(BBC) – The woman behind the 1973 ruling legalising abortion in the US is seen admitting in a new documentary that her stunning change of heart on the issue in later life was “all an act”.
Norma McCorvey, known as Jane Roe in the US Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v Wade, shocked the country in 1995 when she came out against abortion.
But in the new footage, McCorvey alleges she was paid to switch sides. The documentary, AKA Jane Roe, airs this Friday on the US channel FX.
The programme was filmed in the last months of McCorvey’s life before her death at age 69 in 2017 in Texas.
The Supreme Court ruling came after McCorvey, then a 25-year-old single woman under the pseudonym “Jane Roe”, challenged the criminal abortion laws in Texas that forbade abortion as unconstitutional except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.
Henry Wade was the Texas attorney general who defended the anti-abortion law. McCorvey first filed the case in 1969, when she was pregnant with her third child and claimed that she had been raped. But the case was rejected and she was forced to give birth.
In her “deathbed confession”, as she calls it, a visibly ailing McCorvey says she only became an anti-abortion activist because she was paid by evangelical groups.
“I was the big fish,” she said. “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. It was all an act. I did it well too. I am a good actress. Of course, I’m not acting now.”
She added: “If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my ass. That’s why they call it choice.”