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. 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.