OK, “Jane Doe” Was A Lying, Venal, Fick. It Doesn’t Make Abortion Any More Or Less Ethical

In the final 20 minutes of the documentary “AKA Jane Roe,” “Roe,” whose real name was Norma McCorvey, reveals that when she converted to an anti-abortion, born-again ex-gay Christian with the help of leaders of the evangelical Christian right, she was scamming them, us, everybody. Before that stunning reversal, she had been at the center the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, in which the U.S. Supreme court declared that the right to have an abortion was protected by the U.S. Constitution.

“This is my deathbed confession,” she says in the film, sitting in a chair, on oxygen, in her nursing home room , quite evidently pleased with herself. She is asked , “Did [the evangelicals] use you as a trophy?” “Of course,” she replies. “I was the Big Fish.”

“Do you think you would say that you used them?” “Well,” says McCorvey, “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.” She even gives an example of her scripted anti-abortion lines. “I’m a good actress,” she points out. “Of course, I’m not acting now.”

Of course.

McCorvey isn’t the first litigant in ground-breaking jurisprudence to change her mind. William J. Murray, the atheist son of activist Madeline Murray O’Hair, who used his complaint about being forced to pray in school to launch the litigation that eventually  got all school prayer in public schools banned as unconstitutional, later became an ardent Christian. This always leads opponents of the decision to respond with “See? SEE?”

In this case, the pro-abortion media is calling attention to McCorvey’s admission because they think it somehow weakens the anti-abortion argument. It’s a reverse “See? SEE?”: “They said ‘See? SEE?’ when they thought the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade regretted her abortion, but See? SEE? She didn’t really regret it at all! She was just lying to take their money.”



These are cognitive dissonance scale games, and really stupid ones. See the scale?

It doesn’t matter where “Jane Roe” is placed on the scale. It changes nothing. If the woman was a saint (with a high plus score), it wouldn’t make abortions more ethical, and if she was a fick—which apparently she was—putting her deep in negative territory, it wouldn’t make abortion rights any less valid. Such decisions aren’t about the individuals involved, bu the rights they are asserting.

The people who spark landmark rights decisions are often less than admirable. Ernesto Miranda, whose conviction for rape was reversed in the famous 1963 case of Miranda v. Arizona, leading to the famous “Miranda warning” requirement, was a lifetime criminal who was eventually killed in a knife fight at 35. That’s the whole point of civil rights: everyone has them, and equally, no matter what their beneficiaries may be like personally. It doesn’t make the accused’s right to have an attorney and be informed of his rights any less important because Miranda was a dangerous thug.

The documentary-makers show the video of McCorvey’s confession to her friends and acquaintances on the pro-abortion and anti-abortion sides. Pro-choice activist Charlotte Taft, on the verge of tears, says, “That just really hurts because it’s big stakes. It’s just really big stakes.” Huh? So the woman was a grifter. There are no stakes, unless you count the  $456,911 in “benevolent gifts” McCorvey scammed out of  the anti-abortion movement. Her perfidy has no significance in the abortion debate.

Neither does what Daily Beast writer Cassie da Costa calls McCorvey’s “serious wisdom”:  “If a young woman wants to have an abortion—fine. That’s no skin off my ass. You know, that’s why they call it ‘choice.’ It’s your choice.” Thanks, but I think I’ll take my ethical instruction from someone a bit more credible.

A final note: The Daily Beast, since it cares so deeply about abortion rights, should consider employing writers who understand the law. De Costa writes, “Her willingness to lend her experience to the legal case for abortion led to the passing of Roe v. Wade in 1973, which legalized abortions in all 50 states.” No, you ignoramus, Roe v. Wade wasn’t passed. It’s not a law, its a Supreme Court case.

12 thoughts on “OK, “Jane Doe” Was A Lying, Venal, Fick. It Doesn’t Make Abortion Any More Or Less Ethical

  1. In a conversation about this I told my friend if Lincoln decided to say screw the slaves it wouldn’t change what slavery is at all. Your words are much better.

  2. Wasn’t she a sought-out, staged figurehead during the Roe v Wade trial to begin with? “They were just shamelessly using the woman we shamelessly used to ramrod abortion through the courts” is a great way to make people hate the entire media/political-industrial complex itself. After they’ve finished removing every moral standard from our heads and telling us not to trust the talking heads in the box, they can only end up like Robespierre. I, for one, look forward to the new great terror in which we aggressively hunt down everyone with ever-increasing degrees of separation from people who even once appeared on television! Ah, when de-intellectualized populism grows fangs!

    The stereopticon’s as dangerous as black magic; it takes a piece of you every time and will eventually kill you. There’s a metaphor for selling your soul for temporal power here that I just can’t quite hammer out. If only someone had recently imbedded a handy scene from A Man for all Seasons.

    Alas, Liechtenstein only gives out 80 one-year visas annually, and you have to have lived there five years to qualify for citizenship, not that these ideas are related.

    “Of course, I’m not acting now.”

    Of course.

    This was at the tip of my brainstem from the moment I heard about this! It’s just turtles all the way down, again. The world’s a stage, and farce is the thing.

  3. She lied from the beginning. She said she needed an abortion because she was gang raped by circus folk. In reality the man who got her pregnant lied about leaving his wife for her.

    • “Gang raped by circus freaks” wouldn’t even be a good enough plot point for a 1980s direct-to-video Steven Segal claymation action flick. This is somehow worse than I remember. My opinion of our institutions has taken a heavy blow with this new information. Its skeletal remains already lying deep in Davey Jones’s locker, I expect only the flounder and sea sponges are any the wiser.

      • Not circus freaks! Circus folk like roustabouts! Or maybe they were carnies? Who the hell knows anymore. The important part was she got pregnant carrying on with a married man who didn’t do right by her. But Norma, why would he?

        I’m reminded of Norm Macdonald’s comments on the film Boys Don’t Cry.

  4. From Ernesto MIranda’s wiki page: On January 31, 1976, after his release for violating his parole, a violent fight broke out in a bar in downtown Phoenix named La Amapola. Miranda received a lethal wound from a knife, and he was pronounced dead on arrival at Good Samaritan Hospital. Several Miranda cards were found on his person.

    La Amapola became the location of The Matador, a Mexican restaurant run by, you guessed it, a Greek family, a favorite lunch spot for the lawyers in the big firm (then 50 lawyers, now 450) I worked for in the early ’80s. I think telling new associates about Miranda’s place of death was required at the firm. The Matador then moved into a larger, new space in the mid ’80s and, as far as I know, continues to thrive.

  5. I am willing to bet that the filmmaker paid her to make this “confession” in order to drum up publicity for his film.

    • Where’s Ampersand and his “in a burning building who do you save: a woman or a briefcase of frozen embryos?” false analogy by way of false dichotomy????

      Where’s Chris and his advocacy for imaginary alien “sapient rights” in order to avoid discussing the fact that unborn human babies are human.

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