Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade Died a Pro-Life Advocate


What would it take for you to change your stance on an issue? It probably depends on your level of commitment to the position.

What if your stance on an issue started a worldwide movement? You could lose a lot of face changing positions when you’re in that deep. For Norma McCorvey, however, the cost was worth it.

Perhaps you don’t recognize the name? Norma was the plaintiff in the lawsuit that led to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion. Norma McCorvey is “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade.

Norma McCorvey died this week at the age of 69. Those associated with the prolife endeavor may have to resist the urge to begrudge this woman. Those on the pro-abortion side of the debate may want to pay homage to an idol.

Neither side, however, has it right. While her case changed this nation’s policy on abortion, Norma’s real story stands in stark contrast to the rule that promulgated from her original plea.

It might surprise you to learn that Norma McCorvey never aborted her child. She gave her up for adoption.[1] In fact, Norma regretted her part in the abortion movement. Why?

Norma initially became involved in the pro-abortion movement to justify her part as “Jane Roe.” What she encountered, however, changed her mind, her heart, and her eternity.

In the process of advocating for her “right” to abortion, she learned a lot. Norma realized she didn’t have all the information. She did not understand that the process would end a human life.[2]

As Norma relayed, “I had no actual experience with abortion until that point,” becoming “even more emotionally confused and conflicted between what my conscience knew to be evil, and what the judges, my mind and my need for money were telling me was OK.”[3]

Norma wrestled with a guilty conscience, lying to create a more sympathetic picture to the courts. She claimed that her pregnancy was a result of gang rape, which she later admitted was completely false.[4] Sadly, Norma confessed that she found out about the decision from the newspaper “just like the rest of the country.”[5]

But the clincher that changed her mind might surprise you.

Was it money from a book deal? A falling out with her attorneys? No.

What ultimately shifted Norma’s paradigm on abortion was the love, acceptance and grace of the pro-lifers she encountered while working at an abortion clinic. Norma became a Christian and started her own ministry called “Roe No More” in 1997.[6] She could no longer deny her conscience in light of the compassion and truth from those on the “other side.”

As Norma herself wrote,

“Maybe it is you, Sir, who have a wife, sister, mother, or aunt who has had an abortion, or a friend, whom you have helped turn around to the loving mercy one gets from Our Heavenly Father, through repentance, and love for Jesus Christ, His Only Son!

You, young man, whose girlfriend had an abortion that you didn’t know about until after the fact. Or you, whose wife had an abortion and doesn’t speak of it, then or now. Is there anyone out there who needs peace-of-mind through forgiveness?

Look up into the heavens, as one old woman did, one hot Texas afternoon, and say: “God, I was wrong, selfish, bold,” thinking she had done the right thing by getting involved in one of the most controversial issues of the Twentieth Century, ABORTION, in a test case against the State of Texas, called then, and to this day, Roe v. Wade!

. . .

There is hope for us all!”[7]


The hope is that we too will have a change of mind and heart like Norma. No matter how committed, we’re never in too deep to change our stance. And it will be worth it by the grace and forgiveness of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in whom there’s no condemnation (Romans 8:1).



[1] Affidavit of Norma McCorvey (June 11, 2003), in McCorvey v. Hill (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, Civil Action No. 3-3690-B and No. 3-3691-C).

[2] Norma McCorvey’s testimony before Congress in 1998. See “The 25th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade: Has it Stood the Test of Time?” Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism, and Property Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 105th Congress, 2nd Session (January 21, 1998).

[3] Norma McCorvey’s testimony before Congress in 2005.

[4] See Norma McCorvey’s testimony before Congress in 1998 as well as her testimony at the 2005 hearing, “The Consequences of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton:” Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 109 th Congress, 1st Session (June 23, 2005).

[5] Affidavit of Norma McCorvey, in McCorvey v. Hill.

[6], “The Story of Norma McCorvey; The Woman Who Became ‘Jane Roe,’”, accessed February 19, 2017.

[7] Priests for Life, “Roe No More Ministries Newsletter,” February ’99,, accessed February 19, 2017.