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Norma McCorvey repudiated pro-life conversion before death

May 20, 2020

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff in the landmark Roe v. Wade case, said just before her death in 2017 that she had converted to the pro-life cause only because she was paid.

“I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say,” McCorvey said in a “deathbed confession” that forms part of a documentary, “AKA Jane Roe,” scheduled for broadcast this week.

McCorvey, a troubled young Texas woman whose case provided the basis for the stunning Supreme Court decision in 1973, emerged from anonymity in the 1980s as a public advocate for legal abortion and an avowed lesbian. But in 1995 she announced a dramatic change of heart, when she was baptized as an Evangelical Christian. She later took another step, converting to Catholicism, and she received the last rites of the Catholic Church before her death.

McCorvey was baptized by Rev. Flip Benham, the head of the pro-life activist group Operation Rescue, and she immediately began working for the pro-life cause. In 1997 she told a US Senate hearing, “I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name.”

Troy Newman, the current head of Operation Rescue, has acknowledged that the group paid her speaking fees, to help supplement her meager income. But he denies that she was paid to change her views. Newman sheltered McCorvey in his family’s home for several months after her conversion, and became a close friend.

Long before scoffing at her pro-life allies in her “deathbed confession,” Norma McCorvey had expressed the same sort of scorn for the abortion advocates who had made her a symbolic figure in the 1980s. “They never gave me the respect I thought I deserved,” she said in a 1995 television interview.

Ironically, although she became famous for her legal challenge to restrictions on abortion, McCorvey did not terminate the pregnancy that gave rise to the case in 1970. While she authorized abortion advocates to take her case, she chose not to give testimony or appear in court, and lost track of the case. While Roe v. Wade wound its way through the judicial system, McCorvey battled alcohol and drug abuse and attempted suicide. She described herself as “a rough woman.”

Norma McCorvey died of heart failure in February 2017 in at the age of 69.


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  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - May. 21, 2020 5:42 PM ET USA

    I’ll be interested to see whether the alleged statement is available in a verifiable, unedited form. Without the chance to view and examine a proffered recording, it’s impossible to verify the content and meaning. And of course the question arises: was McCorvey paid for the interview, and did she receive money from any source to influence the direction of her remarks?