Washington, DC Norma McCorvey, the former “Roe” of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, is filing an historic motion today to re-open her case and request that it be overturned. The filing is based on changes in law and factual conditions since the high court handed down its decision 30 years ago.
As a party to the original litigation, Norma McCorvey has the right to petition the court to re-open the original case based on changes in factual conditions or changes in law that make the prior decision “no longer just,” said Allan E. Parker, Jr., lead attorney for the Texas-based Justice Foundation.
The motion was filed at a news conference Tuesday. The motion asks for a reversal of the judgment that was first entered 33 years ago yesterday by the Dallas Federal Court. McCorvey is asking that the judgment in the original Roe case be set aside.
“I long for the day that justice will be done and the burden from all of these deaths will be removed from my shoulders,” McCorvey said. “I want to do everything in my power to help women and their children. The issue is justice for women, justice for the unborn, and justice for what is right.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned its own precedents using Rule 60(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 60), most recently in the 1997 decision of Agostini v. Felton. In that case, the high court used a post-judgment motion by a party to overturn two of its own 12-year-old precedents.
Parker said the legal question in the case is, “Is it just to continue giving Roe v. Wade future application?”
Using Rule 60, there are three major arguments to re-open and overturn the case on the basis of changed facts and law:
• Norma McCorvey, and more than 1,000 women who have had abortions, have signed affidavits that attest to the devastating emotional, physical, and psychological trauma of abortion. These affidavits discuss the negative effects of abortion on women. It is more than a thousand times more evidence from women than the Court heard in Roe. In addition, the Court will be presented with the scientific evidence that has accumulated over the last thirty years showing that abortion is associated with more physical and psychological complications for women than were known about in 1973. In the last eighteen months alone, seven new studies showing abortion is associated with elevated rates of suicide, death from other causes, substance abuse, clinical depression, and psychiatric hospitalization have been published in major medical journals.Norma McCorvey was joined at the press conference by her lead attorney, Mr. Parker, by co-counsel Harold Cassidy of New Jersey, and by post-abortive women, who will provide testimony about how abortion has harmed them. These women, many of whom are witnesses in the Rule 60 Motion, want others to know how abortion has negatively impacted women's lives, including their physical and emotional health.
By contrast, even with thirty years of experience aborting millions of women, abortion advocates have produced no scientific studies measuring any significant benefits abortion has produced in women's lives. All the claimed benefits of abortion are supported by merely anecdotal evidence. McCorvey will argue that the Roe v Wade decision deprived women of the protection from dangerous abortions and exposed them to a much greater risk of being pressured into unwanted abortions. Between 30 and 60 percent of abortions are undergone because the pregnant woman is submitting to the pressure of her male partner, parents, physicians, or other third persons.
• Secondly, the unanswered question in Roe's former case, “when does human life begin?” was treated by the Court as a philosophical question when the case was first heard in 1973. Since then, an explosion of scientific evidence on human life conclusively answers the question that life begins at conception.
• Finally, the state of Texas in 1999 enacted a law in which it agreed to provide for any woman's unwanted child from the child's birth to 18 years of age with no questions asked. Legally, because the state has agreed to take responsibility for all unwanted children, women should no longer be forced to dispose of “unwanted” children by ending a human life. Forty states have similar Baby Moses laws.
“The result of granting the motion would be to set aside and annul Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, its companion case. This would return the issue of protecting women and children to the people with Baby Moses laws serving as a safety net”, Mr. Parker said.