In January of 1973, the United States Supreme Court decided on the case of Roe v. The Decision made by the United States Supreme Court gave every woman a federal constitutional right to an abortion. Since that decision in 1973, the issue of abortion has been at the center of much controversy and has left many Americans divided over the issue of abortion. As the legal scholar Ronald Oworkin once said, "No judicial decision in our time has aroused as much sustained public outrage, emotion, and physical violence or as much intemperate professional criticism." (Judges, 1993).
This decision has nearly abolished the mass infection and death in women due to the procedures of illegal abortion which was quickly on its way to becoming a national health crisis. The number of deaths per 100,000 legal abortion procedures declined five-fold between 1973 and present day. (Miller, 1993).
The fight began in the early 1970's with two lawyers, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, who were young and inexperienced feminist. Both of these young lawyers were very active in the women's movement and thought women should have the right to control their own reproductive processes. They started doing public speeches about the abortion issue. Now that their cause was becoming known, all that was needed was a plaintiff. In December of 1969, a young pregnant woman by the name of Norma McGorvey became their plaintiff. Norma McGorvey is "Jane Roe," the pseudonym she assumed to remain anonymous as the lead plaintiff in the Roe v. Wade case. Ms. McGorvey later went public with her identity in the 1980's and wrote a book about her life titled "I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice." The Defendant in this case was Henry Wade who was the District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas at the time of filing of the complaint. (Cable News Network, 1998).
Norma McGorvey was twenty-one, pregnant with her third child, and unmarried when the case was filed.