R.T. Neary
Saints, sinners and Norma McCorvey
By R.T. Neary
March 13, 2017

Very few lives have gone in as many directions as did the historical figure who was called from this earthly existence in Katy, Texas, on February 18, 2017

Norma McCorvey's life journey brought her on a first visit to New England and the Boston area in October of 1998. Amid all the twists and turns in her life until then, she showed a child-like appreciation of America's history – and seemed somewhat in awe of where she was geographically. On reflection of all that had preceded this sojourn, her impressions were understandable.

One had to know the history of this woman's life to gain even a brief sense of the implications of those shots fired on the Lexington Green here on April 19, 1775, and how she could connect with them.

As she leaned on the commemorative rock on the Lexington Green inscribed with the words of that era, she visibly seemed to enjoy the similarity they had with the journey she had found herself on over the last 25 years.


Norma Leah Miller McCorvey in her situation had now done precisely that!

Norma's multiple lifetime experiences up to this time seemed to have provoked her childhood schooling in history, and she seemed to have a real sense of it. It was palpable, and her visit here set off a true awakening in her soul.

Just over a quarter century earlier, she became a historical figure around which there also would be the shedding of blood – that of innocent pre-born children. America had since then lost the true Spirit of '76, however, and Norma McCorvey's battle was now to be a standard bearer and help to regain the nation's true meaning.

She was very clear in her train of thought, as she reflected in 1998 on many of the events that had occurred since she entered this earthly existence on September 22, 1947 back in Simmesport Louisiana.

"Miss Norma," as she enjoyed being called, found herself in 1998, having been motivated by her immersion baptism 3 years earlier, now to dedicating herself totally to the Christian faith. She went even further and this year had accepted Roman Catholicism as central to her life. This total change was a large part of her new determination in working to restore the fundamental right to life for each and every human being. She had clearly been used as a pawn, but without any visceral bitterness to those who exploited her, she vowed to right this egregious wrong. Norma's historical connection was that through circumstances she had adopted a pseudonym and become the "Jane Roe" of the Roe v Wade decision announced by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. For all practical purposes, combined with a companion Doe v Bolton decision the same day, the decision nullified all legal restrictions on abortion in these United States.

Poverty-soaked youthful circumstances had seen her subjected to mental and physical abuse in her early childhood. Alcoholism was a part of the home environment, and her father vacated the scene in these early years of her life. Abuse by her mother and others continued after a move to Texas. The lack of any father figure continued to lead her astray, and she had to spend several of her pre-teen years in reform school. A longing for affection mixed with neglect saw her become pregnant and married at age 16 to "Woody: McCorvey, a tradesman who left their home surroundings, as did her father earlier. She herself left the child, daughter Melissa, to be reared by her mother. As fate would have this life with many turns, Melissa was at her mother's side as she took her last breath on February 18th of this year.

This troubled human existence saw drugs, rape, homelessness and every social evil one could imagine in the life of this woman who would predictably become pregnant again. She gave her second child up for adoption. Then at age 21 she became pregnant for the third time, and it was at this juncture that "Jane Roe" ended up being created. American history with Norma McCorvey, a real, living human person as the centerpiece, took a tragic turn. She would share with us many of the real details from the viewpoint of the plaintiff in one of America's landmark Supreme Court decisions.

In retrospect, there was a societal malignancy in this nation, which patently should have been excised. Instead it was allowed to surface and did so in the form of Roe v Wade on January 22, 1973. We must add that which Dr. Joseph Stanton said so often, "cut from whole cloth." A sense of history harkens us back to the inhumane treatment of the dark-skinned African immigrant slaves, that tragic blotch from 1636 onward to the post-Civil War amendments to our Constitution which was obviously in need of an expansive humanitarian change. The ultimate irony is that 7 Supreme Justices allowed the wording of these much-needed Amendments to be accepted as arguments in triggering this American Holocaust.

God's Providence reveals itself to us in some strange ways – maybe more often in this manner than not. There is an old expression that God walks straight by using crooked paths. The fact that Norma McCorvey became the Jane Roe surely is an example of it, as we review the entire turn of events in this country for these last 44 years.

The stage had already been prepared in Texas for a challenge to laws which prohibited the act of aborting the life of a child in utero. Without having found the protagonist, an aspiring lawyer named Sara Weddington and her feminist cohort, Linda Coffee, were finalizing the plan. Norma was referred to them by an attorney whom she had consulted about how she could deal with her third pregnancy. Norma's initial intent really was to arrange for an adoption, but she did not rule out abortion, which was then illegal. "In a pizza place they pulled out briefcases. I was in jeans.." "Don't you want women to have the right to control their own bodies?" Sara asked, adding " the right to control their own reproductive rights." "I said to myself, "What's that?." "They kept hammering away, hammering away." "I was very naïve." Eventually she agreed to be the plaintiff, but sought to avoid publicity and her accommodating sponsors provided her with a new identity as Jane Roe. The lawyers felt they had exactly whom they wanted as the plaintiff in the suit they had prepared: an unmarried rape victim, pregnant and seeking an answer to her unwanted pregnancy. Norma McCorvey had absolutely no idea of what would transpire afterwards, and how it would affect her life. It was many years later that she learned that Sara Weddington had an illegal abortion in Mexico several years prior to their meeting. Norma would share her innermost thoughts openly with us here in this part of our nation "Where it all began."

