Roe plaintiff speaks out for choice

Although "Jane Roe" is now an anti-choice activist, another plaintiff in the case has no regrets.


Kate Harding
September 22, 2008 6:21PM (UTC)

Much has been made of the fact that Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, became an antiabortion activist after converting to Christianity in 1995. But you don't hear as much about the other two plaintiffs in the case, Marsha and David King, known as Mary and John Doe in court documents.

In an interview with Women's eNews, Marsha King explains that she has firsthand experience of the perils of illegal abortion, having had two in Mexico after the contraception she and David were using failed. "We did not want to be parents at that time ... We tried to be very careful. We were very disciplined and very fecund." However, the court ruled that the Kings did not have standing in the case because, technically, they were only attempting to secure their rights for a "future need" -- unlike McCorvey, who was pregnant when Roe began. (She gave that child up for adoption.)

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Also unlike McCorvey, King still believes that the Roe decision was a positive and necessary step forward for American women. Now the mother of two grown daughters, she decided to speak out recently, after Operation Save America, an anti-choice group McCorvey works with, held a protest in her hometown of Atlanta. "Would I do it again? Absolutely," she said of her involvement in the landmark case. "I worry that the right will be taken away. The people who are affected the most are the ones least able to defend it; the others think that it will always be there."


Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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