Before you say that the news cannot get any wilder nowadays, think again. The truth is bound to come out and, as always, some conservative seems to be behind the lie. When it comes to women’s rights and abortion access, Roe v. Wade was a landmark 1973 decision spurred by a woman going by the name of Jane Roe, who fought for her right to an abortion in Texas. In 1995, the no-longer-anonymous plaintiff came forward, and Norma McCorvey stunned the public by becoming an icon for anti-abortion advocacy. A new documentary titled AKA Jane Roe takes viewers behind the scenes into the months before McCorvey’s death, during which she admitted she was paid by anti-abortion groups to protest abortion rights.
Set to premiere on Friday, May 22, the FX documentary depicts McCorvey affirming her support for abortion rights in a deathbed interview. “If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my ass. That’s why they call it choice,” McCorvey said in the documentary, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While McCorvey never had an abortion herself, she challenged abortion laws that banned abortions outside of life-threatening cases, which led to the historical Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case. “I know how I felt when I found out that I was pregnant and I wasn’t going to let another woman feel that way — cheap, dirty and no good,” McCorvey says in the film. “Women make mistakes, and they make mistakes with men, and things happen. It’s just Mother Nature at work. You can’t stop it. You can’t explain it. It’s just something that happens.” The video of McCorvey’s confession was also shown to her friends and acquaintances on both sides of the political spectrum and came as an emotional shock to pro-choice activists including Charlotte Taft. Holding back tears, Taft said: “That just really hurts because it’s big stakes. It’s just really big stakes,” The Daily Beast reported.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the film confirms that McCorvey was not forced to lie about or advocate against her views. “I was the big fish. I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say. That’s what I’d say,” McCorvey said in what she calls her "deathbed confession." “It was all an act. I did it well, too. I am a good actress.”
In 1995 McCorvey was working at an abortion clinic in Dallas when she befriended Flip Benham, an evangelical minister. This friendship led her to spend the rest of her life advocating to end the same law that she enabled. But despite being billed as an anti-abortion convert, McCorvey admitted she was a messenger, not a believer, paid by organizations like Operation Rescue, an antiabortion group that even protested at the very clinic she worked at. According to The Daily Beast, the film finds documents disclosing at least $456,911 in “benevolent gifts” from the anti-abortion movements to McCorvey.
Filmed in 2016 and 2017, the documentary also features scenes of McCorvey expressing her support for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump during the 2016 election night. “I wish I knew how many abortions Donald Trump was responsible for,” McCorvey said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I’m sure he’s lost count, if he can count that high.”
Director Nick Sweeney told the newspaper that his goal was not to cause controversy but to highlight McCorvey and her persona. “The focus of the film is Norma. That’s what I really want people to take away from the film — who is this enigmatic person at the center of this very divisive issue,” he said. “With an issue like this there can be a temptation for different players to reduce ‘Jane Roe’ to an emblem or a trophy, and behind that is a real person with a real story. Norma was incredibly complex.”
But while Sweeney’s intention may not be to cause controversy, such a confession comes as shocking news to the entire nation. The documentary gives a behind-the-scenes look at how conservative organizations are willing to do anything to advance their agenda, including falsifying a woman’s story and bribing her to denounce a cause.