Norma McCorvey, the woman whose fight for abortion rights manifested in Roe v. Wade, made a shocking admission in an upcoming documentary about her late-in-life conversion into an anti-abortion crusader, The Daily Beast reported Tuesday.
In the “deathbed confession,” McCorvey, who died in 2017, revealed to the makers of the FX documentary “AKA Jane Roe” that leaders of the evangelical religious movement paid her to switch sides on the issue. The moment reportedly occurs in the final minutes of the film, which airs Friday.
“I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say,” McCorvey said, referring to herself as “a good actress,” according to The Daily Beast.
The late McCorvey is well known by the legal pseudonym Jane Roe, the name she used in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that established abortion as a constitutional right. In the mid-1990s, McCorvey underwent a religious conversion and became an outspoken opponent of abortion, even going so far as to petition the court to overturn the ruling in her favor.
The forthcoming documentary examines her sudden change of course after befriending two evangelical leaders, the Rev. Flip Benham and the Rev. Rob Schenck.
“I was the Big Fish,” McCorvey reportedly says in the film, referencing how valuable the anti-abortion movement viewed her conversion.
Schenck reportedly corroborated McCorvey’s account.
“I had never heard her say anything like this. … But I knew what we were doing. And there were times when I was sure she knew. And I wondered, ‘Is she playing us?’ What I didn’t have the guts to say was, ‘because I know damn well we’re playing her,’” he says upon hearing her confession, according to The Daily Beast.
While Benham denied paying McCorvey, the filmmakers behind “AKA Jane Roe” uncovered documents revealing she received more than $450,000 in gifts from his movement.
The revelation of McCorvey’s admission comes as abortion rights in the U.S. face an onslaught of state-level efforts to dismantle them. One of those, a Louisiana law that drastically limits who can provide abortions, is the subject of a case the Supreme Court heard in March. It’s the first major abortion case to come before the court under President Donald Trump, whose nominations have made the court more conservative. A decision is expected next month.