All too often we forget that the names behind Supreme Court cases were real people living real lives in real circumstances. Rarely did “winning” a Supreme Court case make one of these peoples’ lives truly better.
This was certainly the case for Jane Roe, Norma Leah (Nelson) McCorvey who died today at 69.
Norma Nelson had already had a hard life when she met Woody McCorvey and married him at 16. She became pregnant by McCorvey but left him when she accused him of attacking her. She developed a drinking problem, announced she was a lesbian, and moved in with her mother by the time the child was born; her mother successfully schemed to have the baby taken away from Norma. McCorvey had a second child, and then, when she got pregnant for a third time, sought the abortion that led to the landmark decision Roe v Wade in 1973. (McCorvey had that child as well. The child was placed for adoption.)
Later, McCorvey became an activist in the pro-life movement, converted to Roman Catholicism, and announced she was not gay.
I recite this biography not to criticize: I wouldn’t dare. Rather, I simply hope that, in our era of caricature and lazy inhumanity, we can recognize that we are all complex people, and not all of us bear the pressures of life with equal strength. Sometimes, compassion is what we have to rely on to make it all work.
cross-posted from my Tumblr blog: ferdifz.tumblr.com via IFTTT.
Originally posted on February 19, 2017 at 06:18PM. [Tumblr direct link]