Woman in landmark US abortion case was paid for later activism: documentary

Washington (AFP) –


The woman at the center of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States, Roe v Wade, says she was later paid by anti-abortion groups to denounce the landmark ruling, according to a documentary set for release on Friday.

Norma McCorvey was the anonymous "Jane Roe" who went to court in 1969 to challenge laws against abortion after she was barred in the state of Texas from obtaining one.

Her case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which on January 22, 1973 ruled that a woman could legally terminate a pregnancy.

In the 1990s, however, McCorvey became a fervent opponent of abortion, converting to evangelical Protestantism and later Catholicism.

In the documentary "AKA Jane Roe," which airs Friday on the FX network, McCorvey asserts she was paid to be the face of the anti-abortion movement.

"I think it was a mutual thing," she said in a clip from the documentary published in US media. "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."

"I was a big fish," she told director Nick Sweeny, who met her several months before her death in 2017, at the age of 69.

"It was all an act?" Sweeny asked.

"Yeah, I did it well too. I am a good actress -- of course I'm not acting now," McCorvey replied.

In what she described as a "deathbed confession," McCorvey said, "If a young woman wants to have an abortion, fine. You know, that's no skin off my ass. You know that's why they call it choice, it's your choice."

Since the Supreme Court decision, the right to abortion continues to deeply divide Americans, with many opposing it for religious reasons.

In recent years, some states have passed laws severely restricting access to the procedure, igniting legal battles that seem likely to end up once again before the Supreme Court.