"Disingenuous, Abhorrent Abortion Propaganda"
What You Need To Know:
Norma McCorvey’s “deathbed” interview in AKA JANE ROE is edited, so the context is often missing. Also, since it occurs nine months before she died, it’s not a “deathbed confession.” The movie also plays a little fast and loose with some facts. For example, Norma actually revealed she was Jane Roe four days after the high court’s decision. AKA JANE ROE has an abhorrent humanist, radical feminist, pro-murdering babies worldview with strong politically correct, pro-homosexual values and other awful content.
AKA JANE ROE is a propaganda documentary that claims to have Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of the Supreme Court’s infamous 1973 pro-abortion decision, recanting the pro-life position she held for 20 years after giving her life to Jesus Christ. AKA JANE ROE features highly edited interviews with McCorvey in her last few years and about nine months before she died in 2017, plays a little fast and loose with some of the facts and doesn’t really give her longtime pro-life friends a chance to refute her alleged “deathbed confession” on camera or in a written statement.
The movie is organized around a linear synopsis of Norma McCorvey’s life. It describes Norma’s family. Norma is heard in an interview calling her mother the “b” word. The movie says Norma’s mother was a party girl who drank a lot. Eventually, Norma’s father allegedly abandoned the family.
Then, Norma (at age 10) and a female school friend decided to run away to Oklahoma City. Norma robbed a gas station to get there. Then, when they stayed in a hotel, a maid caught them kissing. Soon, a policeman came around, and Norma admitted to putting her hand down the other girl’s pants. Norma was sent to a reform school for girls, where she spent five years.
Norma was sent to live in a house run by some man, who allegedly abused her. Shortly thereafter, she got pregnant and named the Baby Melissa, or Missy for short. Back with her mother with the baby, Norma had a lesbian affair. Her mother kicked her out of the house and won custody of Missy in court.
Out on the streets again, Norma got pregnant again and gave the baby up for adoption. When she got pregnant for a third time in 1969, she tried to get an abortion in Texas, falsely claiming she had been raped, which was an exception to state laws against abortion. She didn’t have enough money to move to one of the six states where abortion was legal, however. Then, two feminist lawyers contacted Norma and used her case to get the Supreme Court to legalize abortion for all 50 states in 1973. The case was called Roe versus Wade, and Norma was identified as Jane Roe. Along the way, she gave up her third baby for adoption and began a long-term lesbian relationship with a woman named Connie.
After this, Norma worked in janitorial services with Connie cleaning businesses and homes. She soon began working at abortion clinics too. The movie asserts that Norma didn’t reveal her identity as Jane Roe until sometime in the mid 1980s, but that’s not true – she actually identified herself as Roe four days after the high court’s 1973 ruling.
Then, in 1989, Norma claimed that her car and Dallas house had been shot up by strangers. The movie shows some old footage of bullet holes of the house and the car. However, according to a 2012 or 2013 interview with VANITY FAIR, Norma’s estranged lesbian lover, Connie, denied it happened (Joshua Prager, VANTIY FAIR, January 18, 2013, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/politics/2013/02/norma-mccorvey-roe-v-wade-abortion). The police never arrested anyone for the alleged crime. Also in 1989, Norma was part of a big pro-abortion rally in Washington, DC, where she met feminist attorney Gloria Allred. That year, Allred and Norma flew to Los Angeles where Norma made a big splash identifying herself as Jane Roe. She became a staple at pro-abortion or “pro-choice” rallies and events.
However, in 1995, the Rev. Flip Benham, the national director of Operation Rescue at the time, opened an office next door to the Dallas abortion clinic where Norma worked or volunteered (the movie is unclear). They began talking, and Benham soon baptized Norma in August of that year. Norma publicly announced that she was now a pro-life born again Christian and a member of Operation Rescue (OR). She began speaking for OR and other pro-life groups and, as she had done as an abortion activist, established her own pro-life organization. In 1998, she converted to Catholicism, a decision prompted by her friendship with Father Frank Pavone of the nonprofit pro-life group Priests for Life. The documentary claims her new pro-life Christian friends forced her to stop homosexual relations with Connie. Sometime after Connie suffered a stroke, Norma stopped seeing Connie altogether. In the movie, Norma seems to regret those incidents, but she and the movie are unclear on the actual details.
The documentary includes interviews with Norma and her lesbian lover, Connie, at various stages of their life. It also includes a final interview with the movie’s crew, where, in what Norma flippantly calls a “deathbed confession,” Norma seems to reject her pro-life beliefs and to claim that her pro-life activities were “an act.” In the movie, Norma says, among other things, “If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my [profanity]. That’s why they call it choice.” She also says she became pro-life for financial gain. “I took their money,” she says, “and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. I did it well too. I am a good actress. Of course, I’m not acting now.”
