Roe v. Paid: Responding to the Norma McCorvey Documentary
“The antiabortion movement has lost its credibility! Pro-lifers are losing! They have been exposed!”
These cries are a reflection of the liberal media over the past week following the bombshell announcement from the lips of Norma McCorvey in the recent documentary, “AKA Jane Roe.” They are the cries of a society that continuously fights Christianity, the cries of a world that hates the pro-life movement, and the cries of a culture that kills children and calls it a human right. But these cries have not crushed our cause. We have merely hit a speed bump on the road to the preservation of life.
Let’s look at the facts of this massive story. Norma McCorvey, also known by the alibi Jane Roe, was at the center of one of the most controversial Supreme Court decisions in 1973. Roe v. Wade was about her. Nearly 50 years ago, the highest court in the land deemed that the Constitution protected her freedom to obtain an abortion without government restriction. The decision set a precedent for nationwide abortion legalization and has seen the deaths of over 60 million unborn children in the US alone. Despite the decision, McCorvey had a change of heart and became a pro-life advocate in the following years. She spoke for the sanctity of life, attended pro-life rallies, and wrote books defending the unborn. The pro-life community heralded her as a representation of truth, morality, and the recognition of abortion’s evils. In 2017, McCorvey died of heart failure at the age of sixty-nine, and at the beginning of 2020, a documentary of her life was announced and set to be released. However, when the documentary came out in May, no one bothered to talk about Roe v. Wade itself, her transformation, or her life’s work. Only one thing mattered. At the end of the documentary, McCorvey made a stunning deathbed confession just prior to her passing. She said that the pro-life community paid her off in order to be their spokesperson and figurehead. “I was the big fish,” McCorvey says in the documentary. “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.”
Obviously, this sent shockwaves through the nation that are still reverberating today, and of course, much of the liberal media took it as an opportunity to bash the pro-life movement. Thus, the question for us is clear. What is the proper response to this bombshell announcement? How do we in the pro-life community maintain our credibility in this fight while sorting through the conglomeration of information that is seen in the media?
First, we must look at the way that this documentary portrays McCorvey, and we must examine the validity of its claims against McCorvey’s words. We should not take an isolated quotation in a documentary of a now-deceased woman as absolute truth at face value. After all, she is no longer here to explain her comments, set the record straight, or defend herself. She is gone, which makes it rather easy for FX, the network that created the documentary, to manipulate her words and take dialogue out of context. The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of things that we don’t know, and there are a lot of questions that the documentary left unanswered. If McCorvey could have been bribed to be pro-life, could she have also been bribed to make that claim? We don’t know, because she isn’t here to address it. Furthermore, we don’t know if McCorvey’s words were televised in context, we don’t know if the documentary team misconstrued and manipulated her statements, and we don’t know if there is additional footage that would clarify, contextualize, or alter the meaning of her message. It is certainly worth wondering and questioning why this documentary was released only after she died when she is no longer able to explain anything.
Moreover, one must understand that this skepticism is not rampant speculation and unfounded attempts to legitimize McCorvey’s pro-life legacy. We have many reasons to believe these doubts are legitimate. After the release of the documentary, many of her lifelong friends, associates, and confidantes were quick to decry the claims it made, maintaining that her commitment to the cause of life was genuine. In truth, we have numerous books, interviews, and other documents that would seem to support this claim, and after all, McCorvey is of course not here to address it. Therefore, we turn to her closest lifelong friends for insight.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s niece, Alveda, herself a former abortion advocate, was among the most vocal defenders of McCorvey’s legacy. "Shameful fake news would have us believe that Norma McCorvey was a mercenary,” she stated in an article following the documentary’s release.
Nothing could be further from the truth. For those of us who knew and loved Norma, we know that in the end, Norma loved God, and Norma loved life. Fake news baited and switched on Norma just before her death. They promised to let her tell her story; and told her they would pay her for it. From my personal perspective, they interviewed Norma and took her words out of context.
Reverend Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, another close friend of Norma, echoed King’s sentiments, adding that he was texting with Norma during the documentary and has proof that her “deathbed conversion” was a sham. "She told me about this documentary during the days that it was happening,” he explained. “It wasn't a deathbed thing. She died in February of 2017. [She was being filmed] in May of 2016. So this notion that's being created that somehow before she left this world she decided to finally tell the whole truth, is a bunch of hogwash. She and I were in communication." Former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson also called out the documentary. “Don’t trust it. It’s patently false,” she claimed. A group of pro-life leaders who were friends of McCorvey has even sent a letter to the FX director calling for the release of any additional documentary footage, seeking to set the record straight.
