“The pro-choice movement will have a field-day with this and exploit it for all it’s worth.” I am referring to fall-out of the movie AKA Jane Roe, which premiered on the FX network May 22. The movie, produced and directed by Australian film-maker Nick Sweeny—whose credits include The Sex Robots are Coming and Transgender Kids Camp—dropped like a bomb in the abortion wars. Despite disavowing her role in legalized abortion, and despite her attempts to actually reverse Roe v. Wade, the McCorvey of AKA Jane Roe is depicted as having faked her pro-life position. With help from ex-pro-lifer Robert Schenck, McCorvey accuses the pro-life movement of shamefully using and exploiting her as their “trophy.” McCorvey says she only mouthed the pro-life line because she was paid by pro-lifers to do so.
In the last 20 minutes of the film, Norma takes several deep breaths as if getting ready for the big moment and announces: “This is my death-bed confession.”
Sweeny initiates the dialogue by asking: “Did they use you as a trophy?”
“Of course, I was the big fish,” Norma replies.
Sweeny asks: “Would you say that you used them?” to which Norma responds: “Well, I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money, they put me in front of the cameras and tell me what to say and that’s what I’d say.”
Sweeny asks for an example, at which point Norma launches into a short, canned, pro-life speech lamenting her part in Roe v. Wade.
Again, Sweeny prompts Norma with a statement: “It was all an act.” Norma does not make this statement—it is from the mouth of the film’s director.
Norma responds: “Yeah. I did it well too. I’m a good actress. Course, I’m not acting now.”
At first hearing, it seems Norma is affirming that her pro-life commitment was nothing more than an act. However, the context of this dialogue is not about her pro-life commitment, but about how she was prepped for speeches at pro-life events at which she appeared. The uneducated, unpredictable Norma was primed for her appearances; Schenck states that Norma was coached for fear that, at the time of her conversion, she was not 100 percent pro-life. Indeed, in the Nightline interview following her baptism, Norma expressed support for abortion in the first trimester. But this was very early in her spiritual and pro-life journey. In 1997 she appeared on Father Frank Pavone’s EWTN Defending Life program. Pavone brings up her early support for abortion in the first three months and asks if she now believes that some abortions are OK. To this Norma responds, “Absolutely not,” and explains how she came to support the right-to-life of every unborn child, declaring: “Abortion is not right at any time.”
Sweeny then tries to support the contention that Norma was paid for her anti-abortion advocacy by panning over a series of 990 documents for Roe No More—a group with which Norma was associated—to give the impression that indeed she was paid a whopping sum of $456,911.00. But when one looks carefully at the shot, the sum on the form is seen to be income to the group over a period of years, and it is by no means clear that the money was paid to Norma herself. Indeed, she is only one of three directors indicated on the documents. The attempt to prove pro-lifers paid Norma exorbitantly comes off as contrived.
Indeed, if pro-lifers may be accused of paying Norma to “act,” the AKA Jane Roe filmmaker may be accused of doing the same thing. In May 2016 Norma sent a text message referencing the interviews she’d been doing with the Australian Sweeny to Father Pavone—a text that he saved. In the text, a screenshot of which I have seen, Norma tells him that a film crew is coming to make a movie: “I’m interviewing with a company out of New York via Australia. I’m very happy doing it. I charged of course so I’ll have some bucks at the end, so happy bout that.” Apparently, when the filmmaker pays Norma, she tells the truth, but when pro-lifers supposedly pay Norma, she’s just faking it.
On the very day Norma died, Father Pavone, together with Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life, called her. In the last moments of her life, her pillow draped with a rosary, Pavone and Morana say that Norma told them in a feeble voice, gasping for breath: “I want you guys to promise me to never back away from undoing the decision I was a part of.”
Those are the real last words of Norma.
Full story at Catholic World Report.