NRL News

An especially inconvenient truth: “Jane Roe” never aborted

by | Jan 16, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

Norma McCorvey

Norma McCorvey

Each year, as we approach the anniversary of the hideous Roe v. Wade decision, Casey Mattox, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, reminds us of a truth that probably 99% of the public does not know. And that is that the plaintiff in Roe –Norma McCorvey—never had an abortion!

As Mattox wrote

45 years ago, the Supreme Court decided that the Texas law that prevented Jane Roe from ending the life of her unborn daughter was unconstitutional. But by the time the Supreme Court issued its decision in 1973, she [McCorvey’s daughter ] had already been born and adopted by a family—likely not knowing that all that ink spilled in Roe v. Wade was about her.

That McCorvey had not aborted did not matter all that much, if at all, to pro-abortion lawyers Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington who, in 1970, were trolling for women to challenge Texas’s abortion laws. When Norma died in 2017, pro-abortion scholar David Garrow told the Los Angeles Times that Norma (rightly!) resented being “treated like poor, working-class, white trash” by pro-abortionists.

The Times’ Mary Rourke and Emily Alpert Reyes wrote

Her doubts about legal abortion increased when she went to work at a Dallas abortion clinic. She met women who used the medical procedure for birth control. She worried about the lack of professional counseling at the clinic for women who were ambivalent about terminating their pregnancy. She alleged that one doctor performed an operation in bare feet.

McCorvey also complained that her lawyers never made it clear to her that the Roe vs. Wade case would probably take too long for her to benefit from a favorable verdict. In her view, they used her.

And, of course, they had.

Norma was no intellectual. She was a hardscrabble woman whose home life was chaotic, both growing up and long afterwards. She was the perfect victim to be exploited by the highly educated Weddington and Coffee, both Texas Law School graduates.

If that abuse was pushing McCorvey away from pro-abortionists, what pulled her toward the pro-life movement was that she’d been Transformed by Love, the title of a second memoir she wrote in 1997. A pro-lifer looked beyond and beneath the face Norma wore when she was working at an abortion clinic and Norma’s life was transformed. She became an ardent pro-lifer.

In a number of the obituaries I read about Norma when she passed in February 2007, two subtexts stood out. #1. Typically it was not until the very end (if at all!) that the reader learned that Norma later became a staunch defender of unborn children.

Usually the obituary was accompanied by a famous photo of Norma with attorney Gloria Allred in front of the Supreme Court. But that picture was taken much later, in 1989. She neither attended the oral arguments before the Supreme Court nor was she at the High Court on January 22, 1973. She later said she read about the decision in the Dallas Morning News.

However the point is that the woman whose pseudonym is identified with unleashing abortion on demand took up the cause of life is left until the end, or omitted altogether. An inconvenient truth that runs counter to the pro-abortion narrative.

#2. A story/obituary in the Dallas Morning News included this quote which, while underplayed, is pivotal to understanding how Norma was exploited:

In June 1998, to CNN, about abortion rights movement leaders [she said], “They could have been nice to me instead of treating me like an idiot.”

This is offered in the context of arguing that supposedly Norma was exploited by both pro-abortion and pro-life forces—phony baloney even-handedness—as classic an example of fake news as you could ever encounter.

But, if you think about it, this fake news had to be included. If both sides were equally disdainful of Norma’s humanity—if she was just a prop to both sides—well, so much for pro-lifers who worked with, prayed for, and looked out for her for two decades.

Indeed, so much for the entire post-abortion ministry which is so important to our Movement. That is why Mattox’s story, and ours, are so important: they are an essential corrective.

As we draw near to Friday’s March for Life and Roe’s 45th anniversary on January 22, be sure to offer up a prayer for Norma and the 60 millions of victims of Roe v. Wade and their mothers.

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Categories: Roe v. Wade