The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio on May 8, 1983 · Page 251
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The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio · Page 251

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Akron, Ohio
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Sunday, May 8, 1983
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Page 251
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-PARADE'S SPECIAL: Intelligence Beport BtcauM at vehmt ef mail mmhit. Pare ngrcts it camel mull queries. By Lloyd Shearer 1983 , , r-- : M 'iT K J Bl, House-painter Norma McCorvey and Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun: Her rape and his ruling changed abortion laws and began decade of debate This Woman and This Man Made History ne hot August night in 1969, a petite young woman of 21 who worked as a cashier in a traveling carnival was gang-raped by three men and a woman on a side road outside Augusta, Ga. Several weeks later, she discovered she was pregnant. By then, she had moved to Dallas. Since she already had a 5-year-old daughter, was divorced and had little money, she sought an abortion. "No legitimate doctor in Dallas would touch me," she remembers. "It was against the Texas law, which then permitted abortions only if the mother's life was at stake. Mine wasn't. I found one doctor who offered to abort me for $500. Only he didn't have a license, and I was scared to turn my body over to him. So there I was pregnant, unmarried, unemployed, alone and stuck. "Of course, if I'd been rich, I could've flown to some state where . abortion was legal or at least easier to get. But then, I guess, there wouldn't have been any Roe v. Wade." Ten years ago, with Justice Harry Blackmun writing the majority opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down one of the most far-reaching and controversial decisions in its history. By a vote of 7-2, it ruled in the case of Roe v. Wade that no state can pass a law interfering with the patient-physician decision for abortion during the first three months of pregnancy. The ruling legalized abortion, negated the Texas law and others like it in some 30 states, and thus spawned the highly disputatious and volatile pro-and anti-abortion movements in this country. The woman who in a way started it all by serving as a legal guinea pig is Norma McCorvey, that gang-rape victim of 14 years ago. "Jane Roe" is the fictitious name that her attorneys, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, used to protect her privacy when they first sued in federal court to overturn the Texas abortion statutes. McCorvey, now 35, is still unmarried and still cherishes her privacy. "It was just circumstances that got me involved," she explains. "When I was pregnant and found out that a legal abortion was impossible for me in Texas, I went to see a lawyer I knew, Henry McCloskey Jr. He's now dead. I believe he was stabbed in a parking lot. I told Henry I wanted to put the baby I was carrying up for adoption. He said he would handle it for me. I was so angry at the fix I was in pregnant and broke through no fault of mine I said I wouldn't want that to happen to anyone. Henry asked me if I felt strongly enough about a raped woman's right to abortion to take the case to court. I said I did." "He introduced me to Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee," she relates, "who were not long out of the University of Texas law school. I met with them, and I agreed to become a test legal case. It dragged on for about four years. During that time, I had the baby at the Dallas Osteopathic Hospital. It was taken away from me at birth, and I never even knew if it was a boy or a girl. Eventually I got a job as a waitress, then a barmaid, then I ran my own janitorial service. "Sarah Weddington told me from time to time how we were making out in court. And I spoke at a Baptist meeting. But I wasn't anxious to sell myself as a woman who had been raped. Memories of that horror depressed me. I went about making a living for myself." Norma McCorvey became a painting contractor in Dallas. For the next four years, as her case moved through the courts, she told relatively few people that Jane Roe and Norma McCorvey were the same person. "I never wanted," she says, "to make a career out of being Jane Roe." A day after the Supreme Court decision was announced on Jan. 22, 1973, she read about it in The Dallas Morning News. "I was glad," she asserts, "that other women in this country wouldn't have to go through what I went through. I have a beautiful 17-year-old daughter who was raised by my parents. If she was ever gang-raped, I wouldn't want her to experience the agony and hell I experienced." "It will be 13 years this May since I gave birth at Dallas Osteopathic," she recalls, "but I must tell you that almost every day, when I drive to the job and see kids in a playground or walking to school, I can't help wondering if maybe one of them isn't the one I gave away." Atlantic City vs. Las Vegas No Contest he inevitable has happened. Atlantic City, N.J. , is drawing almost twice as many tourists, LI gamblers and visitors as Las Vegas, Nev, "Last year," reports G. Gerard Kauper, president of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Bureau, "we attracted 23.1 million visitors. Las Vegas attracted 11.6 million. Since 1978, the year we introduced gambling, we've had a steady increase of people coming to Atlantic City." In contrast to the gamblers who visit Las Vegas and spend an average of four days and nights, the majority of Atlantic City players are day trippers, most of whom come by car (57) or bus (42). The Las Vegas casinos draw the bulk of their gamblers from the West Coast. The nine Atlantic City casinos draw most of theirs from the populous cities of the . East. Both offer a wide variety of incentives to the gamblers. These range from free rolls of coins for those who play the slots, to free hotel accommodations and much more for the "high rollers," those who can afford to lose as much as $30,000 a night. f 1 V; w. Some of Atlantic City's attributes

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