Rhonda Johnson
July 22, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

I Am Roe: My Life, Roe V. Wade, and Freedom of Choice

Current Status
In Season
Andy Meisler, Norma McCorvey
Memoir, Women's Studies

We gave it a B

The anonymous plaintiff in the groundbreaking 1973 Supreme Court abortion rights case tells her story in the gritty, rough-edged memoir, I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice. Norma McCorvey was a 21-year-old drifter with a drug and alcohol problem when she found herself pregnant a third time. Her search for an abortion led to two young lawyers, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, who needed a plaintiff to challenge the Texas law banning abortions. McCorvey’s role from that point was nominal: She learned of the victory in a newspaper article, months after her baby had been born and given up for adoption. There emerges a tragic juxtaposition between McCorvey’s thwarted life and Weddington’s, whose expensive Mexican abortion in 1967 enabled her to finish law school, and whose role in Roe brought fame. It’s a comparison that highlights the disadvantages of poor and disenfranchised women in the abortion rights debate. B

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