- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

A former attorney for the late Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” in the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, denied as “patently false” her bombshell claim in an upcoming FX documentary that she was paid to lie about her pro-life conversion.

Allan Parker, who represented McCorvey from 2000 to 2005 in her efforts to reverse the ruling that made abortion a constitutional right, accused “AKA Jane Roe” producer Nick Sweeney of attempting to “destroy the memory of Norma McCorvey,” who died in 2017.

“In view of my many conversations with Norma and considering the sworn testimony she provided to the Supreme Court, I believe the producers of the newly released FX documentary ‘AKA Jane Roe’ paid Norma, befriended her and then betrayed her,” Mr. Parker said.

“This documentary cannot be trusted and the perception it attempts to create around my friend and former client, Norma, is patently false,” he said.

In the documentary slated to air Friday, McCorvey gives what she calls a “deathbed confession,” saying that her 1995 flip from pro-choice icon to pro-life activist was an act, paid for by abortion foes like Operation Rescue.

Asked whether she was used by evangelicals as a “trophy,” she said in an interview from her nursing home, “Of course.”

“I was the big fish. I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say. That’s what I’d say,” she says in “AKA Jane Roe,” according to The Los Angeles Times. “It was all an act. I did it well, too. I am a good actress.”

The documentary said she received more than $456,000 in “benevolent gifts” from pro-life groups, according to The Daily Beast.

In a statement, Operation Rescue President Troy Newman said the filmmakers “should be ashamed that they took advantage of Norma in the vulnerable last days of her life, then released their spurious movie after she passed away when she could not defend herself.”

He said he knew McCorvey well, calling her a “straightforward, down-to-earth woman who was witty and kind,” adding that she lived for several months with him and his family at their home near Wichita, Kansas.

“The FX movie does not portray the real Norma McCorvey, who I knew well and called my friend,” Mr. Newman said. “I saw her in unguarded moments and can verify she was 100% pro-life. She spent more years trying to overturn Roe v. Wade than she spent as a pro-abortion activist.”

Mr. Newman accused Mr. Sweeney of using McCorvey to “advance his own depraved, leftist, pro-abortion agenda. Because of that, he simply has no credibility.”

Mr. Sweeney’s previous work includes “Born in the Wrong Body,” a 2015 series about transgender children and youth, and the 2016 television documentary “Transgender Kids Camp.”

The New York and London-based filmmaker was also behind the 2014 documentary “Secrets of Living Dolls,” about “the secretive world of female masking where men transform themselves into dolls by squeezing into elaborate rubber second skins,” according to the Internet Movie Database. The Washington Times has reached out to FX Networks for comment. Last month, FX aired “Mrs. America,” a series starring Cate Blanchett about Equal Rights Amendment foe Phyllis Schlafly, who died in 2016, that was decried by conservatives as a feminist hit job

The McCorvey documentary also features evangelical clergyman Rob Schenck, a former pro-life advocate who came out in 2010 against banning abortion. He accused Operation Rescue of taking advantage of McCorvey, which Mr. Newman denied.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Mr. Newman. “Operation Rescue loved, respected, and protected Norma, even taking her in to our own families. Rob has turned on those he once called friends and is now trying to hurt us. It is very sad that his bitterness and confusion were also exploited by the filmmakers.”

Mr. Parker, founder of the Justice Foundation, said that McCorvey “fought to the end of her life with all of the power and effort she could muster to reverse Roe v. Wade, including asking the Supreme Court to hear her case again.”

McCorvey lived by all accounts a violent, hardscrabble life before becoming the lead plaintiff for pro-choice lawyers seeking to overturn the Texas abortion ban. She gave varying accounts over the years about her pregnancy, at one point saying she was raped, then saying she wasn’t.The Jesuit magazine America called her the “classic unreliable narrator, and those who have followed her story are not surprised that this new narrative is emerging three years after her death.”

“Does her history prove that she only pretended to be pro-life because of the money and fame it brought? Or does it prove that she was only pretending to be pro-choice because that, too, brought her attention and cash?” asked America’s Simcha Fisher. “I suspect the answer is: both, or neither.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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