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Norma Mc Corvey, the woman immortalized as plaintiff Jane Roe in the landmark Roe v Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the U. The 69-year-old, who had been ill for some time, passed away from heart failure at an assisted living center in Katy, Texas where she was surrounded by her family.

It is not clear whether the woman was ever told she was the Roe baby, or whether her adoptive family even knew she was Mc Corvey's daughter.

Her death was confirmed by New York journalist Joshua Prager who is writing a book about Mc Corvey and spent months interviewing her.

Mc Corvey won fame as an abortion-rights icon and as the pro-life activist she would eventually become when she sought to abort her third pregnancy in Texas when she was 22.

The unmarried and unemployed woman told her doctor she did not want to bring the pregnancy to term, which had been the result of a gang rape.

She said at the time she couldn't afford to travel to the six U. states where abortion was legal: Alaska, California, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

Her adoption attorney put her in touch with Texas lawyers Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who were seeking a woman to represent in a legal case to challenge Texas' anti-abortion statute.The subsequent lawsuit, known as Roe v Wade, led to the Supreme Court's 1973 landmark ruling that established abortion rights.By that time, Mc Corney had already given birth to her daughter and given her up for adoption.After the court's ruling, Mc Corvey lived quietly for several years before revealing herself as Jane Roe in the 1980s.She also confessed to lying when she said the pregnancy was the result of rape.Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, she remained an ardent supporter of abortion rights and worked for a time at a Dallas women's clinic where abortions were performed.But she did an about-face and later spoke out on behalf of anti-abortion campaigners after befriending The Rev.Philip 'Flip' Benham when his anti-abortion group moved next door to the clinic where she was working.She was baptized an evangelical Christian before network TV cameras by Benham, who was the leader of Operation Rescue, now known as Operation Save America.Her religious conversion led her to give up her female lover, Connie Gonzales.She said the relationship turned platonic in the early 1990s and that once she became a Christian she believed homosexuality was wrong.

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