The complainant Roe v. Wade was paid to switch sides, documentary says

Norma McCorvey, the anonymous complainant in Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 United States Supreme Court decision that legalized Abortion across the United States, said she then spoke on behalf of the anti-abortion movement only because she was paid to do so, according to a new documentary.

Ms McCorvey made the revelation a few months before his death in 2017, according to the 80-minute documentary, “AKA Jane Roe,” which was made available to reporters ahead of its premiere Friday on FX. She said her support for the anti-abortion movement in the last years of her life was an act.

“I was the big fish,” Ms. McCorvey says in the documentary, which was filmed in the last few months of her life and was directed by Nick Sweeney. “I think it was a mutual thing,” she says. “I took their money, and they put me in front of the cameras and told me what to say.”

She adds: “I am a good actress.”

Ms McCorvey was a polarizing and inconsistent figure in the Abortion debate, and her latest revelation in the documentary is unlikely to stem a dispute over which side she has favored. Each claims that the other used it.

The truth is, she was exploited by both, said Joshua Prager, a New York journalist who interviewed her at length and wrote a biography of Ms. McCorvey.

“To say it happened on one side of the aisle but not the other is unfair,” said Mr. Prager, who has spent hundreds of hours with Ms. McCorvey over the past four years. his life. “She was trained on both sides and she was paid on both sides. “

Mr Prager said she believes women should have the right to choose to have an abortion during the first trimester. “She feared she was responsible for the deaths of millions of babies, but she also feared that a woman could find herself in dire straits and want an abortion and need an abortion – up to a point,” did he declare.

In 1970, when Ms McCorvey was five months pregnant with her third child and wanted an abortion, two Dallas attorneys, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, represented her in a case challenging Texas laws that prohibited abortions except for save a mother’s life. She had no idea at the time that the case would become a famous cause.

When the proceedings reached the Supreme Court three years later, the court ruled 7 to 2 in Roe vs. Wade that 14th Amendment privacy rights extend to a woman’s decision to have an abortion in the first trimester of a pregnancy.

In the aftermath of the case, Ms McCorvey remained anonymous. But in the 1980s, she stepped out of the shadows, participating in rallies and marches for abortion rights, working in women’s clinics and giving speeches.

In 1995, however, Ms. McCorvey switched sides and became a staunch anti-abortion activist. She left her position as marketing manager at a Dallas abortion clinic, A Choice for Women, and joined the Operation Rescue team, the anti-abortion group that had moved its headquarters next to the clinic where she had worked.

In the documentary, Reverend Rob Schenck, an evangelical minister, says anti-abortion groups paid Ms. McCorvey to speak out against abortion because they feared she would come back to the side of abortion rights.

“What we did with Norma was highly unethical,” Mr. Schenck said.

Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said the group paid Ms McCorvey a fee to speak, but did not receive payment for lying about her opinions.

“You couldn’t tell Norma to say something she didn’t mean,” said Mr. Newman, who befriended Ms. McCorvey in 1995.

He said Ms McCorvey had hesitated over the abortion. “It was one of those things she’s always struggled with,” he said, adding that in the end she would side with the anti-abortion camp.

Ilyse Hogue, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights group, said Ms McCorvey’s revelation that she was paid to campaign on behalf of anti-abortion groups showed that she , like others, had fallen prey to “the cynical effort to concentrate power in the hands of a small group of white men, fundamentalists and Christians at the expense of everyone else.

Mr Prager, Ms McCorvey’s biographer, said Ms McCorvey’s reasons for switching to the anti-abortion side were more complicated than the money or the conviction.

“It was a desire to be wanted and listened to,” Mr. Prager said. “Through reinvention and lies, she was able to make the news and take over the country. Now she has started over from the grave.

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