Attempt to revisit Roe nixed
By Jenny Hartgraves
DALLAS–Efforts by Norma McCorvey–“Jane Roe” from Roe vs. Wade–and her legal team to reverse the 1973 abortion case were rejected June 19 as a federal judge ruled her petition for reconsideration did not come in a “reasonable time.”
Thirty years after the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion, McCorvey filed a motion June 17 in the downtown Dallas County Courthouse to reopen the case. Her efforts were made possible by a legal team headed by Allan Parker of San Antonio and joined by Virginia Armstrong, professor of political science emeritus at Hardin-Simmons University.
McCorvey's team believed they had a strong case based on the basic issue of whether or not an unborn child is a person.
“The Supreme Court said specifically it was not in 1973, but now scientific evidence proves that they were wrong,” Armstrong said. Other issues included in the petition were the effects of abortion on McCorvey, the effects of abortion on women in general and the methods and motives of the abortion industry. All the data collected was unavailable in 1973.
David Godbey, federal judge in the northern district of Texas, said in his eight-page order that this type of petition must be filed in “reasonable time,” meaning “weeks or months, not decades.”
“Whether or not the Supreme Court was infallible, its Roe decision was certainly final in this litigation,” Godbey wrote. “Other parties in other cases may be able to re-examine those issues, but not McCorvey in this case.”
McCorvey filed a Rule 60 motion, a provision that permits a litigant to request the federal courts “relieve” a party from a final act of the courts.
In January 1973, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Roe vs. Wade to overturn state laws prohibiting abortion. More than 40 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States since that ruling.
McCorvey began working for an abortion-rights organization but became a Christian in the 1990s. Since then, she has become an anti-abortion activist.
Upon filing the motion, she said, “I'm sorry I signed the affidavit (in Roe v. Wade). I want to do everything in my power to help women and their children.”
With reporting by Staff Writer Kambry Bickings and Baptist Press