Norma McCorvey, the woman who was referred to as Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that led to the legalization of abortions in all 50 states, says in a documentary to be released on Friday that she faked her subsequent turn to pro-life activism.
In the mid 1990s, McCorvey took up the pro-life cause with the help of Reverends Rob Schenck and Flip Benham. McCorvey died in 2017, but shortly prior to her death she was interviewed by documentary filmmaker Nick Sweeney.
“This is my deathbed confession,” McCorvey says in footage of an interview.
“Did [the evangelicals] use you as a trophy?” Sweeney asks.
“Of course,” McCorvey says. “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.” In the documentary, Sweeney finds that McCorvey received at least $456,911 in “benevolent gifts” to McCorvey from pro-life figures.
Reverend Schenck, an evangelical who is currently the president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute, also ruminates on the footage of McCorvey’s interview in the documentary.
“For Christians like me, there is no more important or authoritative voice than Jesus,” Schenck says. “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.”
The 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, along with its companion case Doe v. Bolton, made abortion legal in all 50 states through all nine months of pregnancy. Conservative lawmakers have since advocated at state and federal levels to increase restrictions on abortion. Debates over abortion restrictions continue even through the coronavirus pandemic, with Democrats attempting to fund abortion providers in coronavirus-relief legislation.