I Am Roe: My Life, Roe vs. Wade, and Freedom of Choice

Overview

Norma McCorvey was a pregnant unwed mother of two when she took her fight for a legal abortion to the Supreme Court. Norma wasn't anyone's idea of a role model in 1973, a gritty, working-poor woman from Louisiana who couldn't face the psychological pain of carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term, only to give up the child for adoption. She initially sought a back-alley abortion but, terrified by what she found, she fled. Shortly afterward, she was introduced to a team of public-spirited attorneys and gained a new...
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Overview

Norma McCorvey was a pregnant unwed mother of two when she took her fight for a legal abortion to the Supreme Court. Norma wasn't anyone's idea of a role model in 1973, a gritty, working-poor woman from Louisiana who couldn't face the psychological pain of carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term, only to give up the child for adoption. She initially sought a back-alley abortion but, terrified by what she found, she fled. Shortly afterward, she was introduced to a team of public-spirited attorneys and gained a new identity: Jane Roe, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the court case that guaranteed freedom of choice for all American women. Ironically, the Supreme Court decision came too late to help Norma. Frightened and alone, she eventually gave birth to the child she never wanted to have and surrendered the infant for adoption. After giving birth, she suffered a profound depression - compounded by her abandonment by the Roe lawyers: Norma learned of the high court decision one day while reading a newspaper. After a suicide attempt, she spent many years as a recluse, drifting from city to city and job to job. In 1989, shortly after revealing her identity to a reporter, Norma's house was the target of a drive-by shooting. To her credit, instead of hiding, she chose to speak out, with the 1989 March on Washington beginning her emergence as a public figure. Norma McCorvey's story is that of a woman both ordinary and extraordinary, whose private anguish blossomed into a public triumph for all American women in the battle for reproductive freedom.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The spiritual/intellectual distance Roe falls below a Gandhi, a M.L. King, or many other symbolic persons is painfully obvious in her writing (we suppose Andy Meisler could write better but chose to retain the country flavor--or flatness). An un-heroic account of a very common lady swept along by outside forces. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Mary Carroll
This autobiography of the long-invisible plaintiff in the case that produced the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision that the Texas law prohibiting abortion was unconstitutional is better written and more interesting than even most pro-choice readers would probably expect. McCorvey, who first acknowledged publicly that she was "Jane Roe" in 1984, has never been a "simple" feminist hero: she spent several years in reform school, dropped out of school, worked as a waitress, bartender, and carnival barker, had three unmarried pregnancies, lied to her "Roe" lawyers that her third pregnancy had been caused by rape, and admits to problems with alcohol and drugs, one suicide attempt, and a monumental temper; in 1989, she disclosed that she is a lesbian. Freelance journalist Meisler no doubt helped McCorvey pace her story and blend the tale of her life with developments in the national struggle over abortion. But what makes "I Am Roe" fascinating autobiography is the sense that, as she nears 50, McCorvey has come to terms with her past. Younger pro-choice women in particular will want to know more about the troubled, feisty, chip-on-her-shoulder survivor who was Jane Roe.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060170103
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 256

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