The Truth Behind the Woman of Roe v. Wade


In 1969, 21 year old Norma McCorvey, “Jane Roe”, realized she was pregnant with her third child. She had wanted to raise her first child, who came from a brief and allegedly abusive marriage, but her mother, upon Norma’s confession of a preference for homosexuality, tricked her into signing away custody to herself.


Norma had given her 2nd child up for adoption, but this time she wanted an abortion.


Even an illegal one.


Unable to find an abortionist, McCorvey sought a lawyer to put her child up for adoption.

The lawyer saw in McCorvey the political pawn the abortion movement was looking for. He connected McCorvey with feminist and post-abortive lawyer, Sarah Weddington. McCorvey thought Weddington would help her obtain an illegal abortion, but instead the lawyer encouraged McCorvey to file a lawsuit against the state of Texas’s abortion laws.

McCorvey filed the lawsuit under the false pretense that she was pregnant through rape. Her lawyers capitalized on this narrative to gain public sympathy. McCorvey gave birth during the legal procedures, and placed her baby for adoption.

On the night the court decision was announced, while the abortion advocates celebrated, McCorvey, tormented by guilt, unsuccessfully attempted suicide by medication overdose.


She tried to assuage her guilt by working in the abortion industry through the early 90s. She worked for four different clinics, but  was unable to fully embrace the pro-abortion mindset. She recounts refusing to resemble the corpse of an aborted fetus, saying:


“I don’t do that. I’ll scrub the floors. I’ll make appointments. But don’t ask me to handle the tissue”.


While she sometimes clashed with pro-lifers who protested outside the clinic, she eventually befriended by Pastor Flip Benham.  Her friendship with Benham and other pro-lifers from Operation Rescue eventually led McCorvey to attend a church service which led to her conversion to Christianity and a commitment to pro-life worldview.

 She stated in 1998, “I am 100 percent pro-life…I don’t believe in abortion even in an extreme situation. If the woman is impregnated by a rapist, it’s still a child. You’re not to act as your own God”.


After years of service to the pro-life movement working with Operation Rescue and speaking 3 times at the March for Life, McCorvey passed away on February 18, 2017.

In 2020, the documentary AKA Jane Roe was released featuring a "deathbed confession" from Jane Roe in which she said her pro-life activism was "all an act." 

Pro-life activists who were close with Jane have questioned the legitimacy of this statement, but it's a important lesson that the pro-life movement should treat people who have experienced great trauma with sensitivity and respect.  We at Right to Life Michiana ensure post-abortive men and women who share their stories or sidewalk counsel with us have gone through healing. 

You can read McCorvey’s full testimony in her book, Won by Love.