A group of pro-lifers who knew Norma McCorvey intimately have expressed doubts about a new documentary claiming the woman known as “Jane Roe” gave a stunning deathbed confession about her views on abortion.
The pro-lifers in the letter include Steven Ertelt, David Daleiden, Kristi Hamrick and more. The letter (which you can read HERE) is addressed to Director Nick Sweeney and FX Chairman John Landgraf and says while Norma was a woman who lived a “complicated life” and experienced many heartaches, she “regretted the way she was used in the case that ultimately carried her name.”
The letter adds that they know this information because “she said so, directly, to many of us. And as we personally know, she carried her pro-life convictions with pride and passion.”
The documentary (which debuts tonight) paints pro-life organizations as the villain, alleging they coerced McCorvey into lying about her views by offering her lots of money.
In an interview with the Daily Beast, AKA Jane Roe director Nick Sweeney explains the so-called bombshell evidence.
DB: How did you uncover evidence that these anti-abortion organizations had paid off Norma to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars?
Sweeney: Norma started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that absorbed all the various different “fees” she received throughout that era. Rob Schenck uses the term “benevolent gifts,” and there were various different ways that she was receiving money—things like book deals, “benevolent gifts,” or speaking fees. It was a very elaborate and creative way that this was all done. Rob was one of the big organizers of Norma’s public events, and one of the things he admits to is he says Norma was “coached” because they knew she wasn’t rock-solid on the “rights of the unborn child,” which is consistent with things Norma is saying later on, when she says, “If a young woman wants to have an abortion, fine. It’s no skin off my ass.”
While Sweeney paints these payments as nefarious, it should be noted that it is standard fare for notable individuals to earn income by charging fees for their appearances at public events. Earning revenue on “book deals” and “speaking fees” is something very common in today’s culture. “Benevolent gifts” could be any number of things and isn’t automatically nefarious.
McCorvey also had no background in public speaking, so it makes perfect sense to have people help (or “coach”) her for those appearances. Simply because she didn’t have all of the pro-life talking points down and needed assistance in expressing them does not mean she was put up to this by any stretch of the imagination.
When asked if Sweeney paid McCorvey for her appearance in the documentary, he said no. But then he immediately followed that up by saying, “She did provide us with a huge amount of personal photos and family photos, and we licensed those things.”
So, in other words, Norma McCorvey received money from the filmmaker.
Sweeney’s claim of no payment was also called into question by LifeNews, who obtained a text purportedly from McCorvey herself in 2016 to a catholic priest — Father Frank Pavone — saying she’s getting paid for the documentary.
Pictures of the text messages are provided by LifeNews: and read, in part:
“I’m interviewing with a company out of NY via Australia,” McCovey’s text to Father Pavone reads. “And I’m very happy doing it. I charged of course so I’ll have some bucks at the end, so I’m happy about that.” Texts timestamped from the next day have McCorvey asking Pavone for information about a Catholic book, as Pavone had led McCorvey to convert to Catholicism and calling abortion advocates “pro aborts.”
Sweeney is also openly gay and somewhat of an LGBT activist, having taken part in the creation of a documentary about transgender camps for kids. While he claims to have no “dog” in the abortion fight, the evangelical right has long been seen as an enemy of the LGBT movement and it’s figureheads regularly serve as punching bags.
The teasers for the film — and subsequent news headlines — unsurprisingly paint the evangelical right as the villain in the Norma McCorvey story.
Faithwire has reached out to Sweeney for comment on the open letter and asked if he has any plans to release the full, unedited footage of McCorvey’s so-called deathbed confession.
We will update this story if Sweeney responds.