Mystery Baby at Center of Roe v. Wade Reveals Her Identity

Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe in the 1973 court case (left), and her attorney Gloria Allred (right) hold hands as they leave the Supreme Court building. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The child at the center of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that established a woman’s right to abortion, has come forward after decades of secrecy.

Shelley Lynn Thornton, 51, has revealed herself as the youngest daughter born to Norma McCorvey, whose lawsuit under the pseudonym “Jane Roe” led to the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationally, according to journalist Joshua Prager’s book, “The Family Roe: An American Story.”

“Secrets and lies are, like, the two worst things in the whole world,” Thornton told Prager in an excerpt of the book published in The Atlantic on Thursday.

Her biological mother had been 22, unmarried, unemployed, and pregnant with her third daughter in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman’s life.

McCorvey mounted a legal challenge against Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade — though by the time she won, she had already given birth and put her daughter up for adoption.

Thornton grew up knowing that she had been adopted, but she and her adoptive family weren’t aware of her connection to the famous case until a National Enquirer investigation led to her being tracked down as a teenager, according to the excerpt.

She began “shaking all over and crying” when she found out the truth about her birth mother — whose life had been portrayed in a TV movie that she had briefly caught, according to the excerpt.

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SOURCE: New York Post, Jackie Salo

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