The movie also contains some interviews with abortion activists and with the Rev. Rob Schenck, a longtime pro-life activist who was friends with Norma, but who became a pro-abortion activist sometime around 2010. In 2019, the New York Times featured a pro-abortion opinion piece by Schenck. In his interview for the movie, Schenck claims Norma was “playing” the pro-life movement, and pro-life activists were “playing her.” He says he’s ashamed of the things he himself did to exploit Norma, but he’s rather vague on the details. Finally, the movie contains some interviews, brief snippets of speeches and brief comments by the pro-life activist, the Rev. Flip Benham, who converted Norma to Christ, including some words he said at her funeral.
As noted above, AKA JANE ROE features highly edited interviews with Norma McCorvey in her last few years and about nine months before she died in 2017. Thus, too many of Norma’s comments lack context, so it’s hard to say what the woman believed when she died about nine months after the movie’s interviews were done. Also, although Norma says in the movie that pro-life leaders told her what to say, the movie actually shows Norma easily speaking and doing interviews by herself against Roe v. Wade and in favor of the pro-life movement. Her statements don’t at all come across as extremely rehearsed or dictated to her. Furthermore, as the 2013 Vanity Fair article notes, pro-abortion activist Gloria Allred and her team coached Norma when Norma was speaking in favor of abortion. The filmmakers conveniently leave that apparent fact out of their movie.
“For this new documentary to quote Norma saying she was not genuinely pro-life is very suspicious,” says Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, who led Norma into the Catholic Church in 1998 and was a longtime friend. “I knew Norma. Her pro-life convictions were not an act.” In a statement from Priests for Life, Father Pavone also notes that at no point in the documentary does Norma say she thinks Roe v. Wade was the right decision. He points out that, in reality, contrary to the documentary, the decision to legalize abortion allows abortion throughout a pregnant woman’s whole nine months of carrying a baby.
“Norma at no time says that her conversion was fake,” Pavone adds. “Norma at no time says that she was paid to convert, or that she received huge sums of money. Norma at no time says that she did not believe the words she spoke in the pro-life movement.”
Of course, Norma McCorvey earned some money from working for both the pro-abortion movement and the pro-life movement. So what?
Not only does AKA JANE ROE contain highly edited interviews with Norma. It also plays fast and loose with some of the facts, as shown above. In addition, it really doesn’t give her longtime pro-life friends like Father Pavone or Flip Benham a chance to refute her alleged “deathbed confession” on camera or in a written statement. That’s why we’ve included Pavone’s comments in this review. Of course, Rob Schenck’s interviews don’t count, because he’s now staunchly in favor of legalized abortion throughout all 50 United States. So, he just echoes the pro-abortion position of the filmmakers.
Although AKA JANE ROE contains some Christian, moral comments by pro-life Christian activists, including from Norma, and Norma’s videotaped Christian baptism by the Rev. Benham, the rest of the movie promotes a negative view of Christian pro-life activists like Benham and Pavone. Apparently, it only approves of Christians who are pro-murdering babies and who don’t make a big deal of salvation by grace through faith/trust in Jesus Christ. Admittedly, some footage of pro-life activists in the movie show some of them shouting hateful or borderline things, but the same is certainly true of pro-abortion activists. Also, both sides have accused the other side of making death threats. There were a few bombings of abortion clinics and a few abortionists were assassinated in the past, but an armed man also tried to kill people at the pro-life group Focus on the Family’s offices. Also, a pro-life minister and talk show host was shot dead in 1993, an abortionist killed a mother of four in 1993 and a pro-abortion activist murdered a pro-life minister in 2009. The mass media seldom covers such incidents in detail or for any length of time, but here’s a story about it from a pro-life magazine: https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/family/item/733-the-myth-of-pro-life-violence. MOVIEGUIDE® condemns all such violence. It’s time for “pro-choice” groups to do the same.
Finally, during the documentary, it’s clear that Norma McCorvey isn’t shy about publicly using foul language in her interviews. In addition, as noted above, it’s also true that Norma has been caught lying publicly on at least two occasions during her pro-abortion phase. Maybe Christian leaders, including pro-life leaders, should be more careful about using a proven liar who can’t publicly control her tongue as a major spokesperson. Everyone sins, because we all have a strong sinful nature, but committing flagrant sins in public or to gain attention are a much bigger problem. Also during the documentary, Norma makes light of allegedly admitting to a police officer when she was 10 that she stuck her hand down her young female friend’s panties. The filmmakers seem to go along with this flippant comment, which means they endorse sexual experimentation among children, not just extramarital sex between teenagers and “consenting” adults.
AKA JANE ROE has a strong, abhorrent humanist, feminist, pro-abortion worldview with strong politically correct, pro-homosexual values and other awful content.
Father Pavone of Priests for Life responded to the AKA documentary on its website at https://www.priestsforlife.org/norma/documentary.aspx. Readers can find a response to the Rev. Schenck’s conversion to pro-abortion at https://www.christianpost.com/voices/an-open-letter-to-rob-schenck-former-anti-abortion-crusader-who-thinks-pro-lifers-are-fools.html.