A new documentary on the woman famously behind Roe vs. Wade states that she faked her pro-life stance for the sake of money.
On Friday, FX will release a documentary titled “AKA Jane Roe” on Hulu, made by filmmaker Nick Sweeney who interviewed Norma McCorvey prior to her death in 2017.
McCorvey served as the plaintiff in Roe vs Wade – the famous court case that afforded women the right to have an abortion – in 1973 under the legal pseudonym “Jane Roe.”
In the 90s, however, McCorvey became a Christian and began promoting the pro-life movement.
According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2016, as Sweeney began work on the documentary of McCorvey’s life, he started making visits to her.
In the documentary, Sweeney claimed that during one of those visits McCorvey made a self-described “deathbed confession,” in which she alleged that she was paid to become pro-life.
“I was the big fish. I think it was a mutual thing,” she reportedly said. “I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say.”
“It was all an act,” she allegedly asserted.
“I did it well too. I am a good actress,”
In this confession, McCorvey also allegedly voiced her support for abortion.
“If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my a**. That’s why they call it choice,” she is reported as saying.
Evangelical minister and former leader of pro-life organization Operation Rescue Rob Schenck was also interviewed by Sweeny in the documentary.
Schenck, who has distanced himself from the pro-life movement, noted in the interview that McCorvey was paid by pro-life activists and that “she would go back to the other side.”
“There were times I wondered: Is she playing us? And what I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know [pretty] well we were playing her. What we did with Norma was highly unethical. The jig is up,” Schenck said in the film.
According to The Christian Post, several pro-lifers spoke against McCorvey’s portrayal in the documentary, citing their personal relationships to her.
“What I can tell you is I had 22 years of conversations & experiences with her. She was sincere,” tweeted Father Frank Pavone, the priest believed to have helped McCorvey convert to Catholicism.
To understand that, we’d have to see the unedited footage and we’d have to hear all the conversations preceding it.— Fr. Frank Pavone 🇺🇸 (Text LIFE to 88022) (@frfrankpavone) May 19, 2020
What I can tell you is I had 22 years of conversations & experiences w her. She was sincere.
Pavone, who serves as the national director of Priests for Life, advised people to view “the unedited footage" first and "hear all the conversations preceding it" before they buy into anything the documentary is trying to sell.
On Wednesday, Pavone also tweeted a picture of a text conversation from 2016 between himself and McCorvey that seemed to suggest that Sweeny paid McCorvey to partake in the film.
“Prior to these sentences she said, ‘I’m sitting here broke and extremely upset.’ She was paid by him,” Pavone stated in the tweet.
On May 24, 2016, 8:50pm, my friend of 22 yrs, #NormaMcCorvey texted me the message below. She's referring to Nick Sweeney, of Australia via NY, who filmed the documentary.— Fr. Frank Pavone 🇺🇸 (Text LIFE to 88022) (@frfrankpavone) May 20, 2020
Prior to these sentences she said, "I sitting here broke and extremely upset"
She was paid by him.#prolife pic.twitter.com/7blL2ay3Sv
President of Students for Life of America Kristian Hawkins also refuted the “deathbed confession” on Twitter.
“Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) always spoke with passion about her pro-life convictions, which represented a huge & public shift from how she had been seen for so long. The woman that I personally knew lived a painful & complicated life, but spoke directly about how she felt about it,” Hawkins wrote.
Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey) always spoke w/ passion about her pro-life convictions, which represented a huge & public shift from how she had been seen for so long.— Kristan Hawkins (@KristanHawkins) May 19, 2020
The woman that I personally knew lived a painful & complicated life, but spoke directly about how she felt about it. pic.twitter.com/jUEmOLGKOf
Regardless of objections, Sweeney stated that the goal of the documentary was not to cause controversy but to show who she truly was as a person.
“The focus of the film is Norma. That’s what I really want people to take away from the film — who is this enigmatic person at the center of this very divisive issue,” he asserted, according to the LA Times. “With an issue like this there can be a temptation for different players to reduce ‘Jane Roe’ to an emblem or a trophy, and behind that is a real person with a real story.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Travis Lindquist/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.