Friday, June 24, 2005

Fraud on the Court

NOT on the Milwaukee JS' front page:

The women behind the Supreme Court cases that led to legalized abortion told a Senate panel Thursday they never intended to help the abortion rights movement and claimed they were duped by lawyers representing them more than three decades ago.

The anti-abortion views of Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano, the anonymous plaintiffs in Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, are well-known, but it is the first time both have testified together in Congress.

Both women have tried unsuccessfully to overturn the cases that have spawned years of bitter debate over the question of abortion. They were called, along with legal and medical experts, to testify on the consequences of the 1973 decisions that found a Constitutional right to abortion.
The hearing before a packed Senate conference room was convened by Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, an ardent abortion opponent who is eyeing a run for president. He called it "the first in a series to highlight the effect certain Supreme Court decisions have had on American life."

Brownback, chairman of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, already has held hearings this year on the need for a constitutional amendment to protect marriage and the need for more federal obscenity prosecutions.

Cano, 57, told the panel she was uneducated, poor and pregnant with her fourth child when lawyers recruited her to challenge Georgia's anti-abortion statute. She claims she never authorized lawyers to say she wanted an abortion.

"I feel like my name, life and identity have been stolen and put on this case without my knowledge and against my wishes," Cano said.

McCorvey, 58, called herself "a pawn of the legal system" and recounted her decision to join the anti-abortion movement 10 years ago after she spent time working in an abortion clinic.
Neither Cano nor McCorvey ever had the abortions at issue in their cases.

Among those testifying in favor of Roe v. Wade was Kenneth Edelin, associate dean of Boston University School of Medicine. Edelin recounted his experience as a young doctor in 1966 trying to save the life of woman who had a botched illegal abortion and urged lawmakers not to "turn back the clock" on abortion rights. (

From other sources:

The choice of panelists was made equally by Brownback and Feingold. The constitutional law attorneys arguing that Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton were constitutionally unsound decisions were Teresa Collett, Esq., Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas Law School, Minneapolis, MN and M. Edward Whelan, Esq., President, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC.

Those arguing that they were "sound law" were R. Alta Charo, Esq., Professor of Law and Bioethics, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI, and Karen O'Connor, Esq., Professor of Government, American University, Washington, DC.

[Sen. Jeff Sessions commented]: "I've heard these ladies before, known about their wanting to change what was done in their names and without their permission, but to have them here before us, is remarkable. It sounds like fraud was done on the [Supreme] Court. We need to look into this." (

The hearing was sponsored by Sen. Brownback. Sen. Feingold was present throughout and did not comment extensively.

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