The woman at the centre of the
landmark case that made abortion legal in the United States has asked for
the decision to be reversed.
Norma McCorvey - the formerly anonymous "Roe" in the 1973
Supreme Court case Roe v Wade - filed a motion requesting that a Dallas
court examine what she called new evidence that abortion is harmful to women.
"I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from
my shoulders," Ms McCorvey, 55, said at a news conference in Texas on
The abortion-rights group Naral Pro-Choice America
dismissed the case as "a sad anti-choice publicity stunt.
"Instead of leaving private medical decisions up to a
woman and her doctor, anti-choice forces want the government to decide," the
group said in a statement.
"This case shows the extreme lengths to which they will go
to overturn our constitutional right to choose," the statement said.
If Ms McCorvey's motion for a hearing is granted, the
proceedings could open the door for the Supreme Court to revisit the case.
Abortion is one of the most divisive issues in America and
may become more prominent in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election.
The US House of Representatives voted earlier in June to
ban so-called "partial birth" abortions.
The US Senate voted in favour of a ban on the form of
late-term abortion in March, and US President George W Bush is expected to
sign the ban into law.
It will be the first legislative restriction on a woman's
right to choose since Roe v Wade.
Anti-abortionists are also pressing for legislation that
would consider the foetus an individual in case of violent crimes against
They have already won the blessing of President George W
Bush, himself a staunch opponent of abortion.
The move has however greatly alarmed pro-choice
campaigners, who see it as part of a wider mission to establish foetal
rights and undermine the right to abortion.
Ms McCorvey found herself associated with the critical
Supreme Court case when she sought an abortion to end her third pregnancy.
Attorney Sarah Weddington, an abortion rights advocate,
took up the case, which challenged the Texas law banning abortion.
Ms McCorvey had the child - and put it up for adoption, as
with her two previous children - before the Supreme Court ruled that the
Constitution guaranteed women the right to an abortion.
She identified herself as Roe in 1980 and has since made a
number of anti-abortion statements.
On Tuesday, she asked the federal district court in Dallas
to consider thousands of pages of documents - including 1,000 statements
from women who say they regret their abortions.
The Texas attorney general and the Dallas district
attorney must respond within 20 days.