The former plaintiff known as "Jane Roe" in the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion sought to have the case overturned in a motion filed Tuesday that asks the courts to consider new evidence that abortion hurts women.
Norma McCorvey, who joined the anti-abortion fight nearly 10 years ago and says she regrets her role in Roe v. Wade, said the Supreme Court's decision is no longer valid because scientific and anecdotal evidence that has come to light in the last 30 years has shown the negative effects of abortion.
"We're getting our babies back," a jubilant McCorvey said at a news conference while flanked by about 60 women, some who sobbed and held signs that read "I regret my abortion."
"I feel like the weight of the world has just been lifted off my shoulders," said McCorvey, 55.
Sarah Weddington, the abortion advocate and attorney who originally represented McCorvey, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A representative from the National Organization for Women also did not immediately return a message.
Allen Parker Jr., McCorvey's attorney, said he could not remember any other landmark case in which the plaintiff has asked to have it overturned.
"I think the new evidence will show the court what they thought was good will turn out to be an instrument of wrong," said Parker, who is with the San Antonio-based Texas Justice Foundation.
McCorvey filed the motion with the federal district court in Dallas, which ruled to legalize abortion in Texas before the Supreme Court ruling. The Texas attorney general's office and Dallas district attorney each have 20 days to respond to the motion.
McCorvey and her attorneys asked the federal court to consider more than 5,400 pages of evidence, including 1,000 affidavits from women who say they regret their abortions.
McCorvey was a 21-year-old carnival barker when, pregnant for the third time, she sought an abortion. She agreed to be the plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Texas' anti-abortion statute.
The Supreme Court decision came after she had the baby. It was the third child she put up for adoption. McCorvey publicly identified herself as Jane Roe in 1980.