Plucked from obscurity in 1970 by Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, two young Dallas lawyers who wanted to challenge Texas laws that prohibited abortions except to save a mother's life, Ms. McCorvey, five months pregnant with her third child, signed an affidavit she claimed she did not read.
To put her life in context, McCorvey was only 22 years old when she became the center of one of the most vicious legal battles in American history, and in 1973 the Supreme Court heard her case on being pro-choice - and made a decision to side with her.
Three years later in a landmark 7-2 decision that has come to define the nation's cultural, political and religious divides, the Supreme Court articulated a constitutional right to privacy conferred by the 14th Amendment, which included a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy.
Despite being a lead in the case, McCorvey became a born-again Christian and turned on her work for women's rights and became a pro-life campaigner.
McCorvey expressed bitterness toward the attorneys who had represented her in the Roe v. Wade case, saying they were more interested in keeping her pregnant for their lawsuit than in helping her get the abortion she needed.
'I'm a simple woman with a ninth-grade education who wants women not to be harassed or condemned, ' she told the New York Times in 1994.
McCorvey fell pregnant to a different man and gave the baby up for adoption in 1967. McCorvey came forward in the 1980s to become a strong voice in the pro-choice movement. Her death comes at a time when that movement, with help from the Trump White House, could achieve many of its long-held goals. "I'm sorry she won't be here to celebrate with me when we finally abolish legal abortion in this country, but I know she will be watching". McCorvey joined the cause and staff of Benham, who had befriended her when the anti-abortion group moved next door to the clinic where she was working.
McCorvey continued, "Since all these lies succeeded in dismantling every state's protection of the unborn, I think it's fair to say that the entire abortion industry is based on a lie". During that testimony, she acknowledged how wrong and broken she was and said she had experienced the power of God's forgiveness, vowing she would devote the rest of her life "undoing the law that bears my name".
By this time, McCorvey's daughter was two and had been given up for abortion.
At the time, abortion was a state issue and Texas, like many states, had a law in place making abortion illegal except when the mother's life was in danger. But the case was rejected and she was forced to give birth. Years later, she admitted that was not the case.
Norma McCorvey (L), the original Jane Roe in the Roe vs. Wade landmark abortion decision 25 years ago, addresses a group of teenagers at a pro-life convention in Chicago January 17.
In a later interview, she made clear her life mission: "I am dedicated to spreading the truth about preserving the dignity of all human life from natural conception to natural death". And although she never had an abortion, she deeply regretted that millions of babies have died because of an unjust decision rendered in her name.
Norma McCorvey, who was known as Jane Roe, was a Texas resident who sought to obtain an abortion. He confirmed Norma in 1998.