In Nick Sweeney’s 79-minute documentary “AKA Jane Roe,” released in May 2020, the former pro-choice advocate admits that her later turn to the anti-abortion camp as a born-again Christian was “all an act.”
The Daily Beast reported last year that Norma McCorvey grew up a poor, queer woman, and she became Jane Roe when she was homeless and in need of an abortion. Her legal battle led to one of the most famous Supreme Court cases and a massive win for women’s reproductive rights: Roe v. Wade (1973).
After the groundbreaking court case, things began to change, The Daily Beast reported.
McCorvey, who died in 2017, became Jane Roe when, as a young homeless woman, she was unable to get a legal or safe abortion in the state of Texas. Her willingness to lend her experience to the legal case for abortion led to the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973, which legalized abortions in all 50 states (though red states do all they can to get around this; recently, several have even used the COVID-19 pandemic to make abortions functionally impossible to procure).
But conservatives had a field day in the mid ’90s when the assertive, media-savvy pro-choice advocate and activist McCorvey became an anti-abortion born-again ex-gay Christian with the help of leaders of the evangelical Christian right, Reverend Flip Benham (of the infamous Operation Rescue) and Reverend Rob Schenck. A conservative film, Roe v. Wade, starring Jon Voight and Stacey Dash, will dramatize McCorvey’s “conversion.”
However, in the final third of “AKA Jane Roe,” McCorvey admits she was only looking for a pay day. In return for repeating scripted lines against the evils of abortion, she received over $450,000 in “benevolent gifts” from the anti-abortion movement. The two pastors who used her have differing opinions on the matter.
Reverend Benham believed McCorvey chose to be used.
Reverend Schenk believed as people of God, what they did to McCorvey was not beyond reproach, saying: “For Christians like me, there is no more important or authoritative voice than Jesus. And he said, ‘What does it profit in the end if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul?’ When you do what we did to Norma, you lose your soul.”
McCorvey does not feel as though she was used by the church. She said, “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.”
“This is my deathbed confession,” she said, admitting the anti-abortion crusade was a mere act.
Image credit: Screengrab / Washington Post / Washington Post