Daughter of 'Jane Roe' in 'Roe v. Wade' Case Says Overturning Would Lead to 'So Many Unnecessary Deaths'

Melissa Mills, whose mother fought for the right to an abortion and was at the center of the 1973 landmark case, says overturning Roe "could take us back 50 years"

(L) Norma McCorvey. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The daughter of Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" who fought for the right to an abortion and was at the center of the landmark Roe v. Wade case, says that if the Supreme Court overturns the decision there would be "so many unnecessary deaths."

Melissa Mills, McCorvey's eldest daughter, said that she's in "disbelief" after a draft opinion indicating that the Supreme Court will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked on Monday night.

"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 in an interview with MSNBC.

With Roe likely to fall, several states have created laws that ban abortions after six to 15 weeks of pregnancy, and some have no exceptions, even if the abortion seeker is at risk of dying.

The right to abortion codified by Roe v. Wade is "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."

Mills said that the choice to have an abortion "shouldn't be anybody's but ours."

"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."

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Mills' mother, McCorvey, had sought an abortion in Texas in 1969, when she was 22, unmarried and pregnant for the third time. She sued the state under the pseydonym "Jane Roe," calling their restrictions against abortion illegal, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which sided with her in 1973 and constitutionally guaranteed all Americans the right to abortion.

By that time, McCorvey had given birth and given her daughter, Shelley Lynn Thornton, up for adoption. McCorvey, who was reportedly battling addiction and poverty when she became pregnant, went back and forth on her stance on abortions. She first fought for abortion rights, but after becoming an evangelical Christian and then Roman Catholic decades later, she joined the anti-abortion movement.

But before she died in 2017, McCorvey admitted that she had switched sides because she was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion group now called Operation Save America. In the documentary AKA Jane Roe, she said she did it for the money.

"I was the big fish," McCorvey said. "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."

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