An Interview with Norma McCorvey, the "Roe" of Roe vs. Wade

 

Fr. Frank Pavone

 
  1/1/1997
   Since her conversion to Christianity and to the pro-life cause, Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in the Roe vs. Wade decision, has been a friend of Priests for Life and of Fr. Frank Pavone. This summer (1997) she will appear on the third edition of Fr. Frank's Defending Life television series on the Eternal Word Television Network. Her new book, Won by Love, telling the marvelous story of her conversion from the abortion industry, will soon be available.

Following is a transcript of an interview held with Norma shortly after her conversion to the Way of Life. An audiotape of this interview is available from Priests for Life.


 

FATHER PAVONE:

This is Father Frank Pavone and I am here with Norma McCorvey. We're going to talk a little bit about her experiences and her convictions. Norma, thank you very much for being with us.

NORMA:

And thank you for having me, Father.

FATHER PAVONE:

Norma, we’ve talked on a good number of occasions, and have shared the joy of what has happened to you, but for the sake of those who are listening to this tape, you are the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade.

NORMA:

Yes, Father, I was the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, but Jane Roe has been laid to rest.

FATHER PAVONE:

Tell us a little bit about how that happened.

NORMA:

Well, for quite some time Jane Roe/Norma McCorvey had been looking for a spiritual path that she could believe in and feel solid in. And, Operation Rescue moved next to the abortion mill that I worked for, on April 1, a year ago, this past April. And Reverend Benham, started sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with me.

FATHER PAVONE:

And, so in other words his office was next to your abortion facility where you were working. And how did that contact begin? Did they approach you, or how did that happen?

NORMA:

You know, I think it was kind of a mutual thing. I had made kind of a deal with them: I asked them if they did not bring out the place card of Malachi, {a poster of an aborted child}, that I would let them have two minutes with each one of my patients.

FATHER PAVONE:

Malachi is one of those..

NORMA:

It’s the 21week old fetus found in Dallas about four years ago, I believe. So, we honored each other's wishes, and they didn’t put out the place cards and I let them have two minutes with each one of my patients.

FATHER PAVONE:

Going back to the early 70’s when the Roe vs. Wade case was going up through the courts, when you initially got involved in that whole process, did you ever think or did it ever occur to you that it would become such a landmark case?

NORMA:

Absolutely not Father. I was very politically naïve at the time. I thought that I wanted to have an abortion with the baby that I was carrying, but I had no idea that it would lead up to such a controversial issue.

FATHER PAVONE:

As I understand from your own autobiography, you did not go looking for these attorneys to try to make abortion legal.

NORMA:

No, sir, quite the contrary. The adoption attorney that was handling the adoption case for my baby told me of these attorneys. They were Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffey. They were trying to overcome the Texas statute on abortion.

FATHER PAVONE:

And, so they approached you.

NORMA:

Yes, sir. Henry McCloskey, Jr. arranged the first initial meeting. And we met and we discussed, for the first time in my life, reproductive rights.

FATHER PAVONE:

For the first time in your life it was a discussion.

NORMA:

Yes, sir.

FATHER PAVONE:

Norma, at that point, and later as your case progressed and after it was decided, what was your image of pro-life people and the pro-life movement?

NORMA:

Well, Father I really didn't know of... I didn't know that there was two sides to the abortion issue. I didn't attend any of the court proceedings. I didn't. In fact that's why I used the name Jane Roe because I didn't want my own personal name to be involved in it, because I had always been involved with stuff and it always turned out pretty bad, and I always felt really bad about that. So I wasn't taking a chance with this.

FATHER PAVONE:

Could you tell us what your position is right now about abortion and the morality of abortion?

NORMA:

Well, the morality of abortion is, it's totally wrong. Since August 8, 1995, I have been pro-life clear across the board.

FATHER PAVONE:

Now, when you say clear across the board, what do you mean?

NORMA:

Well, I mean I have said in an interview with Ted Koppel back in 1995 that I was still pro-choice, I was still not pro-choice but in favor of a woman's abortion in the first trimester. But then I looked at a fetal development chart at the Operation Rescue Office in Dallas. I had a lot of emotions stirring up inside of me and that's when I decided that it was wrong in any stage of pregnancy.

FATHER PAVONE: At any stage of pregnancy and also for any reason?

NORMA:

Absolutely, Father.

FATHER PAVONE:

Okay, so you would not think, for example, that there could be some circumstances in which it would be all right for a woman to have an abortion?

NORMA:

No, sir.

FATHER PAVONE:

How did your position on this change?

NORMA:

Well, I had already been attacking, if you could use that word, in a gentle way, the abortionist that I worked for. He's a very greedy man, a selfish man. And we would have patients that would come in and say, Well, I found out, I had all these tests and I found out that my baby is going to have a cleft palate. I'm going like, that's not a reason. That's just an excuse. And the doctor would do the abortion, he would do and charge women money and not even do an abortion. He would lie to them and tell them that they were pregnant. So, seeing him and watching him every Thursday through Saturday do the abortions, making the appointments, for not good reasons. I mean, of course, I don't think there is a good reason for an abortion, but Dr. Jasper made me really realize that it was just a racket. You know, he was just doing it for the money. He didn't care about the women, he didn't care if they got their two week checkups. You know, he didn't care if they had their medications. You know, I mean he never told them you know, like when you have to get this, and this, and this. And it's essential that you take it. He didn't care.

