- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2004

DALLAS (AP) — A federal appeals court has agreed to reconsider the 1973 case that made abortion a constitutional right under a request from Norma McCorvey, the woman at the heart of the original case three decades ago.

Mrs. McCorvey, who joined with pro-life activists nearly 10 years ago, is seeking to have the Roe v. Wade decision overturned and is citing more than 30 years of evidence that abortions are psychologically harmful to women.

She filed the original Texas case, which struck down all existing state abortion laws, under the generic moniker “Jane Roe.”

A federal district judge threw out her initial request in June, saying it was not made within a reasonable time. But the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear Mrs. McCorvey’s arguments on March 2.

“It’s something that I’ve wanted ever since Day One, and it’s happening,” she said from her Dallas home.

Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill, whose predecessor Henry Wade was named in the original lawsuit, has not filed a response to Mrs. McCorvey’s appeal. That might put the appeals court in the unusual position of hearing arguments from only one side.

Mr. Wade was named in the original case because he was charged with enforcing the Texas law that prevented Mrs. McCorvey from having an abortion. Mr. Hill’s office has argued that because that law no longer exists, Mr. Hill has no authority to prosecute and should not be sued.

More than 20 Texas law-school professors, concerned about an unbalanced hearing, filed a brief on Wednesday asking to be allowed to argue the other side of the case.

“It’s important that the court hear from somebody representing the position that the district court took, which I think is clearly right,” said David Schenck, a lawyer representing the professors. “At this point, the case is moot, and she’s presenting at best a political question.”

The Supreme Court decision came after Mrs. McCorvey had her baby. The baby was the third child whom Mrs. McCorvey put up for adoption; she was a 21-year-old carnival worker at the time.

She publicly identified herself as “Jane Roe” in 1980.

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