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Deathbed Confession of 'Jane Roe': Was Norma McCorvey Paid Off?

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Reportedly, a new documentary features McCorvey’s “deathbed confession”—she wasn’t really a pro-life activist. It’s claimed she was paid to play the part.

A Supreme Court decision in 1973 changed American history forever when the justices decided that abortion is a constitutional right. Over 60 million children in the USA have been murdered in their mother’s wombs as a result since then. The woman at the center of that court case was known simply as “Jane Roe.” She later became known by her real name, Norma McCorvey, and worked to get Roe v. Wade overturned as a pro-life activist. Well, Norma McCorvey is back in the news once again, three years after her death.

It’s claimed she was paid to play the part by pro-life groups.

A new documentary titled AKA Jane Roe is set to air on FX and it’s already stirring up controversy. Reportedly, the documentary features McCorvey’s “deathbed confession”—supposedly she wasn’t really a pro-life activist. It’s claimed she was paid to play the part by pro-life groups. Headlines in newspapers throughout the US and around the world are running with the story, publishing headlines such as “Anti-abortion rights movement paid 'Jane Roe' thousands to switch sides, documentary reveals” and “Jane Roe’s deathbed confession exposes the immorality of the Christian right.” Other articles are claiming the “bombshell” revelation is nothing more than a “smear campaign” and McCorvey truly was pro-life. However, I’m sure we’ve all learned not to trust the media these days! We know how they distort, lie about, and misrepresent AiG over and over again.

Missing the Point

Who is right? Well, there are different interpretations of what supposedly happened with the situation. No one has all the information (few people have even seen the documentary yet) and the debate will likely continue. But when it comes to the question of the morality of abortion, does it really matter what Norma McCorvey believed or did?

Now, don’t get us wrong. We are not saying that it is irrelevant whether or not McCorvey was, as is claimed, “paid off” to plead for a cause she didn’t believe in. However, others claim this is a total distortion of the facts and have a very different interpretation. Now as Christians we know that being “paid off” to say something would be dishonest, and the Bible is very clear that we’re to speak the truth—“bearing false witness” is one of the “thou shalt nots” in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:16), and lying lips are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 12:22). And we may never have all the facts about whether she truly changed her mind or the true interpretation of the story of any money she received. When you look into it all, it seems confusing with contradictory information. But what we are saying is that, ultimately, her personal views on the subject are irrelevant—just as anyone’s are—to the actual question of the morality of abortion.

Morality isn’t determined by what anyone believes for themselves.

Morality isn’t determined by what anyone believes for themselves. Norma McCorvey doesn’t determine the morality of abortion and neither does the Supreme Court of the United States. God defines morality. He determines what is right or wrong, independent of courts or human decrees.

A True, Unbiased Source

That’s why our arguments should always be grounded ultimately in Scripture. Abortion is wrong because Scripture upholds the value and sanctity of human life from the womb to the tomb and says “do not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Each human being is fearfully and wonderfully knit together by God (Psalm 139:14), made in his image (Genesis 1:27), and known by him even before conception (Jeremiah 1:5). Abortion destroys human life. It’s murder and it’s wrong in the sight of God and according to his Word.

That doesn’t mean we don’t supplement our biblical arguments with other arguments. We can and often do. Pointing to the horror of the procedure of abortion, the fetal heartbeat, the uniqueness of each unborn baby, or other arguments can be supplements to help provoke people to reject abortion and chose life—but those are supplementary to the ultimate argument, God’s Word.

Through all of this God’s Word remains unchanged and continues to be the infallible starting point for our thinking.

We’ve always pointed to God’s Word as the only basis for our thinking and morality. People will come and go and say this thing or that thing. Morality and public opinion will swing with each generation. Scientific discoveries will overturn what was “settled science” yesterday. But through all of this God’s Word remains unchanged and continues to be the infallible starting point for our thinking.

Don’t reject the ultimate argument (what people sometimes think is their silver bullet) in favor of subjective arguments. Our reasons for standing against abortion (or any other moral or social issue we take a stand on) will only stand when they are based on Scripture. Was Roe v. Wade a tragically wrong decision? Absolutely—not because we say so, but because God’s Word says so.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
(Psalm 139:13–16)


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