Courts Reproductive Rights

Former Roe V. Wade Plaintiff Admits Pro-Life Stance Was An Act

Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff from the Roe v. Wade (1973) case, has once again publicly changed her stance in support of abortion, and also admitted that she only came out against abortion after being paid by anti-abortion groups.

These statements come to light in the documentary “AKA Jane Roe”—directed by Nick Sweeney and filmed just before her death in 2017—where McCorvey admits that she was paid to speak out against abortion, in her self-described “deathbed confession.”  The filmmakers uncovered documents that show McCorvey received about $456,911 in “benevolent gifts” from anti-abortion groups.

The Roe decision states that “inherent in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is a fundamental “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s choice whether to have an abortion.”

According to CBS News, “McCorvey, the face of the abortion-rights movement at the time, came out against abortion in 1995 after purportedly finding religion at the hands of an evangelical minister. She went on to publicly participate in anti-abortion rights protests for the next two decades, and even published a memoir in 1998 explaining her decision to change sides.”

For decades, McCorvey turning against abortion was a symbolic victory for pro-life groups, and according to reporting from LA Times Staff Writer Meredith Blake, “For the remainder of her life, McCorvey worked to overturn the law that bore her name.”

“I was the big fish. I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say. That’s what I’d say,” McCorvey admits in the film. “It was all an act. I did it well too. I am a good actress.”

Blake also notes that “Sweeney says his goal was not necessarily to stir controversy, but to create a fully realized portrait of a flawed, fascinating woman who changed the course of American history but felt she was used as a pawn by both sides in the debate.”

And finally, in her own words, McCorvey reaffirms her support for reproductive rights, including abortion, in “AKA Jane Roe” by saying that, “if a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off [her] ass. That’s why they call it choice.”

Sources: LA Times 5/20; CBS News 5/20; Oyez 5/2020; Daily Beast 5/19/20

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