A daughter of the woman whose legal challenge led to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling said on Tuesday that if the Supreme Court overturns the landmark decision, it could set women back 50 years.
Melissa Mills, eldest daughter of Norma McCorvey, told MSNBC she is in “disbelief” that the nation’s highest court appears poised to overturn the case that legalized abortion nationwide.
Politico reported Monday on a leaked draft decision that appears to show there are enough justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday confirmed the draft is authentic, but said it did not represent a final decision from the high court.
“I can’t believe that it could take us back 50 years and there’s going to be so many unnecessary deaths and people without what they need for health care and to take care of themselves,” Mills said.
“That’s just every woman’s right to choose how it’s going to affect her life and what she needs to do to take care of herself and her family,” she said.
“Not every woman wants to have a child, not every woman is a mother. And that should be that woman’s right to decide that — nobody else.”
The government should not have a role in dictating what a woman does with her body, Mills said.
“That shouldn’t be anybody else’s choice but that woman who needs to make that decision,” she said. “We shouldn’t be told who and where and what we need to do for our lives. We shouldn’t be told exactly, you know, for our bodies how we’re going to take care of ourselves and what road we take through life. That shouldn’t be anybody’s but ours.”
Mills' mother, McCorvey, was 22, unmarried and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she sought to have an abortion in Texas, where the procedure was illegal except to save a woman’s life.
The subsequent lawsuit arguing that those state laws were unconstitutional, in which McCorvey went under the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” established legal abortion as the law of the land.
By the time the landmark decision was rendered, McCorvey had given birth and given her daughter up for adoption.
McCorvey's stance on abortion was complicated.
She underwent a conversion decades later, becoming an evangelical Christian and joining the anti-abortion movement. A short time later, she underwent another religious conversion and became a Roman Catholic.
“I’m 100 percent pro-life. I don’t believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it’s still a child. You’re not to act as your own God,” she told The Associated Press in 1998.
In a 2020 documentary, McCorvey said her religious conversion and staunch criticism of abortion rights was fueled more by opportunity than by faith.
McCorvey was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Operation Rescue, now known as Operation Save America, according to a documentary.
The documentary — “AKA Jane Roe" — traced McCorvey’s journey from abortion rights hero to anti-abortion advocate and back again, framing her as a mercenary who wanted to make amends through a “death bed confession.”
“I was the big fish,” McCorvey said in the documentary. “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money, and they put me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say, and that’s what I’d say.”
McCorvey died in 2017 at the age of 69.
Mills reiterated her own support of abortion rights, even if some questioned her reasoning considering her littler sister would not have been born if her mother had an abortion.
“That shouldn’t even be a question,” Mills said. “Nobody should control a woman’s body but a woman. ... We came all this way 50 years later and here we are and we’re stepping back.”