Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano

Last in the Voices to Trust series. 

Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano rejected the Supreme Court decisions that were supposedly made in their favor. Their identities obscured in the 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton cases, they ultimately went public with their dissent from those decisions, reclaiming their own names and proclaiming their support of the right to life.

 

McCorvey was “Jane Roe,” the plaintiff in a challenge to Texas abortion law that culminated in Roe v. Wade, overturning most abortion restrictions and regulations nationwide. Cano was the anonymous plaintiff in Doe v. Bolton, an abortion case decided the same day as Roe, which resulted in an expansive definition of “health of the mother” as justification for abortion on demand. Ironically, neither woman had an abortion pursuant to the decisions.

McCorvey supported the Roe decision for about twenty years before renouncing it and becoming pro-life. In a one-minute 2010 video, she summarized her position. “I realized that my case, which legalized abortion on demand, was the biggest mistake of my life….but now I’m dedicated to spreading the truth about preserving the dignity of all human life from natural conception to natural death.”

Asked in a 1997 interview what she thought people could do to stop abortion, McCorvey said,  “[I]t doesn’t make any difference what religion you are, or how young you are or how old you are, I think if they get up and go to these abortion mills, and stand there – and they don’t have to do anything, they can just stand there and pray, I think that would make a lot of difference. We have to be seen in numbers.”

Sandra Cano (Photo from wonderfullymadeministry.com)
Sandra Cano (Photo from wonderfullymadeministry.com)

Sandra Cano came to be the Supreme Court’s “Doe” after she went to an attorney for help with matters relating to divorce and child custody. As she told a Congressional committee in 2005,

“I was very vulnerable: poor and pregnant with my fourth child, but abortion never crossed my mind. Although it apparently was utmost in the mind of the attorney from whom I sought help….Please understand even though I have lived what many would consider an unstable life and overcome many devastating circumstances, at no time did I ever have an abortion. l did not seek an abortion nor do I believe in abortion. Yet my name and life is now forever linked with the slaughter of 40-50 million babies.
 
“…I feel like my name, life, and identity have been stolen and put on this case without my knowledge and against my wishes….One of the Justices of the Supreme Court said during oral argument in my case ‘What does it matter if she is real or not.’ Well, I am real and it does matter.”

Cano died in 2014, with Doe v. Bolton still standing. To the end of her life, she told her story far and wide. She knew that the truth and her experience were too important to hide.

McCorvey has noted how as with Doe, disregard for truth played an important part in the Roe decision. “I was persuaded by feminist attorneys to lie; to say that I was raped, and needed an abortion. It was all a lie. Since then, over 50 million babies have been murdered. I will take this burden to my grave. Please, don’t follow in my mistakes.”

~~~

Share the words of these women who moved beyond abortion to embrace respect for life: McCorvey and Cano, who lost their identities in court and then reclaimed them; the women who ran abortion facilities and now help people leave the industry; women who survived efforts to abort them; women who reject being called “exceptions“; post-abortive women like Catherine, Karen, Susan and Julia. If ever the words “trust women” are used in an effort to squelch pro-lifers – not mention when they’re used to imply that men have no right to speak up about human rights – bring these women’s words into the discussion.

Ten years ago, she tried to set the record straight

Sandra Cano
Sandra Cano (photo from priestsforlife.org)

What if your name were used in a Supreme Court case to secure a “right” you never sought? What if that case led to the deaths of millions of children?

Sandra Cano had to figure that out. She was “Doe” in the 1973 Doe v. Bolton decision, companion case to Roe v. Wade. Cano had sought legal help with divorce and custody issues, and she wound up having her name used in a case that brought a broad “health” exception to abortion regulation. It took until June 2005, ten years ago this week, for her to get a hearing in Washington. She had no way to address the Supreme Court, of course. Instead, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her to set the record straight. Read her testimony, and ponder the implications of an abortion case that didn’t involve an abortion.

I was very vulnerable: poor and pregnant with my fourth child, but abortion never crossed my mind. Although it apparently was utmost in the mind of the attorney from whom I sought help. At one point during the legal proceedings, it was necessary for me to flee to Oklahoma to avoid the pressure being applied to have the abortion scheduled for me by this same attorney. Please understand even though I have lived what many would consider an unstable life and overcome many devastating circumstances, at no time did I ever have an abortion. l did not seek an abortion nor do I believe in abortion. Yet my name and life is now forever linked with the slaughter of 40-50 million babies.
 
…I feel like my name, life, and identity have been stolen and put on this case without my knowledge and against my wishes. How dare they use my name and my life this way! One of the Justices of the Supreme Court said during oral argument in my case “What does it matter if she is real or not.” Well, I am real and it does matter.

Sandra Cano died last September. Father Frank Pavone called her “a pro-life warrior.  I honor her memory. She could have remained silent about the false foundation of the Doe v. Bolton decision (a decision that is still in force today), but she spoke up instead.


 

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Bending the facts ’til they fit

Sandra CanoNine years ago this week, Sandra Cano testified before Congress that she had never had nor wanted an abortion. Cano had been identified as “Mary Doe” in Doe v. Bolton, the abortion case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court concurrently with Roe v. Wade. The Doe case defined health-of-the-mother broadly enough to make abortion legal for any reason.

Write the decisions, then bend the facts to fit: it’s a nearly- inescapable conclusion that that’s what the Warren Burger court did with abortion.

Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade, has tried for years to undo the damage done by the case bearing her name. So has Sandra Cano. The two women whose pseudonyms are forever associated with abortion in America want nothing to do with abortion or the so-called pro-choice movement. As Cano wrote on her blog in 2009,

I only sought legal assistance to get a divorce from my husband and to get my children from foster care. I was very vulnerable: poor and pregnant with my fourth child, but abortion never crossed my mind. Although it apparently was utmost in the mind of the attorney from whom I sought help. At one point during the legal proceedings, it was necessary for me to flee to Oklahoma to avoid the pressure being applied to have the abortion scheduled for me by this same attorney.”

 

More on the Roe and Doe cases: Abuse of Discretion, by Americans United for Life attorney Clarke D. Forsythe.

 

Pick of the Web, week of 6/21/13

Important news from New York state today: the state senate just stopped an effort by Gov. Cuomo to expand abortion availability and to deny conscience protection to health care workers who choose not to participate in abortion. Read more about this encouraging news from New Yorkers for Life and Americans United for Life.

Fortnight for Freedom is underway. Leaven will be covering this project throughout the next two weeks. While the Fortnight was a project originating with the U.S. Catholic bishops, this is a time of unity and action for all Americans, regardless of faith. It’s time to remind our politicians that the First Amendment includes protections on religious liberty. http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/index.cfm

How do you cope with being pro-life in a family that supports abortion? http://liveactionnews.org/my-coming-out-story/

Sandra Cano was “Mary Doe” in Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade. She never sought an abortion. How could this have happened? Read her story from Silent No More Awareness.