No One Really Knew Jane Roe Her shocking deathbed confession makes that clear.
By Callie Beusman
May 21, 2020
Norma McCorvey spent most of her life as a symbol. At age 22 — mired in poverty, a survivor of childhood abuse, and pregnant against her will for the third time — she became Jane Roe: the anonymous plaintiff at the center of Roe v. Wade, an emblem of the cruelty of America’s abortion bans, whose case eventually enshrined the right to choose into the constitution. To feminists, her pseudonym became synonymous with the battle for liberation and bodily autonomy. To the Christian right, it made her the new face of evil. But then, two decades after the ruling that made her a national figure, Jane Roe abruptly defected from the pro-choice side. In the welcoming waters of an anti-abortion extremist’s swimming pool, she was baptized and born again as an unlikely spokesperson for the movement, appearing on TV and at protests across the nation to denounce the killing of the unborn, cross necklace glinting at her throat. “The poster child has jumped off the poster,” the head of a local anti-abortion group gleefully proclaimed at the time.