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The "Roe Baby" reveals identity as half-sister speaks to CBS News about their mother's legacy

Daughter of "Jane Roe" speaks out
Daughter of "Jane Roe" speaks out 02:04

The child at the center of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that secured a woman's legal right to have an abortion, is sharing her story for the first time. The child known as "The Roe Baby" was never publicly identified, until now.

Shelley Thornton spoke to journalist Joshua Prager for his upcoming book "The Family Roe: An American Story." The Atlantic magazine released an excerpt from that book Thursday morning. In it Thornton says "Secrets and lies are, like, the two worst things in the whole world." "I'm keeping a secret, but I hate it."

Thornton is the youngest of Norma McCorvey's three daughters.

Melissa Mills, McCorvey's oldest daughter, spoke to Jan Crawford in her first television interview for "CBS Mornings." Mills spoke to Prager for the book as well. 

In 1970, McCorvey filed a lawsuit under the name "Jane Roe," asking to end her pregnancy. She gave birth before the final court decision.

"My mom never had an abortion. No, she had Shelley before the abortion law passed. Yeah, quite a bit before I think and they didn't even call her. Mom didn't even know that the abortion law had passed. They didn't even include her on any of that so she really wasn't involved - they didn't want her to be. They, she really wasn't the type of person that they needed even though they used her case,"  Mills said.

 "Jane Roe means so many different things to different people. What does Norma McCorvey mean to you?" Crawford asked.

"That's my mom," Mills said.


More of Jan Crawford's interview with Melissa Mills will air on "CBS Mornings" on Friday, September 10 at 7 a.m. local time on CBS; it will run on CBSN starting at 8 a.m. ET. Journalist Joshua Prager will speak to "CBS Mornings" on Monday, September 13.

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