Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life advocate, has debunked claims in a new documentary that Norma McCorvey, ‘Jane Roe’ in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that sanctioned abortion in the U.S., was insincere in her conversion to pro-life. “Don’t trust it. It’s patently false,” she says.
The documentary, “AKA Jane Roe,” which premiered Friday on FX, features an interview of McCorvey that purports to show the anonymous plaintiff in Roe v. Wade as saying before her death in 2017 that she turned pro-life because she was paid to do so.
“I spoke to Norma McCorvey days before her death,” Johnson wrote on Facebook. “It was the only time we had ever spoken. An unexpected call and a number I didn’t recognize, I almost didn’t answer. I am so thankful that I did. There was no long introduction. No formalities. She told me that she called because she needed to talk to someone else who had a ‘big number’ and would understand what she needed to ask me.”
Johnson said the term “big number” referred to the number of babies aborted while she was a director at Planned Parenthood, and for McCorvey, the number of abortions nationwide she felt responsible for.
“Yes, I have a ‘big number’ – 22,000,” Johnson continued. “But it was a drop in the bucket compared to the burden that she felt. My number was just part of ‘her number.’ Because she felt like she owned EVERY number. She owned my 22,000. She felt like she owned them all. Every abortion that had been committed under the law that bore her name... ‘Jane Roe’ ...they were ‘hers.’”
Johnson added, “Now imagine 50 million, 60 million. That’s the burden that Norma carried. A self-imposed burden that she could not shake...that she carried with her until the day of her death. She was a fragile woman. A woman whose life was riddled with heartache. She was shamelessly used by the abortion industry at a young age. She was a vulnerable target for them and that's who they prey on. No one reading this can even understand the mental state of a woman tormented by that burden...especially in the last year of her life,” Johnson wrote.
She added: “Of all of the people who claimed to be friends with Norma McCorvey, the one I saw who loved her completely was Fr. Frank Pavone. Listen to his opinion of this nonsense. Listen to his perspective. … There is a reason that HE was not asked to be in this recent documentary. If he would have been involved, the entire thing would have crumbled. He knew the real Norma. And he knew the sincerity of her conversion.”
Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and who served as McCorvey’s spiritual counselor for over two decades, and Janet Morana, the group’s executive director, also released statements.
“One would think that any normal or honest person who wants to understand the journey of Norma McCorvey would talk with those who journeyed with her,” Pavone said.”
“I knew her and was one of her key spiritual guides for 22 years, starting in 1995 with her baptism, right through the conversation we had on the day she died. I was privileged to lead and preach at her funeral. I knew her struggles and her pain. She didn’t just have positions; she had deep wounds because of her involvement with Roe vs. Wade, and I guided her through the healing of those wounds, in the quiet hours of struggle that nobody saw or heard about. Those are things you don’t fake,” Pavone continued.
“Yes, she not only rejected abortion, but she became a new creation in Christ,” he added. “I received her into the Catholic Church and rejoiced together with her as she discovered day by day the joy of prayer, and in her final years made rosaries by hand to help others experience that same joy. Her desire to protect children in the womb was no act.
“There have always been people who have tried to reshape her story, or get her to reshape it. She resented that and would resent it today. Norma was not somebody you could come to know in a snapshot, in an interview, or even in years of interviews. I’ll have a lot more to say about this once I see the documentary.”
Evangelist Alveda King, a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also responded to the claims in the documentary.
“For me, Norma was never a trophy, she was my friend,” King wrote in an op-ed in TruthPR. “I loved Norma, and told her so. Norma loved me too. She told me so. We laughed together, we cried together, we worked together. I miss her.”
King continued: “The abortion lobby pays billions a year to kill babies, and dehumanize their mothers. The authors of Roe v. Wade used Norma. They lied to her. The Prolife Family loves Norma. We thank GOD for Norma’s love for Life. Her memory lives on in our hearts.”
She added, “In 1995, Norma prayed, and God opened her eyes. Then, Norma blew the whistle. Norma’s heart was won and transformed by love, not money.
“Shameful fake news would have us believe that Norma McCorvey was a mercenary. Nothing could be further from the truth. For those of us who knew and loved Norma, we know that at the end, Norma loved God, and Norma loved life,” she added.
Live Action, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to exposing the truth about abortion and affirming the life of every child, spoke to Norma’s friends, including Karen Garnett, who said: “When she came back to Dallas, she was living in the home of a saintly pro-life woman who took her in and was giving her loving hospitality. And she was not well. She was in and out of the hospital with failing health. She had absolutely no wealth at all. It was the pro-life community who she was with. We loved her. She went to mass with us. We celebrated her birthday. Never was there any indication that she was acting."