for adoption, then told the rape story to the lawyers who took her case to the Supreme Court.
Asked if she is as certain of her support now for the right to an abortion as she was 18 years ago when she first took her case to court, she said, 'More so.'