Who was Norma McCorvey's partner? Connie Gonzalez called activist behind Roe v Wade a 'phony'
The bombshell Supreme Court decision to strike down Roe v Wade -- the landmark decision that legalized abortion in the US -- has sparked interest in the personal life of Norma McCorvey, who filed the case in 1971 at age 22.
McCorvey, who was living in Texas at the time, was unmarried and seeking termination of her unwanted pregnancy. She married at the age of 16 but parted ways shortly after she became pregnant and later gave custody of her daughter to her mother. She then gave a second child up for adoption but decided to have an abortion when she got pregnant a third time.
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McCorvey couldn't afford to travel to one of the few states where the procedure would have been legal. And she was unable to undergo the same in a safe and legal environment because state legislation prevented abortions unless the mother's life is at risk. McCorvey eventually sued Dallas County district attorney Henry Wade in 1970. The case was filed with the Supreme Court under the title 'Roe vs Wade' in order to protect McCorvey's privacy.
When Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) sought out an abortion in Texas, which led to being the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, she already had a 5-year-old daughter.— Kate “Buy Ordinary Equality” Kelly (@Kate_Kelly_Esq) March 14, 2022
The majority of women who get abortions in this country are already moms. pic.twitter.com/dgp7HHuCjS
Three years later, the SCOTUS recognized a woman's constitutional right to an abortion in Roe v Wade. While the landmark verdict legalized abortion nationwide, it divided public opinion and has been a controversial subject ever since. McCorvey lived a quiet life following the ruling, until the 1980s when she revealed herself to be Jane Roe. She went on to become a vocal pro-abortion activist and even served at a women's clinic where abortions were carried out.
In 1995, however, McCorvey made a stunning U-turn after she became a born-again Christian and began speaking out against abortion across the country. She even filed a motion in 2003 to overturn her original 1973 ruling with the US district court in Dallas. The motion moved through the courts and was ultimately denied by the SCOTUS in 2005.
Who was Norma McCorvey's partner?
Shortly after giving birth the third time, as Roe v Wade made its way through the courts, McCorvey began a long-term lesbian relationship with Connie Gonzalez. The pair would go on to live together in Dallas for 35 years. McCorvey continued to live with Gonzalez even after converting to Christianity but described their relationship as platonic. She would later declare that she was no longer a lesbian and moved out of the house she shared with Gonzalez in 2006, shortly after the latter suffered a stroke.
Renowned journalist Joshua Prager visited Gonzalez in June 2010 at the home on Cactus Lane, in Dallas, where she spent more than three decades with her former lover McCorvey. Prager noted how she sat smoking Marlboro Lights outside the home. She had lost her short-term memory after suffering the aforementioned stroke. "But at age 79 she remained big and sturdy, a colossus in white sneakers and blue jeans and an aqua shirt that read grits: girls raised in the south," the journalist wrote for Vanity Fair.
Gonzalez also clarified what she thought about McCorvey at the time. “She’s a phony,” she told Prager with the help of her niece Linda Tovar, referring to McCorvey's religious about-face. She said the Roe v Wade icon hadn't visited her in years, but her traces remained everywhere in the ranch house. "The ashes of her father, in a blue-glass urn, sat beside figurines of Jesus and J.F.K. A black-and-white photograph of McCorvey—a girl of seven in cat’s-eye glasses crouched beside a German shepherd on a dirt road—stood in a frame," Prager wrote, adding, "In the garage, rat-chewed boxes held McCorvey’s bills and prescriptions, photos and letters, clippings and speeches." He learned that McCorvey and Gonzalez had wrangled over money after they parted ways and a bank was about to foreclose on the property.
Gonzalez's current whereabouts are unclear, but her former lover McCorvey died at an assisted living home in Katy, Texas in February 2017. The 69-year-old admitted in a death bed confession that her religious conversion and renouncement of her sexuality were financially motivated.