Leftist Media Joins FX to Smear Pro-Life Movement in Norma McCorvey Doc ‘AKA Jane Roe’

Norma McCorvey, right, the plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit Roe v. Wade, gestures as she speaks up as she joins other anti-abortion demonstrators inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The national pro-life community is condemning what it calls a “smear campaign” by left-wing media as an FX Networks documentary about Norma McCorvey, who was Jane Roe in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, premiered Friday.

FX Networks, owned by The Walt Disney Company, announced the film, AKA Jane Roe, would illuminate the “real-life ‘Roe’ of Roe v. Wade fame — and her journey from pro-choice to pro-life.”

The media “smear campaign,” however, launched after some trailers for the film featured McCorvey, now deceased, appearing to say she had been paid by members of the pro-life community to say she was pro-life:

“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,” McCorvey can be heard saying about 20 minutes into the film. “That’s what I’d say.”

“If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my ass,” she is also heard saying. “That’s why they call it choice.”

However, Allan Parker, founder of The Justice Foundation, represented McCorvey from 2000 to 2005 in her efforts to reverse the case that bears her name.

In a statement, Parker said:

In view of my many conversations with Norma and considering the sworn testimony she provided to the Supreme Court, I believe the producers of the newly-released FX documentary ‘AKA Jane Roe’ paid Norma, befriended her and then betrayed her. This documentary cannot be trusted and the perception it attempts to create around my friend and former client, Norma, is patently false.

The Justice Foundation presented the following facts:

  • Norma’s sworn testimony provided to the Supreme Court details her efforts to reverse Roe v. Wade.
  • Norma changed her mind from being pro-abortion to being pro-life after working in the abortion industry. The actual reality of the callous disregard for women led her to change her mind on abortion.
  • Once she became pro-life, Norma fought to the end of her life with all of the power and effort she could muster to reverse Roe v. Wade, including asking the Supreme Court to hear her case again. McCorvey’s arguments in her Rule 60 Motion which she filed have still not been ruled on by the Court to this day.
  • Norma McCorvey loved Operation Outcry, the women who had been injured by abortion and those that helped Norma collect testimonies of women injured by abortion.
  • Every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, she felt the grief, sorrow and burden of another million babies killed in America. Even though she knew she was forgiven, still felt legally responsible for the deaths. She felt used and abused by the legal system, including her lawyers and the Supreme Court.

Parker’s foundation referred to the film’s director, Nick Sweeney, as a “liberal, pro-abortion activist.”

As Catholic News Agency reported, McCorvey suffered from mental health issues throughout her life. McCorvey also said she had been sexually abused as a child and later, after placing her third child for adoption, developed substance abuse problems.

Though McCorvey advocated for abortion rights and worked in an abortion clinic at one time, in 1998 she joined the Catholic Church.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, knew McCorvey for over 20 years, spoke with McCorvey on the day of her death in 2017, and celebrated her funeral Mass.

Pavone said in a statement:

One would think that any normal or honest person who wants to understand the journey of Norma McCorvey would talk with those who journeyed with her. I knew her and was one of her key spiritual guides for 22 years, starting in 1995 with her baptism, right through the conversation we had on the day she died. I was privileged to lead and preach at her funeral. I knew her struggles and her pain. She didn’t just have positions; she had deep wounds because of her involvement with Roe v. Wade, and I guided her through the healing of those wounds, in the quiet hours of struggle that nobody saw or heard about. Those are things you don’t fake.

Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life, was also a personal friend of McCorvey’s, and said she and McCorvey often shopped, visited, and traveled together for two decades.

“Her daughter Melissa called Father Pavone and me on the day she was dying, and both of us spoke to Norma,” Morana said in a statement. “She made me promise that we would continue to fight the unjust decision made in her name. Whatever she may have said to this filmmaker, and for whatever reason, can in no way rewrite what we lived through together for decades.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said she knew McCorvey personally, and that she “always spoke with passion about her pro-life convictions, which represented a huge and public shift from how she had been seen for so long.”

“I believe the woman that I personally knew who lived a painful and complicated life, but spoke directly about how she felt about it,” Hawkins added. “And I also don’t believe that FX is a good actor, when you consider that earlier this year, they went after the iconic Phyllis Schlafly. Tearing down pro-life champions won’t work for those of us who have had the privilege of knowing the real people behind the headlines.”

Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum and a national leader of the conservative movement, was a pro-life mother of six children who launched a successful campaign to stop the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

The Eagle Forum and other pro-life leaders have condemned FX on Hulu’s portrayal of Schlafly in Mrs. America as a cold and callous woman prepared to defeat the ERA by any means possible:

Eunie Smith, the organization’s president, said in a statement sent to Breitbart News, “We have seen first-hand in Mrs. America that FX is capable of twisting the narrative of a story when it comes to figures in the Conservative movement.”

“While our organization didn’t know Norma McCorvey personally, we are deeply concerned about any coercion that may have taken place in order for FX to reach a desired outcome,” Smith added. “We, along with other pro-life groups, have signed onto a coalition letter asking FX to release all unedited footage so that the public can make an accurate decision.”

Former Planned Parenthood manager-turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson posted a statement about McCorvey to Facebook.

I spoke to Norma McCorvey days before her death. It was the only time we had ever spoken. An unexpected call and a…

Posted by Abby Johnson: ProWoman, ProChild, ProLife on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Johnson said she spoke to McCorvey only once, just days before her death, about their common background of having supported abortion prior to becoming pro-life.

Johnson wrote:

She was a fragile woman. A woman whose life was riddled with heartache. She was shamelessly used by the abortion industry at a young age. She was a vulnerable target for them and that’s who they prey on. No one reading this can even understand the mental state of a woman tormented by that burden…especially in the last year of her life.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, also said he knew McCorvey well:

[A]t one time, she lived with my family in the Wichita, Kansas, area for several months. I knew her to be a straightforward, down-to-earth woman who was witty and kind. She loved children and adored my own five children. There is no way her Christian faith or her pro-life beliefs were false.

“The makers of AKA Jane Roe should be ashamed that they took advantage of Norma in the vulnerable last days of her life, then released their spurious movie after she passed away when she could not defend herself,” Newman added.

Dr. Alveda King, director of Civil Rights for the Unborn for Priests for Life, also said in a statement, “Shameful fake news would have us believe that Norma McCorvey was a mercenary.”

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” King said. “For those of us who knew and loved Norma, we know that at the end, Norma loved God, and Norma loved life.”

Most Americans are not aware that McCorvey never actually had an abortion but placed her baby for adoption prior to the high Court’s ruling. In 2013, McCorvey, then a pro-life activist, said in a video she was dedicated to overturning the ruling in her case.

“I think it’s safe to say that the entire abortion industry is based on a lie,” McCorvey said. “I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name.”

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