5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Roe v. Wade

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down its famous Roe v. Wade decision, which protected a woman’s ability to choose whether or not to give birth. Here are 5 things you should know about Roe v. Wade on its anniversary...


Jane Roe’s Real Name Was Norma Leah McCorvey Jane Roe, the 21-year-old represented in the Supreme Court decision was actually Norma McCorvey, a woman who had already given up two children for adoption. She originally tried to say she had been raped, which was the only way to get a legal abortion in Texas, but the evidence was lacking, so she contacted two lawyers and took the case to court.

McCorvey Never Actually Had An Abortion It took over three years before a decision came from Roe v. Wade. During that time, McCorvey, despite being the woman in the case, never once attended a trial and ended up having the baby. Again, McCorvey put the baby up for adoption.


The Court Ruled in Favor of McCorvey in a 7-2 Decision On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down the watershed ruling that a woman's right to make her own medical decisions, including the choice to have an abortion, is protected under the 14th Amendment. After the decision, SCOTUS had to work on consent issues, both parental and spousal, as well as struggling with appropriate waiting periods for women hoping to get an abortion.

McCorvey Has Tried To Have Roe v. Wade Overturned In 2003, after converting to Christianity, McCorvey filed a motion to have Roe v. Wade overturned, citing that "abortion hurts women." The following year, the motion was dismissed. Norma McCorvey eventually became a Christian, left her job at an abortion clinic, and would go on to become a powerful pro-life voice. 
McCorvey died in an assisted living home in Texas at age 69, in February 2017.

Most Americans Support Legal Abortion Public opinion on legalized abortions has changed little since the time Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. According to Gallup polls in 1975, 21 percent of respondents supported abortion for any reason, 54 percent supported it under certain conditions and 22 percent were against it. In the latest poll taken in 2019, 25 percent of respondents supported abortion for any reason, 53 percent under certain circumstances and 21 percent opposed it.