The major public event for the plaintiff in the landmark Roe v Wade decision here in the Boston area was an address to an overflow crowd of 800 at the Hotel Tara in Framingham. Against the Roe backdrop and the tens of millions of developing humans having been denied the light of day, she made herself available to the mass media afterwards. No questions would be denied. Her life was an open book. Her candor was refreshing.

What was of foremost significance, was the fact that the major media outlet with its vast reach and influence, the Boston Globe, sent not one reporter nor gave any coverage to her visit to this area. The appearance of the plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court decision, which had received a plethora of favorable ink by them, was shunned by their editorial board. It certainly harkened back to those immortal words of William Randolph Hearst as to what characteristics constituted whether a story was news, "News is what I tell you is news," was the media mogul's response. In retrospect, it was obvious that the real life "Jane Roe" simply did not fit the Boston Globe agenda.

Norma's pleasant disposition served to mask the harsh reality of what her life had been like prior to assuming the Jane Roe mantle. The fact that she was open to answer any and all questions was what all the mainstream Boston media feared. What she did reveal was eye-opening. Immediately prior to her meeting with Sara Weddington and becoming Jane Roe, her life was "a complete mess." "In 1967 to 1969 I was a street person before it was fashionable," she said. Married at age 16 to Woody McCorvey , whom she knew only for months, he slapped her on finding out she was pregnant. "Woody," she said, "thought the father of the baby was someone else."

She said she wanted to have the child, Melissa, whom her mother eventually reared. In her personality you sensed a yearning for the most basic need one could have – to be truly loved. When "Miss Norma" was around children, it was easy to see the best of her come out. She obviously was very much aware what she had of lost in her troubled background. In front of you was a woman of simplicity – uncomplicated, yet with native intelligence and a true concern for unprotected children. "God is the Creator of all human beings – and He never created any junk," she said, adding "We are all equal in His eyes."

Beyond the initial filing in Texas in 1969 by Sarah Weddington, it would be Dec. of 1971 before its hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court on final appeal. The majority voted in favor, and they appointed Justice Harry Blackmun to write the decision announced on Jan. 22, 1973.

Essentially Norma McCorvey became no longer of importance to Sara, and further contact was minimal. Norma's third, the Roe child, had been born – not aborted – and given up for adoption. "I found out about the Roe decision by seeing a small story about it in a newspaper. "I got thinkin' and drinkin'," she said. Admitting to being into both marijuana and alcohol use, she said "I got stoned."

Soon the abortion organizations and feminist groups wooed her, even inviting her to address gatherings. Essentially, Norma knew she was not of that ilk. She once tossed away a set of index cards she had been given to read. " The thoughts were boilerplate, far from the thinking of the "street person" she knew herself to be. "They had their hair pulled back, in blue skirts and long white gloves – always prim and proper- and talking a language only Martians would understand." "Sarah went to work in the Jimmy Carter administration- and giving lectures." "I ended up in a same-sex relationship with Connie Gonzolez," she added. This relationship lasted for several years, but ended up platonic when Norma embraced the Christian faith. Although it was at that stage in 1998, they eventually separated completely . Asked about any Sara Weddington response to her plaintiff's religious conversion and subsequent efforts in the fight to restore the pre-Roe v Wade legal right to life, Norma replied, "I believe Sara Weddington said on news of my conversion that Norma McCorvey was never important – but Jane Roe was." "I was only a small blip on a radar screen."

In listening to Norma privately relating the post-1969 years, bitterness was not present, although she had obviously been used and discarded. She admitted to several suicide attempts over the years, but she was very open and expressed enjoyment of her life now. Norma's answers to questions about her work inside the abortion facilities were the most revealing and piercing elements of what led to her eventual metamorphosis and new role as a pro-life activist.

Any questions about Norma's work in "abortion clinics" made you quickly realize they were far from "clinical" settings – in the medical sense. Saving lives was not the goal here – far from. "It was like working in a tomb," was her candid answer. "We would make sure all the body parts were there." "They had to re-construct ... the whole child."

"If there was an arm or a leg missing, the abortionist would say, 'We may have to go back.'" "I would pick up something and say, 'Is this what you were looking for?."

"The aborted baby parts were put into a plastic bag. He would hand the child to me. I would have plastic gloves on, and he would re-construct the whole anatomy of the child." "He'd say, "OK. It's all here" – like he'd just done an appendectomy."

