By Gabrielle Duncan
Shelley Lynn Thornton, whose conception sparked Roe v. Wade, says she never wanted to meet birth mother Norma McCorvey, who was Jane Roe in the landmark Supreme Court case.
In a clip from her first television interview with ABC News’ Linsey Davis, which will air Monday night, Thornton speaks candidly about her strained relationship with McCorvey, who wanted to have her aborted.
“She didn’t deserve to meet me,” Thornton tells Davis during the sit-down. “She never did anything in her life to get that privilege back. She never expressed any genuine feeling for me or genuine remorse for doing the things that she did.”
Thornton also said she has “no regrets” regarding her relationship with McCorvey, who died in 2017 at age 69.
In March 1970, McCorvey, a pregnant waitress in Dallas, sued Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade and took on Texas’ restrictive laws against abortions under the pseudonym Jane Roe. She won the case — and pregnant people secured abortion rights — but McCorvey went on to give birth since the court proceedings took years.
Thornton was born on June 2, 1970, but the final decision wasn’t announced until January 1973.
McCorvey’s child was placed for adoption. A woman named Ruth Schmidt and her soon-to-be husband Billy Thornton adopted the baby at the time.
Thornton previously spoke to The Family Roe author Joshua Prager about finding out about her birth mother as a teen, having complicated views on abortion — that shifted as she learned about the court case — and how those on opposing sides of the controversial subject tried to use her to advance their agendas.
McCorvey gave birth to three children, all of whom were placed for adoption. Thornton eventually met with her half-sisters, but she avoided her birth mother, only having contentious phone calls over the years.
“When someone’s pregnant with a baby and they don’t want that baby, that person develops knowing they’re not wanted,” she said.
She later recalled a heated 1994 phone call with McCorvey: “I was like, ‘What?! I’m supposed to thank you for getting knocked up … and then giving me away?’ I told her I would never, ever thank her for not aborting me.”
Texas recently passed the restrictive Senate Bill 8 that essentially eliminates the rights of Roe v. Wade. The bill prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is before most people know they’re pregnant. The bill also does not allow exceptions for pregnancies that are the result of incest or rape.
Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement earlier this month, “This decision is not the last word on Roe v. Wade, and we will not stand by and allow our nation to go back to the days of back-alley abortions. We will not abide by cash incentives for virtual vigilantes and intimidation for patients. We will use every lever of our Administration to defend the right to safe and legal abortion — and to strengthen that right.”
The Supreme Court is expected to take up Texas and other states’ challenges to Roe v. Wade when they’re back in session in this month.
Thornton’s full TV interview will air Monday night on ABC News Live Prime.