"Doe" Files Suit to Overturn Doe v. Bolton Abortion Decision

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 25, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

"Doe" Files Suit to Overturn Doe v. Bolton Abortion Decision

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 25, 2003

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When most Americans think of abortion, they frequently refer to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that legalized it. However, it is a lesser known case that helped make abortion so prevalent: Doe v. Bolton.

At a press conference today, Sandra Cano, the "Mary Doe" of the infamous case, says she wants the ruling that allowed abortion on demand to be overturned.

"I’m going back to court to right a wrong," said Cano. "Abortion has hurt millions of women," she said, "and I regret my role

As the companion case to Roe v. Wade, the Doe decision saw the high court define "health" to include "all factors — physical emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age" that may prompt someone who have an abortion. Pro-life groups have since opposed health exceptions in any pro-life legislation because it would essentially all for all abortions to remain legal.

Cano is ruling on a Rule 60 motion that allows original parties in a lawsuit to ask a court to overturn a decision.

She is being represented by the Texas-based Justice Foundation, a pro-life legal group that is also working with Norma McCorvey in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade. That case is on appeal after a federal district court threw it out without hearing it.

Cano’s motion is based on changes in factual and legal conditions that make the Court’s ruling no longer just.

Cano says her 1973 case was based on lies and deception. She sought legal aid — not for an abortion — rather, to obtain a divorce from a convicted child molester and to regain custody of her two children who were in foster care.

Her pro-abortion attorneys misrepresented her and, instead, sought to overturn Georgia’s laws requiring three doctors to certify that an abortion was medically necessary.

"The truth is that I did not seek or want an abortion. I was young, uninformed, and in a difficult situation," Cano said. "Not once in the process was I given an opportunity to speak, and no judge or attorney in court asked me how I felt about abortion."

The Justice Foundation is also saying the decision should be overturned because the courts at the time did not have evidence that abortion hurts women.

Over 1,000 women have provided sworn statements for Doe’s Rule 60 motion. Each have provided medical or anecdotal evidence about how their abortion was detrimental.

We’re standing with Sandra Cano in saying the Doe decision was a mistake. We now have conclusive evidence that abortion is physically dangerous and emotionally devastating," said Dianne Donaudy, an abortion survivor.

"It harms women. Each of us deeply regrets having an abortion. We want the public, especially women, to know the truth about the tragic and harmful consequences of abortion," she said.

The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed its own precedents using Rule 60(b)(5) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule 60), most recently in the 1997 decision of Agostini v. Felton.

In that case, the high court used a post-judgment motion by a party to reverse two of its own 12-year-old precedents. The courts have reversed precedents by as long as 41 years, according to Alan Parker of the Justice Foundation.

Related web sites:

The Justice Foundation’s Operation Outcry – https://www.operationoutcry.org