"I think it was one of the awfullest thing I have ever seen." She drifted off somewhat and added, "To imagine it's a human being – and sliding it into a plastic bag."

When Norma was questioned about having any flashbacks, she replied, "It was so incredibly horrible, I went back to drinking again, and had a little bottle of vodka – for sips." "One woman came back after having an abortion to see her 'baby.' When we cleaned up after the weekend, it was difficult to go back on Monday."

As Jane Roe, the "Pro-choice" plaintiff in Roe v Wade, she received "fancy invitations from organizations, including Unitarian churches and colleges." She responded even though it put her in different company from what her life had been like. "I was a street person. she said. I called myself a 'hobo.' All I did – like a hobo – was drink. I worked in a carnival, lived in the back of a flatbed truck. Got drunk ever night." Other jobs she held included work as a paperhanger and a bartender. But now she found herself something of "a celebrity."

"I was speaking at Stanford, and this woman came up to me and said, 'Thank you for allowing me to have my abortions.' I asked "How many?" Answer :"9 or 10." "I went up to my hotel room and started my thinkin' and drinkin' – and CRYING."

Operation Rescue's peaceful protesters outside of a Texas abortion facility was what provided the impetus for Miss Norma's eventual decision to leave the business. She had started to change her thinking about the need now for counselling women to give some thought to what they were deciding – and consider an alternative. One woman had given Norma HER reason. "I just found out I was going to have a little girl." The "clinic" eventually cut back on Norma's" contact with the "clients." She eventually decided to join the Operation Rescue group outside led by the Rev. Phillip "Flip" Benham. It included his young daughter, of whom she had become very fond. On this new pro-life journey, this battered, duped, manipulated and discarded woman was determined to use her experiences to right a tragic wrong.

Norma McCorvey started a ministry to educate, counsel and heal those who found themselves in the situation she had been in in 1969. She founded Roe No More with the promise that "she was dedicated to spending the rest of her life undoing the law that bears her name."

Norma did show her new religious commitment and a sense of God's Providence "When God created me, as with every other person, He had an initial plan for me and everyone else." "I believe the message." "When I started reading the gospels, I changed into a brand new creation." She was very refreshing to hear, even with all the gruesome tragedy involved, because you sensed the woman talking was clearly seeking light and truth.

She expressed no surprise at the absence of the major press outlets. "Reporters don't like to hear that the Roe child was not the result of rape," and openly admitted of her being responsible for the lie. She also added proudly, "I gave birth to my 3 children.."

The announcement of the death of the Jane Roe of Roe v Wade came in the midst of new efforts by the pro-life movement through Congress to end the disgraceful $500 million public taxpayer funding of the major organization in the abortion industry, Planned Parenthood. Around 60 million pre-born human beings have been legally denied the light of day since the decision in Roe v Wade. The Right To Life effort continues strong, and Norma McCorvey's Providential efforts have been enormous. Christians believe that this true saint will still be at the phalanx, only now on the other side of the veil.

Although Planned Parenthood strains credulity by telling the public that abortion constitutes only 3 per cent of their activity, the Herodian brutality of the undercover revelations in 2015 of their baby parts harvesting again becomes highlighted. They have worked overtime and spent millions to cover up -with media assistance – this sickening activity under the label of "women's health care." Norma had told us of her revulsion as to where America had journeyed and what the "clinical" activities of an abortionist really are. The abortionists euphemistic language is destroyed by Norma McCorvey's truthful depiction of her own life history.

While never using Justice Harry A. Blackmun's carefully-honed language about "penumbras" and "emanations," or about the word "person" under the 14th Amendment not being applicable to the "unborn," Norma showed us the raw reality of what Roe v Wade actually was. The late Justice Blackmun notwithstanding, improved intrauterine photography almost daily reveals more about the humanity of the "unborn." The plaintiff, Jane Roe, herself rightfully called the results "a holocaust," and we are eternally grateful for her willingness to share her life and thoughts with us. Later in 2005 the Supreme Court refused to hear anther case filed by her as the original Roe plaintiff to have the 1973 Roe v Wade decision overturned.

In 2009 Norma McCorvey was arrested with over 300 others at the Catholic Notre Dame University graduation in protest of its honoring pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Her convictions also had her arrested in protest of the nomination of current Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She never wavered in her promise to live out her commitment to challenge those who would continue the status quo.

Rest In Peace, Miss Norma. We love you! Obviously, the prissy lawyers did not get the poster child they thought they had in order to cover their own guilt. Thank you for rising above the Cajun swamp as well as all this self-righteous Massachusetts hypocrisy. You blessed this area with your visit here, a historic land where the current powers-to-be now just don't want to be confused with the truth.

But we know better – and the battle goes on!

Yes – THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN, and a tattered bunch will not surrender.

© R.T. Neary


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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