Dates: Born 22 September 1947
Occupation: Campaigner for pro-life movements
McCorvey is in the public eye because she was the “Jane Roe” (a legal pseudonym) in the landmark US legal case of Roe v Wade, which effectively removed the legal barriers against abortion. Raised as a Jehovah’s Witness in an abusive family, McCorvey had an unsatisfactory marriage followed by a lesbian relationship. She became pregnant for a third time at the age of 21, falsely claiming she had been raped. She was introduced to the two lawyers who successfully argued her case in the Supreme Court, though the three year proceedings meant that McCorvey had given birth long before the case was concluded.
McCorvey later worked in abortion clinics until she came to understand the reality of what an abortion really involved. She subsequently felt that she had been a pawn in the hands of two ambitious lawyers, acting more in their own interests than in hers. She deeply regretted her involvement with the case, and with the whole abortion industry, and petitioned to have the verdict overturned. Baptised in August 1995, McCorvey was received into the Catholic Church three years later by two priests, including Fr Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life. She is now active in the pro-life movement, seeking to raise awareness of the real issues and to expose the lies perpetrated within the abortion industry.
“I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. 'Norma', I said to myself, 'They're right'. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that's a baby! It's as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that's a baby!”
“I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn't about 'products of conception'. It wasn't about 'missed periods'. It was about children being killed in their mother's wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.”
“I was the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, but Jane Roe has been laid to rest.”
“We live in a society today where these children can be wanted children. And even if you don't want to keep this child, after you've had it, there's plenty of young couples out there, there's plenty of young couples everywhere that want children. And, it's not your body, it's not your choice, because you got that from God. He gave that to you.”
“The difference between an abortion at ten weeks and twelve weeks was a hundred dollars. Abortionists routinely jack up the estimate of a baby’s age because most women simply won't argue about it – and even fewer would dare to solicit a second, more informed opinion.”
“This terrible, terrible holocaust.”
On the Catholic Church
“I saw such unity of purpose and love there.”
“God had more in store for me even after He made me 100% pro-life and washed me in the waters of baptism. He wanted me to ‘come home’.”
“I did not want this day [of reception into the Church] to be a media event. No part of my journey of conversion was for the media; it was for God. I did not want distractions, or a distortion of the day's true meaning.”
“I think I was calmer that day than everyone else. I had peace, because I knew I had made the right decision.”
“Sadly, I was ostracized by many of my evangelical brothers and sisters. Some don't even speak to me anymore. Some cancelled my speaking engagements. Some say I have ‘fallen’; others called it ‘a big mistake’. But I know the big mistakes I have made in my life, and becoming Catholic was not one of them. I have no quarrels with anyone. Their view of me does not upset my peace of mind, although I am sad if they fail to realize that we do not have a ‘Methodist God’ or a ‘Baptist God’ or a ‘Catholic God’. We have one God, who has revealed Himself in Christ and the Church, and who calls us all to the fullness of truth.”
Norma wrote several books, notably Won by Love. See also her website, Roe no More Ministries.
© Ray Chidell 2010