Additionally, there are personal reasons surrounding Jane Roe that suggest severe instability and distress, leading one to conclude that she may have been mentally unstable at times throughout the documentary. Her background was one of significant trauma. Throughout her life, she suffered abuse, negligence, emotional torment, homosexual tendencies, an unwanted pregnancy, and extreme health issues. She was a woman that experienced pain, fear, sadness, and volatile mental states, according to her close friends. This is not the first time we have heard of an emotionally and mentally unstable individual caught up in the abortion debate, either. In the late 1990s, Eric Craig Harrah, an abortion business operator and outspoken homosexual, publicly declared his conversion to Christianity and the pro-life movement. For two years, he proclaimed Christ and the value of the unborn, and he was a mouthpiece for the pro-life cause until he returned to homosexuality and renounced his commitment to protecting the sanctity of life. In the aftermath, many concluded that Eric had merely been thrust into the public eye too quickly. His beliefs and worldviews were still forming as he transitioned to Christianity, and pro-life advocates, therefore, saw him as a prime candidate to be the newly converted figurehead of the movement. Their intentions were admirable, but it all happened too quickly for this unstable, vulnerable man, and his belief system ultimately crumbled. This was was not a tale of malicious activity, but merely overly ambitious intentions. A few of his friends even said that they thought it was a possibility that he would claim to have been paid off if questioned about his conversion. Sound familiar?
Could Norma have been unstable enough to feign bribery at the end of her life? History shows us that it’s not impossible. What’s more, even if McCorvey was the recipient of some monetary compensation, there’s no evidence of malevolent intent. Pro-life advocate Mark Crutcher even wrote an article following the documentary’s release in which he admitted to providing Norma McCorvey with some form of payment, but maintained that it was nothing corrupt in nature.
There were a lot of people in the pro-life movement who supported her financially – me included. But contrary to what the media and others on the godless left are claiming, it was not a bribe or a pay-off, it was an offering to someone we cared about who needed help. That’s all.
Despite all these questions, we must, of course, consider what our response should be if Norma McCorvey’s deathbed confession turns out to be entirely true. After all, Rober Schenk, a pastor who worked closely with her, claimed that his group was the one that paid McCorvey off. However, this is where we see the most important element of this story from a pro-life perspective. There is one thing that we cannot do; we cannot allow the other side to change the subject. No matter what attacks are levied against the legitimacy of her life, nothing changes the fact that abortion wrongfully and intentionally takes the life of an innocent human being. This has always been and will continue to be the crux of the matter. In truth, there are deceptive, cruel, and evil human beings on each side of the argument. For every attempted pro-life bribe, I will show you a Kermit Gosnell, a horrifying man with a sadistic mind and a barbaric practice who murdered hundreds of children, born and unborn. Of course, we recognize and denounce any immoral bribery, no matter what side of the issue it occurs on. But it does not alter the reality of abortion. Do not let them change the subject. Abortion remains one of the great evils of our nation’s history, whether Norma McCorvey’s deathbed confession is true or not.
Abortion and Covid-19
The impact that the coronavirus has had on exposing the abortion industry continues to fly under the radar. The way that Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics function in tandem with the government is incredibly telling, and while many refuse to admit it, we have seen the industry showcased for what it truly is; a corrupt, greedy, murderous industry that operations in deception and exploits women for profit.
Despite the fact that nonessential businesses were shut down across the country, over 75% of states permitted elective abortions to continue in some capacity. Pennsylvania Family Institute, a public policy organization based in Harrisburg, has pointed out that Planned Parenthood is now 100% abortion in PA. Governor Tom Wolf has permitted them to shut down all of their operations throughout the pandemic except for abortions, and they even had the gall to ask for masks and hand sanitizer to support their barbaric practice. PA Family’s president Michael Geer had a few things to say about this decision.
This is unacceptable. Planned Parenthood is now 100% abortion – willing to put further strain on our health system and risk increasing the spread of this virus so they can still profit from their main service revenue stream of elective abortions.
This isn’t a rarity, either. Pennsylvania is a microcosm of the industry’s nationwide goal; abortion - no matter what. This pandemic has shown us where Planned Parenthood’s priorities are, and we must remember this when anyone attempts to defend them for providing other medical services. When the country shut down, what service did Planned Parenthood continue providing? Abortion. The most ironic aspect of this story is that businesses and services that were allowed to remain open throughout the pandemic were deemed “life-sustaining.” Oh, the hypocrisy! Not only is abortion not a life-sustaining practice, but it is actually the very opposite; a life-destroying practice.
