Shelley Lynn Thornton, 51, the “Roe Baby,” is back in the news for the first time since being the catalyst for the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion across America.
The interview, which will air this Monday on ABC News, will be the first ever given by Thornton, reported the Daily Mail.
MONDAY: The baby at the center of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision speaks with @LinseyDavis almost 50 years later in her first-ever TV interview.
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) October 1, 2021
When Thornton’s mother, Norma McCorvey, was pregnant in 1970, and gave birth in June of that year. McCorvey had not wanted her daughter and gave her up for adoption while proceeding with her original case that was initiated during her pregnancy. History was made when McCorvey’s lawsuit (in which she was “Jane Roe”) ended up before the Supreme Court and was victorious in the infamous Roe v. Wade case, 3 years later.
When McCorvey died in 2017 at aged 69, she had never met the daughter she had gone to court over for the right to terminate. Thornton wouldn’t learn of her mother, or the circumstances that made her birth and pregnancy famous, until she was 18. Thornton, who is now herself a mother of three, says she considered meeting McCorvey before she died, but decided against it.
Thornton has also broken her long silence in a book, which is not on shelves yet, but excerpts were published in The Atlantic last month. In it she speaks of the journey from unwanted baby, through adoptive parents and their own tribulations, to the final revelation that her birth mother had been found – and was in fact McCorvey of Roe v. Wade infamy.
Joshua Prager also spoke with Thornton as part of his research for his book, “The Family Roe: An American Story,” and explained that she wanted to speak out after so many years of silence because she wanted to be rid of the “secrets and lies” that she felt permeated the whole story and imposed a burden on her peace of mind:
“Secrets and lies are, like, the two worst things in the whole world. I’m keeping a secret, but I hate it. I want everyone to understand that this is something I’ve chosen to do.”
In the parts of the book and ABC interview that have been revealed, Thornton doesn’t have any dramatic statements about how she feels being “the Roe baby,” and her association to everything that case entailed, albeit purely by circumstances out of her control. As Thornton noted, “My association with Roe started and ended because I was conceived.”
The interview and book come at a time when abortion is once again in the spotlight due to the new law in Texas heavily restricting the timeframe allowed for an abortion. In addition, a similar law from Missouri is slated to go before the Supreme Court soon. The House recently passed a bill massively expanding abortion, though it has yet to pass the Senate and be signed into law.
Whatever Thornton says or doesn’t say in her interview and book, the heated argument over aborting an unborn fetus is sure to continue.
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