Jane Roe, of Roe V. Wade, Was Paid to Say She Regretted Abortion

On her deathbed in a new documentary, Norma McCorvey says religious conservatives paid her to lie, and used her as the face of their movement.

Jane Roe Documentary
Photo: FX

In the new documentary AKA Jane Roe, the titular subject, best known as a plaintiff in the landmark Roe v. Wade case, makes an astonishing confession: that her turn against abortion rights was an act.

Roe, whose real name was Norma McCorvey, became known as Jane Roe when she lent her experience of not being able to get an abortion for Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court case was passed in 1973, legalizing abortions in all 50 states. However, in 1995, McCorvey became an anti-abortion activist who later tried to get Roe v. Wade overturned.

According to The Daily Beast, McCorvey, who died in 2017, confesses in AKA Jane Roe that she was paid to turn on abortion rights. The outlet found that the amount totaled around $456,911 worth of "benevolent gifts."

"This is my deathbed confession," she said. When asked by director Nick Sweeney, "Did [the evangelicals] use you as a trophy?" she responded, "Of course. I was the Big Fish."

"I think it was a mutual thing," she added. "I took their money, and they put me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say, and that’s what I’d say...I did it well, too. I am a good actress. Of course, I’m not acting now."

Reverend Rob Schenck, a leader of the evangelical Christian right, was also interviewed for the documentary, and told filmmakers, "I had never heard her say anything like this…But I knew what we were doing. And there were times when I was sure she knew. And I wondered, is she playing us? What I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know damn well we’re playing her."

"I guess in some ways I’d like to use whatever years I have remaining to undo the damage that I did and that many movement leaders did on the pro-life side," Schenck added. "I used to think that Roe v. Wade would never be overturned. I think Roe v. Wade could be overturned now. And I think the result of that would be chaos and pain. And to impose that kind of crisis on a woman is unthinkable."

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