Another aspect of the abortion industry that has been exposed by Covid-19 is Planned Parenthood’s many illicit funding methods and their corrupt, governmental ties. Planned Parenthood received $80 million in federal stimulus relief money from the government during the coronavirus lockdown to help support their organization. The only problem is, they were not eligible for those funds. Planned Parenthood had violated the restrictions that would have prevented them from applying for relief funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, and as a result, 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates received $80 million in loans. “They just don’t qualify for it,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio. “There's something called affiliation rules, and that means that there’s some independence between an affiliate and a parent company, and each affiliate is allowed to apply on their own. In this particular case, in order to be a Planned Parenthood affiliate, you have to get the approval of the parent board, the one that’s located here in Washington, D.C. A parent board that, according to its own numbers, is sitting on half a billion dollars in net assets.” He added that they are well-funded and controlled by Washington, and thus do not apply for the relief money. It was also shown that they have too many employees to be eligible for aid. In the wake of this scandal, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has led a letter signed by 27 Republican Senators asking Attorney General William Barr to investigate Planned Parenthood’s improper obtaining of this relief money, and Senator Rubio is calling on Planned Parenthood to return the money. No matter the outcome, one thing is clear. Covid-19 has exposed Planned Parenthood’s abortion-first mindset and their goal to obtain illicit funds by any means possible; even if it means acting as though they are above the law.
Life Line International: Rwandan Women Released
For the first edition of Life Line International, we travel to East Africa and the small country of Rwanda. The nation’s president, Paul Kagame, has announced the pardoning and release of 50 women who had been imprisoned for having or assisting with abortions. Last year, the president freed 52 women from jail for the same reasons, and this year’s announcement included a statement noting that this year’s women were the last to be freed. One should note that these particular releases are not related to the current coronavirus pandemic, although it was also revealed that an additional 3,600 inmates will be freed in order to combat Covid-19. The government has enacted a new law recently that permits abortion in the cases of rape, incest, health risks, and forced marriages after a consultation with a doctor. Previously, however, abortion for any reason was illegal and punishable by imprisonment. While various women’s and reproductive rights activists across Africa tout the decision to release these women as “a good move,” and “a positive step,” most are still concerned with the various legal and medical obstacles that are faced by pregnant Rwandan women seeking abortions. Dr. Agnes Odhiambo of the Human Rights Watch in Kenya, argues that their incarceration was wrong in the first place. “Women and girls should never, in the first place, be imprisoned for exercising their reproductive rights. The government of Rwanda should remove punitive measures for women who undergo abortions.” Rwandan women’s rights activist Sylvie Nsanga claims that the antiquated, restrictive abortion laws need to be addressed and amended. “There should be more conversation about the penal code that prohibits health professionals such as midwives from providing abortions. “[The law] means that girls will continue to get pregnant, abort, be imprisoned, and then get pardoned by the president.” Moreover, she argues that the clause requiring a doctor’s consultation prevents many women from access to abortion since pro-choice doctors in Rwanda are few and far between. The country has numerous legal, cultural, religious, and medical barriers that prevent access to so-called safe, legal abortions. This leads to approximately 60,000 illegal abortions annually in Rwanda, according to a 2013 Guttmacher Institute study.
With all the contentious debates regarding abortion in the United States, too often we forget that the tragic practice occurs worldwide. The Rwandan’s president decisions to release women charged with abortions raises an important discussion. If and when abortion does become illegal in our country, what should the punishments be, and who should receive them? If we believe the science that tells us that life begins at conception, and likewise that abortion is a form of murder, then we must treat it as such. Yet the mothers are not the ones that should be punished, and this is where Rwanda misses the mark. Too often, women seeking abortions are misled, deceived, and lied to about their unborn child, the process of abortion, and what their reproductive options are. It is not those seeking an abortion who are the true criminals; rather, it is the doctors who perform them. These are health care professionals who have complete knowledge of an abortion process. They know that it takes an innocent human life. They know that it is a dangerous practice. They know that there are other safer options. But abortions generate revenue, and therefore abortion doctors continue to promote it shamelessly. Rwanda got part of it right; abortion is a form of murder, and the punishment for it should reflect that. Major fines, license suspension, and incarceration are all appropriate. But Rwanda’s president was also right to release these women since they never should have been jailed in the first place. We must show respect, love, compassion, kindness, and generosity to all women struggling with their pregnancy, and we must educate them on the horror of what abortion truly is. But the doctors are the ones we must seek out and punish for the crimes they knowingly committed. Perhaps the Rwandan government should replace the cells in which these women were kept with the abortionists who killed their children.