Roe v Wade
Norma McCorvey (R) with Sandra Cano of Atlanta, Georgia, the "Doe" in the Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court case, pictured on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC June 23, 2005 Reuters

The woman whose court case resulted in the legalisation of abortion in the US has died, aged 69.

Norma McCorvey, otherwise known as Jane Roe, whose Supreme Court case Roe v Wade ruled a woman had a right to end an unwanted pregnancy, died on Saturday (18 February) following heart problems, The Washington Post reported.

McCorvey adopted the pseudonym Roe in order to argue her right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy in the landmark 1973 case.

Her initial aim was not to challenge abortion laws for everyone in the US, but rather to argue her right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, in a case she brought to court in 1970.

In Texas, where she lived, abortion was only legal if the life of the woman was in danger. McCorvey argued she should be allowed to end her pregnancy if she did not want the baby.

However, although Roe v Wade resulted in the legalisation of abortion, in a 1973 Supreme Court decision that ruled seven to two in favour of allowing women to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, 'Roe' did not benefit from the ruling.

McCorvey was not granted permission to end her pregnancy, although she won her initial court case, and a challenge to the initial ruling from a Texas court continued throughout her pregnancy.

By the time the Supreme Court announced its decision, McCorvey had given birth to her baby, whom she put up for adoption.

Although McCorvey eventually abandoned her alias and campaigned in favour of abortion rights, she later became a born-again Christian and pro-life campaigner.