‘Jane Roe’ daughter on leaked Supreme Court draft opinion: ‘My mom would be turning over in her grave’

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  • In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY, the daughter of Norma McCorvey, the famous “Jane Roe” plaintiff, said she is worried about the ruling being overturned.
  • Melissa Mills said overturning Roe v. Wade is dangerous and would turn back the clock 50 years.
  • Mills said that although her mother later became an anti-abortion activist, she never wanted the right to choose to be taken away.

The daughter of the woman who became the face of the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that granted Americans a constitutional right to abortion said overturning the decision was dangerous and her mother would be furious with the Supreme Court for doing so. 

“I think mom would be turning in her grave because she was always pro-woman,” Melissa Mills told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview.

Mills said she was in shock when she got a text message Monday night and learned a leaked draft opinion indicated the Supreme Court is poised to overturn the landmark decision.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Mills. “It’s like nobody knows what they have until it’s gone – and it could be gone…this isn’t right.”

Mills, 56, is the eldest daughter of Norma McCorvey, who is known by her pseudonym “Jane Roe.”

In 1970, McCorvey was a working-class single woman living in Dallas when she became pregnant for a third time. After having surrendered Mills to her mother to raise her and had given up another baby for adoption, McCorvey sought to terminate her pregnancy. However, she could not legally do so under Texas’ abortion ban.

“No one wanted to hire a pregnant woman. I felt there was no one in the world who could help me,” she told the Southern Baptist Convention news service in 1973.

McCorvey found legal representation and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

She never got the abortion. McCorvey gave birth for a third time nearly three years before the final decision.

Mills, who works as a pediatric nurse in Texas, a state home to some of the country’s most restrictive anti-abortion, laws including an abortion ban after fetal cardiac activity can be detected at six weeks, said she was worried about the devastating impact to come. 

In Texas, the clock was turned back 50 years, Mills said. She’s already witnessed the effects firsthand of restrictive laws that limit access to abortion care and contraceptives at home. 

“I see people coming into pediatrics, their kids are pregnant,” said Mills. “I’ve never needed that choice. But I don’t want that taken away from me or my kids or anybody.”

Mills said regardless of her mother being a controversial figure she would have hated to see this day come to pass. 

Throughout the years McCorvey’s views on abortion swung like a pendulum.

In August 1995, McCorvey did an about-face on national television when she converted to evangelical Christianity and renounced her beliefs. She was baptized in a backyard swimming pool in Dallas by anti-abortion minister Flip Benham – who had protested outside of a clinic McCorvey worked at for years. 

Throughout the next decades, McCorvey would go on to transform herself into a crusader for the anti-abortion cause. 

In an interview for the documentary “AKA Jane Roe” made prior to her death in 2017, McCorvey said she had been paid to switch sides.

“She played them as much as they played her,” said Mills. 

She stressed McCorvey’s views on abortion never really wavered regardless of what she said when the cameras were rolling. 

In interviews throughout her life – with a few exceptions –  McCorvey said abortion should be legal through the first trimester of pregnancy. 

“I knew my mother,” said Mills. “My mom never wanted women to not have access, she just didn’t want to see abortion abused.”

Follow USA TODAY national correspondent @RominaAdi on Twitter