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Norma McCorvey, ‘Jane Roe’ Of Roe V. Wade, Dies in Katy At 69

Lorie Shaull/Flickr
Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and her lawyer Gloria Allred on the steps of the Supreme Court.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas woman behind landmark abortion case dies; Texas election officials suggest hundreds may have voted improperly; marchers gather in downtown Dallas to support immigrants and refugees; and more.

Norma McCorvey, the Texas woman behind the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, died Saturday morning at an assisted-living facility in Katy. She was 69. McCorvey died of heart failure, after several years of deteriorating health, according to a close family friend.

McCorvey was 22, unmarried and struggling with addiction and poverty in 1969 when she became the anonymous lead plaintiff, Jane Roe, in the watershed Supreme Court ruling that allowed women to get abortions in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. ​She sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman's life. By the time of the Supreme Court ruling, ​McCorvey had already given birth and given her daughter up for adoption. She later shed her "Roe" pseudonym and eventually came out as an abortion opponent and born-again Christian.

Throughout the 1980s, though, she was a pro-choice activist and worked at an abortion clinic in Dallas for a period of time. She later put out a book detailing her religious conversion and called her involvement in Roe v. Wade "the biggest mistake of [her] life.” She publicly disparaged her attorneys as "self-interested" women who "exploited" her. In 2003, she made an unsuccessful bid to have the case overturned.

"I'm 100 percent pro-life. I don't believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it's still a child. You're not to act as your own God," she told the Associated Press in 1998. [Houston Chronicle]

  • More than 100 homes were damaged after a violent storm ripped through San Antonio. Severe storms rolled though Texas late Sunday and early Monday morning, and a confirmed tornado left widespread damage in northern San Antonio. The damaged buildings were mostly homes, but the San Antonio Fire Department says an elementary school was also hit. There have been five minor injuries reported but nothing serious. At the height of the outages, CPS Energy reported nearly 40,000 customers were without power due to the storms. [ABC]

  • Texas election officials say that hundreds of people may have improperly cast ballots in the November presidential election by signing a sworn statement instead of showing a photo ID. Now, some chief election officers are considering whether to look into perjury charges or violations of election law. Other officials across the state say they will let the mistakes go, citing widespread confusion among poll workers and voters. The 2011 Texas voter ID law, the toughest in the nation, requires voters to show one of seven approved forms of identification to vote. But a federal appeals court ruled that the law discriminated against minorities and ordered a temporary fix to allow those without a photo ID to sign an affidavit declaring they have a reasonable impediment to obtaining the required identification – such as a disability, illness, lack of transportation or conflicting work schedules. Election officials say the cases do not amount to voter fraud because people still had to be registered to vote to qualify for an affidavit. [Dallas Morning News]

  • About 1,700 marched in downtown Dallas to support immigrants and refugees on Saturday. Activists marched alongside religious and civic leaders and spoke out against President Donald Trump's handling of immigration and recent ICE raids on immigrant communities. The march began at Dallas City Hall and ended with a rally at JFK Memorial Plaza. "Dallas has shown time and time again that we are ready to rise to the occasion, we're ready to be that model city, we're ready to be a welcoming city," Imam Omar Suleiman said. The march came just two days after some area businesses closed as part of "A Day Without Immigrants" demonstrations, which sought to underscore immigrants’ contributions to American life. [Dallas Morning News]
    And they're off — Claire Ballor (@claireballor) February 18, 2017

  • Protesters in Fort Worth clashed with Republican donors at the Tarrant County GOP’s annual Lincoln Day fundraising gala. Outside the Omni Hotel downtown on Saturday, protesters chanted, “I want my town hall” and “do your job,” which were directed at the Republicans representing Fort Worth in Congress. Rep. Kay Granger told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that she has no town hall events planned. Many protesters urged lawmakers to preserve Obamacare and protect immigrants and refugees, while others focused on state issues like the so-called bathroom bill backed by some Texas Republicans. [KERA News]
Former KERA staffer Stephanie Kuo is an award-winning radio journalist who worked as a reporter and administrative producer at KERA, overseeing and coordinating editorial content reports and logistics for the Texas Station Collaborative – a statewide news consortium including KERA, KUT in Austin, Houston Public Media and Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.