The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to reconsider next week its landmark 1973 Doe vs. Bolton abortion decision, in response to a lawsuit brought by the case’s original plaintiff, who claims she was pressured by ACLU attorneys to opt for abortion and that the case was based on fraud.
Like Norma McCorvey, the original “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, Sandra Cano was “Mary Doe” of 1973’s other historic abortion decision. Together, “Roe” and “Doe” eliminated all state laws prohibiting abortion and legalized abortion. Cano’s case in particular – because of the “health exception” for the mother it created – opened the door to abortion on demand, for virtually any reason, at any stage of pregnancy up to the moment of birth.
Repeated polls show that only about 1 in 4 Americans agree with unfettered abortion on demand throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
Both Cano and McCorvey are attempting to overturn the two abortion cases that bear their names, each claiming their case was based on fraud.
Cano, who at the time of the case was a pregnant, 22-year-old wife of an abusive husband and all three of her children in foster care, was just looking for a way to get her children back and leave her husband, she says. At no time was she interested in abortion, she adds, but insists she was pressured toward abortion by an aggressive ACLU attorney.
With her case scheduled to be considered by the high court next Wednesday, Cano says the justices have ignored vast advances in scientific and medical knowledge in the last three decades, and have “frozen abortion law based on obsolete 1973 assumptions and prevented the normal regulation of the practice of medicine.”
According to a report in Insight magazine, Cano also will argue to the Supreme Court that the original “Doe” decision overturning U.S. abortion laws was based on fraud and lies coordinated by Margie Pitts Hames, Cano’s ACLU attorney.
In her affidavit to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, reports Insight, Cano claims the case originated when she approached a legal aid office in Atlanta to help her divorce her abusive husband and regain custody of her three children. However, says the report, Cano says she was taken advantage of by an “aggressive self-serving attorney, Margie Pitts Hames, the legal-aid attorney.”
Cano, pregnant at the time, also says she never actually signed an affidavit saying she didn’t want or couldn’t care for another child. The affidavit even warned Cano might commit suicide.
“I am 99 percent certain that I did not sign this affidavit,” she said, according to the Insight report. “I do not believe it is my signature on the affidavit, and Margie either forged my signature or slipped this document in with other papers while I was signing divorce papers. I never told Margie that I wanted an abortion. The facts stated in the affidavit in Doe v. Bolton are not true.”
Saying her mother and Hames tried to force her to have an abortion, Cano says she fled to Oklahoma and returned only when she was sure she was assured that she wouldn’t have to have the abortion. She was told not to speak in court, Cano adds.
On June 23, 2005, Cano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee for the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights.
Here is her scathing testimony, in which she accused “wicked attorneys” of using her to advance a radical agenda:
… I am Sandra Cano, the former “Doe” of Doe v. Bolton. Doe v. Bolton is the companion case to Roe v. Wade. Using my name and life, Doe v. Bolton falsely created the health exception that led to abortion on demand and partial birth abortion. How it got there is still pretty much a mystery to me. I only sought legal assistance to get a divorce from my husband and to get my children from foster care.
I was very vulnerable: poor and pregnant with my fourth child, but abortion never crossed my mind. Although it apparently was utmost in the mind of the attorney from whom I sought help. At one point during the legal proceedings, it was necessary for me to flee to Oklahoma to avoid the pressure being applied to have the abortion scheduled for me by this same attorney. Please understand even though I have lived what many would consider an unstable life and overcome many devastating circumstances, at no time did I ever have an abortion. I did not seek an abortion nor do I believe in abortion. Yet my name and life is now forever linked with the slaughter of 40-50 million babies.
I have tried to understand how it all happened. How did my divorce and child custody case become the basis by which bloody murder is done on infants thriving in the wombs of their mothers? How can cunning, wicked lawyers use an uneducated, defenseless pregnant woman to twist the American court system in such a fraudulent way? Doe has been a nightmare. Over the last 32 years, I have become a prisoner of the case. It took me until 1988 to get my records unsealed in order for me to try and find the answer to those questions and to join in the movement to stop abortion in America. When pro abortion advocates found out about my efforts; my car was vandalized on one occasion and at another time, someone shot at me while I was on my front porch holding my grandbaby.
I am angry. I feel like my name, life, and identity have been stolen and put on this case without my knowledge and against my wishes. How dare they use my name and my life this way! One of the Justices of the Supreme Court said during oral argument in my case “What does it matter if she is real or not.” Well I am real and it does matter. I was in court under a false name and lies. I was never cross-examined in court. Doe v. Bolton is based on a lie and deceit. It needs to be retried or overturned. Doe v. Bolton is against my wishes. Abortion is wrong. I love children. I would never harm a child and yet because of this case I feel like I bear the guilt of over 46 million innocent children being killed. The Supreme Court is also guilty.
The bottom line is I want abortion stopped in my name. I want the case which was supposedly to benefit me, be either overturned or retried. If it is retried, at least I will have an opportunity to speak for myself in court, something that never happened before. My lawyers at The Justice Foundation have collected affidavits from over one thousand women hurt by abortion. We have filed those affidavits and a Rule 60 Motion to reverse Doe which is now on its way to the Supreme Court through the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. I am also giving you a copy of my affidavit in the case. Millions of babies have been killed. Millions of women have been hurt horribly. It is time to get my name and life out of this case and its time to stop the killing.
In January, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that only the Supreme Court could reverse its own decision, sending the case to the highest court in the land.