Harassment Seen Escalating; Roe Plaintiff Goes into Hiding
Apr. 05, 1989
DALLAS (AP) _ The firing of shotgun blasts at the home of a woman known as Jane Roe in the landmark court case legalizing abortion is emblematic of a dangerously intensifying battle on the issue, activists on both sides say.
Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in Roe vs. Wade, plans to stay in hiding until she leaves for a national pro-choice rally in Washington on Sunday, said a spokeswoman for the Texas Abortion Rights Action League in Austin.
''She's fine, everything's OK, but she doesn't want to talk to anybody for the next 48 hours,'' Phyllis Dunham, the league's executive director, said Wednesday. ''She says she's just as fired up as ever about going to the rally. This has done nothing to shake her enthusiasm for the effort.''
Cindy Eby of the Dallas chapter of the National Organization for Women said Ms. McCorvey will attend the march and possibly address the crowd, which is expected to include more than 250,000 pro-choice activists.
Ms. McCorvey's identity was shielded with a pseudonym in the Dallas case that resulted in the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion. But she publicly acknowledged her role last year and has been organizing a pro-choice Jane Roe Foundation.
Police said windows in Ms. McCorvey's home and car were shattered at about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday by a three blasts of a .410-gauge shotgun.
''We've got no leads, no suspects,'' said police Sgt. Ron Ellison.
While police said they had no information to link the shooting to Ms. McCorvey's pro-choice activism, people on both sides of the abortion issue said they feared more violence at weekend rallies held to support or protest NOW's March for Women's Equality-Women's Lives in Washington.
''I think when you send shotgun blasts through someone's window that just shows the kinds of desperate tactics and control tactics that people who want to see abortion outlawed for all time will stoop to,'' Ms. Dunham said. ''It is and always has been a heavy-handed, oppressive movement.''
Anti-abortion activists said they have no idea who was behind the shooting and that they too fear such acts.
''It certainly raises concerns,'' said Bill Price, president of the Greater Dallas Right to Life Commission. ''We've had things happen - windows shot out, obscene phone calls at home. Those kinds of things increase after things like this. It just puts both sides on edge.''
''I think people are kind of edgy about this court case anyway,'' Price said, referring to the Supreme Court's decision to hear a case that could alter the Roe vs. Wade decision. ''This kind of adds fuel to the fire that isn't needed.''
Violence by anti-abortion activists is increasing and ''comes from their frustration to get any legislative or judicial changes,'' said Patricia Ireland, NOW's executive vice president in Washington.
Karen Ashmore, president of NOW's North Dallas chapter, said a pro-choice leader who works at an abortion clinic had her car stolen there twice in the last two weeks.
''That's not coincidence; that's blatant,'' Ms. Ashmore said. ''We're going to take our white gloves off and start getting angry.''