Prolife Community Loses an Icon

America’s prolife community is mourning the death of Norma McCorvey, the Roe v. Wade plaintiff who later turned the tables to become staunchly prolife. The about-face came in 1995 with her dramatic conversion to Christianity, and later Catholicism. She died Feb. 18 after a long illness. She was 69. Her family said in a statement that she was dedicated to undoing the abortion ruling. “Though she was the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade, she worked hard for the day when that decision would be reversed … Mom suffered much during her life, but we are grateful to God that she took His hand, found His peace, and now has that peace in its fullness.”

Norma was just 22 and vulnerable when her quest to abort her child led to the landmark Roe v. Wade case. Throughout the case she 

remained an anonymous figure as her attorneys manipulated McCorvey’s plight in their determined push for abortion. In fact, she learned about the historic decision not through her attorneys, but by reading it in the newspaper. One national magazine labeled McCorvey a “mascot” for the abortion movement. A decade after the ruling, she went public with her identity and often shared the stage with some of the nation’s most famous abortion proponents.

While working at a Dallas clinic, she befriended one of the prolife protesters, an evangelical pastor, and converted to Christianity. In 2005 she unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and later that same year testified before Congress, saying that she had been used and abused by the court system.

“She was victimized and exploited by abortion ideologues when she was a young woman but she came to be genuinely sorry that a decision named for her has led to the deaths of more than 58 million children,” Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said in a statement after McCorvey’s passing.

Norma’s conversion, and its subsequent fruit, symbolizes the enormous impact a single life—one dedicated to and redeemed by Christ—can bring.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)