Effort to reopen Roe v. Wade rejected by federal judge

DALLAS (BP)--A federal judge has rejected Norma McCorvey's attempt to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 ruling on her lawsuit that legalized abortion throughout the country.

David Godbey, a judge in the northern district of Texas, ruled June 19 that McCorvey's petition to reopen the case did not come within a "reasonable time." McCorvey, "Jane Roe" in the Roe v. Wade opinion 30 years ago, had filed her petition June 17.

In his eight-page order, Godbey said a court rule that applies to such petitions measures "reasonable time" in "weeks or months, not in decades. Thirty years is manifestly not a reasonable time."

"Whatever else it may or may not have done, the Supreme Court's Roe decision 30 years ago ended this lawsuit between these parties," Godbey wrote. "Whether or not the Supreme Court was infallible, its Roe decision was certainly final in this litigation. It is simply too late now, 30 years after the fact, for McCorvey to revisit that judgment. Other parties in other cases may be able to reexamine those issues, but not McCorvey in this case."

In January 1973, the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to overturn state laws prohibiting abortion. In combination with the Doe v. Bolton opinion released at the same time, the justices' action had the effect of permitting abortion for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy. More than 40 million legal abortions have occurred in the United States since then.

After working for an abortion rights organization, McCorvey became a Christian and a pro-lifer in the 1990s. She later converted to Catholicism.

After filing her motion, McCorvey said, according to Fox News, "I'm sorry I signed the affidavit [in the original case]. I want to do everything in my power to help women and their children."


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