By Maaike Rosendal
Every once in awhile my own emotions surprise me. I’ve been doing pro-life work for over eight years, and the emotional response I felt when first faced with abortion victims is one I don’t feel each time I show audiences that same video. That is not for lack of caring. During my social work training, we were taught skills to deal with our emotions so that we could help others. Imagine a counselor breaking down in tears each time a client shares a heart-wrenching story? Similarly, pro-life speakers and activists cannot continually be caught up in their own feelings if this hinders the efforts to save lives. I’ve had to learn to keep it together during presentations and street outreach so that we can help others. But that doesn’t mean we are unaffected.
Sometimes, the image of an aborted baby being wrapped up to be tossed out like garbage burns in my mind. Other times, the brokenness of our culture so evident during “Choice” Chain is overwhelming. And yesterday, the utter disrespect from the pro-choice movement for a broken woman caught me completely off-guard.
Those of you who follow pro-life news may have seen editorials about the newly released documentary entitled AKA Jane Roe. Several of my friends asked if it was true that Norma McCorvey, the woman behind the Roe decision which legalized abortion in America, was paid to become pro-life. Without having watched it, I didn’t believe it for a second. With some notable exceptions, we’ve witnessed mainstream media misrepresent pro-lifers for years now. Why would we think they are suddenly telling the truth now?
As it turns out, they didn’t. Christianity Today, The American Conservative, and The Bridgehead have published three different responses from my colleague Jonathon Van Maren. In short, the documentary provides no evidence and the headlines are unsubstantiated. Close friends and pro-life warriors such as Troy Newman, Father Frank Pavone, and Patrick Mahoney confirm that that’s not the Norma they knew.
I had been mulling this all over in my mind when the tears suddenly came, and I couldn’t stop them. It was agonizing to read about Norma’s early years, from abandonment to abuse to alcoholism to abject poverty. I was angry about the way she was used by abortion activists to further their cause, only to be dismissed afterward. But it punched me in the gut to realize she had been used as a pawn, just one more time, in the final weeks and months of her life.
Like a tidal wave, it suddenly hit me: a worldview that justifies the killing of defenseless children in the womb thinks nothing of exploiting a dying woman.
Diagnosed with COPD (a chronic inflammatory lung disease), Norma had been told by her doctor that it would kill her if she continued to smoke. Yet, producer Nick Sweeney took her out of the hospital and gave her cigarettes while he interviewed Norma for his documentary. But if nothing is wrong with burning healthy babies to death, what’s burning the lungs of a very sick woman?
AKA Jane Roe makes the accusations that Norma was paid to say exactly what pro-life leaders instructed her to. I will not pretend no mistakes are made within our movement, and we must be willing to be critical towards ourselves. However, such a claim is ludicrous in the eyes of those of us who know Norma’s friends to be people who sacrifice day-in, day-out for children they don’t know, simply because they believe in truth, beauty, and goodness. But to those who are fine with paying medical professionals to kill their tiny patients, why would it matter if others pay a woman to deliver their message?
Formerly pro-life, now pro-choice Rev. Rob Schenk makes an appearance in the documentary, admitting “we were playing her.” The truth is that, perhaps with the exception of Schenk, pro-lifers took Norma in, supported, guided, and most of all loved her. But considering the lies pregnant women are constantly told by the abortion industry to convince them their little one isn’t a child yet, why would pro-choicers object to playing someone?
It’s a farce, that’s what this documentary is, with the media faking shock about alleged scandalous behaviour which the pro-choice movement actually practices themselves.
It’s an awful realization, but it’s an extension of a pro-abortion worldview. If you can objectify pre-born human beings, you can objectify born human beings. If you can lie about who the pre-born are, you can lie about who pro-lifers are. If you can use tiny people however you see fit, you can use bigger people however you see fit.
Tragically, this is what was done to Norma McCorvey. Instead of seeing a woman so broken by the Roe decision that every January was difficult, they saw an opportunity to further a pro-abortion agenda. Is it any wonder that this documentary came out after Norma’s death? The goal has been accomplished, and she is not around to contradict the claims.
It was suddenly crystal clear to me that when we fight for the lives of pre-born children, we fight for an entirely different worldview than the one that allows for their deaths. Yes, they pay the biggest price for a worldview that makes humans disposable, yet in a way, everyone is affected. If you can look at a human in the womb and see “just a fetus,” “only a clump of tissue,” or worse, “a parasite,” how can you look at a human outside the womb and truly understand his or her infinite worth? Moreover, if you’ve never been truly valued yourself, simply for who you are, how can you truly value the life of someone far younger, smaller, and less visible than you?
The implications of a pro-choice worldview are far greater than we often realize, and this is terrifying. Thankfully, the reverse is also true. The implications of the pro-life worldview reach much farther than the lives of pre-born children. And each time our images or conversations win someone over, the gain is even greater than one changed person.