FATHER PAVONE:

Now that you've become pro-life and you no longer work for him or for the abortion industry, tell us what you do do.

NORMA:

(Laughter) I'm the computer operator for Operation Rescue National. (Laughter)

FATHER PAVONE:

That's quite an irony, isn't it?

NORMA:

Yes, sir, it is.

FATHER PAVONE:

And, how about your relationship with the Lord? Has the Lord forgiven you for the past?

NORMA:

Oh yes, He's been very, He's showed me, He has showed me great mercy, great forgiveness and when Rev. Flip {Benham} baptized me last summer in that pool in North Garland, all my sins, regardless of what they were or when I did them were forgiven, and I was washed by the Blood of the Lamb.

FATHER PAVONE:

Tell us what reaction you've had from the pro-choice community to your conversion.

NORMA:

Oh, they say that I never had any credibility with them. One particular organization, TARAL, said that they used to send me on lecture tours. And I'll go up, I don't even know where your office is. I mean you know that they're based in Austin, TX. So they just made it, they've just done the same thing that they did for me for all the years that I was out. They just tried to discredit me. And it's like I used to tell them often. You know, this is not the right thing to do, you know, there's too many wonderful people out there who can't have children, who would want to have these children. And I gave two of my babies away. There's no excuse for it. But they went to loving parents and that's what counts.

FATHER PAVONE:

Your children?

NORMA:

Yes. My children.

FATHER PAVONE:

Some people say, many people say, in fact, that if this conversion to a pro-life commitment happened to you, it can happen to anybody. Is there hope for those who seem to be so hardened in their pro-choice views?

NORMA:

Absolutely, Father. There's a feminist writer, by the name of Naomi Wolfe who is reconsidering her position on abortion. There's another woman, I can't bring up her name right this minute, who's also reconsidering her position on abortion. So, I mean I think it's just a sign of the times that women are actually seeing for the first time what a depressing and what a holocaust this is to the unborn.

FATHER PAVONE:

How do we approach those who do have a pro-abortion position to try to get them to convert?

NORMA:

I think with love and understanding. And telling them about Jesus and letting them realize for themselves that the holocaust against the unborn is the greatest sin that they could ever do or even ever participate in.

FATHER PAVONE:

I'd like to ask you a couple of final questions about what you think people across America should do to help stop abortion, and I'd like if you could address that in a general way and then say specifically to young people, and then specifically to the clergy, and then to those who consider themselves pro-choice. First, in general, what can we do to stop abortion?

NORMA:

I think that every man, woman, and child who believe in God and believe in Jesus. And it doesn't make any difference what religion you are, or how young you are or how old you are, I think if they get up and go to these abortion mills, and stand there-- and they don't have to do anything, they can just stand there and pray, I think that would make a lot of difference. We have to be seen in numbers.

To young people, I would say, please listen to your parents. Do not have extra-marital relationships, before you're married. It is a wrong thing to do. God does not like it. It's in the Ten Commandments and we do live by His Book. And that's the best way to start out a marriage is to have both of you to be wholesome.

FATHER PAVONE:

Now, you are the woman whose name is used to promote this doctrine of choice. What if young people are told by their friends this is my choice you can't tell me what to do. What do you have to say to that?

NORMA:

What I have to say to those young people is that we live in a society today where these children can be wanted children. And even if you don't want to keep this child, after you've had it, there's plenty of young couples out there, there's plenty of young couples everywhere that want children. And, it's not your body, it's not your choice, because you got that from God. He gave that to you and He gave that to you from you Mama and your Daddy.

FATHER PAVONE:

What would you say to the clergy?

NORMA:

Get out and fight 'em, boys! (Laughter)

FATHER PAVONE:

Praise the Lord! And, finally to those who consider themselves pro-choice, do you have a message to them?

NORMA:

I will pray for each and everyone of them. I hope that they don't have to see the things that I've seen or experience the cries, the tears, the depression that I've had to listen to, and that hurts me very much when I think about it. Reconsider you position on the holocaust, because it could hurt someone in your life.

FATHER PAVONE:

Now, could we say a final prayer together.

NORMA:

Yes, Father.

FATHER PAVONE:

Why don't you say some words to the Lord and then I'll conclude also.

NORMA:

Father God, we just ask You to open Your wide, wide arms and look down upon us Lord and lead us, and let us know what we should do to stop this, this terrible, terrible holocaust.

FATHER PAVONE:

And Lord God, we thank You for the grace You pour out on all people and at this moment we thank You in a special way for what You have done for Norma: rescuing her from all sorts of deception, and from the manipulation of others, and rescuing her from error and falsehood, rescuing her from the lie of abortion and bringing her to You, Oh Lord, into Faith, into Baptism, and into the pro-life movement. And on behalf of each and every person in that movement, on behalf of everyone who hears these words, I now bestow upon you, Norma, the blessing of the Lord Jesus and the prayers and good wishes of all the people who hear you and who know about you. May that blessing come upon you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

NORMA:

Amen

FATHER PAVONE:

Thanks so much for talking with us.

NORMA:

Thank you.