Roe v Wade 50th Anniversary is January 22, 2023

January 19, 2023

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50 years later we have nothing to celebrate after the SCOTUS Dobbs’ decision killed Roe v Wade and removed constitutional protections of reproductive rights from American women and people with uteruses.

Roe v Wade overturned image

Is this what it feels like to get divorced just a few months before a big wedding anniversary? 

So, instead of celebrate, we will commemorate and continue the work to put it back. We must take to the streets again (yes, AGAIN!) to make our voices heard.

We will NOT stand for this oppression of bodily autonomy of over half the population of the United States. 

Reproductive rights went 5 for 5 last November in the midterm elections: 

Montana and Kentucky voted DOWN potential Abortion Bans.

While California, Vermont, and Michigan all voted to codify Roe v Wade-like reproductive rights protections into their state constitutions. 

ABC News map of states with abortion initiatives

But until we have restored Roe v Wade protections across all 50 states, at the Federal level, we cannot rest, and our work must continue. 

Origins of Roe v Wade

We cover the Roe Origin Story in WE’RE NOT GOING BACK! (2022) Pro-choice documentary. 

Essentially the Women’s Alliance of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Texas wrote the initial amicus brief on the topic.  Over a few years they organized and fought for what eventually became the legislation at the state and then ultimately Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) level. 

Here is our Roe Origin Story Trailer for the film for the 2-minute version: 

WNGB Roe Origin Trailer

In addition to Roe, Texas has a long history of fighting on both sides for and against women’s rights and reproductive protections.

Here’s a good summary article from the ACLU about the history of reproductive rights laws/fights in Texas:

Women in the Shadows

What we didn’t have time for in the film was the interesting and somewhat controversial story of Norma McCorvey, aka “Jane Roe”, the woman behind the lawsuit, or the baby she was forced to carry and birth who grew up to have her own opinion about reproductive rights. 

Jane Roe Sought Publicity

‘Jane Roe’ was pregnant but didn’t have the means to have another child.  In conjunction with the group that had formed to discuss the matter, she filed suit against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade, since abortion was illegal in the county.

Just days after the 1973 Roe SCOTUS decision, Norma McCorvey revealed herself as ‘Jane Roe’. 

But it took several years until 1989 for her to be more public in support of the pro-choice movement.

Soon after going public, she sought help finding her birth daughter, who was the “Roe baby”.   

Civil Rights Attorney Gloria Allred and the tabloid the National Enquirer helped her find her daughter.

Attorney Gloria Allred and Norma McCorvey during a Pro Choice Rally, July 4, 1989 in Burbank, California.Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

Born again in Dallas: After her baptism, in 1995, McCorvey publicly took a pro-life stance. (Bob Daemmrich / ZUMA Wire / Alamy)

Then, after her “born again” baptism in 1995, McCorvey took a pro-life stance in the public eye. 

Around this time, she was paid by GOP operatives to say that she had been tricked into being part of the original Roe v Wade legislation and really wanted to have the baby anyway.

On her deathbed, however, McCorvey came clean and admitted that she was desperate for money later in her life and succumbed to the trickery and persuasion of the GOP.  (Yes, the Right have been relentless in their dirty tricks from the beginning).

Can You Say “Roe Baby Roe”?

Since the courts move much slower than a growing fetus, the baby in question for the Roe v Wade legislation was born, adopted, and grew up mostly outside the public eye.  She didn’t even know her connection to the Roe legislation until after the tabloid the National Enquirer found her. 

She remained anonymous for the Enquirer article in 1989, but was quoted as being “pro-life” at that time.  A few years later, she found herself pregnant at the age of 20.  Apprehensive about being a young mother, she reexamined her stance on the abortion issue, even though she decided to carry her pregnancy to term. 

Josh Prager interviewed and identified the “Roe Baby” for his revelatory 2021 book The Family Roe: An American Story.   

Last year, in the wake of the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v Wade, she spoke to ABC and clearly stated her disapproval with the decision: 

“I believe that the decision to have an abortion is a private, medical choice that should be between a woman, her family, and her doctor,” she said.

“We have lived in times of uncertainty and insecurity before, but to have such a fundamental right taken away and this ruling be overturned concerns me of what lies ahead.”

Shelley Lynn Thornton, aka 'Roe Baby'
Shelley Lynn Thornton, aka “Roe Baby”; (Tracy Nguyen for The Atlantic)

Bigger than Roe

It took the Patriarchy over 40 years to take our rights away, so we can’t ever give up this fight to restore them.  I know we are all tired, but we must continue and stand up for our rights.

Map of Women's Marches in US for January 22, 2023
Map of Women’s Marches in US for January 22, 2023

The Women’s March organization has been fighting for women’s rights since The Former Guy (aka 45 or TFG) was inaugurated on January 20, 2016.

This Sunday, they are at it again with organized marches in every major city and many small towns across the land.

Join a Women’s March on Sunday, Jan. 22nd 

Join our Community!

Until reproductive rights are restored across the United States, our work is not done..

We must continue to promote awareness, build coalitions, and get aligned as we take our fight to the streets, courtrooms, and voting booths at elections.  

Join our Facebook Group!

I hope this blog and community will aid in these efforts to resist the patriarchy and align within the feminist community, and we can smile and laugh along the way.  Join us on this journey and crusade! 

References: 

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https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2021/09/jane-roe-v-wade-baby-norma-mccorvey/620009/

https://abcnews.go.com/US/live-updates/supreme-court-abortion/?id=85396940#85812533

https://news.yahoo.com/biological-daughter-jane-roe-slams-014903316.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/08/21/roe-v-wades-forgotten-loser-the-story-of-dallas-prosecutor-henry-wade/

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