Editor’s note. Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, passed away on Saturday. The following is her January 21, 1998, testimony given to the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights.
The affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court didn’t happen the way I said it did, pure and simple. I lied! Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffey needed an extreme case to make their client look pitiable. Rape seemed to be the ticket. What made rape even worse? A gang rape! It all started out as a little lie, but my little lie grew and became more horrible with each telling.
Not only did I lie, but I was lied to. I did not come to the Supreme Court on behalf of a class of women. I wasn’t pursuing any legal remedy for my unwanted pregnancy. I did not go to the federal courts for relief. I met with Sarah Weddington to find out how I could obtain an abortion. She and Linda Coffey said they didn’t know where to get one. Sarah already had an abortion but she lied to me just like I lied to her! She knew where to get one, obviously, but I was of no use to her unless I was pregnant. Sarah and Linda were looking for somebody, anybody, to use to further their own agenda. I was their most willing dupe.
Since all these lies succeeded in dismantling every state’s protection of the unborn, I think it’s fair to say that the entire abortion industry is based on a lie.
Here’s the truth of what I saw in the abortion industry.
I saw procedure rooms where sanitation and hygiene were after-thoughts. I worked with a doctor who operated on women while he was barefoot. I’ve worked in the clinics where drug use was rampant among clinic workers. I’ve had a doctor ask me to lie about the age of a fetus so he could charge more money for an abortion. One foreign-born doctor’s entire line of so-called counseling went like this: “You want an abortion, I give you abortion.”
But the most terrible of all, I saw women who were emotionally and physically scarred by their visit to an abortion clinic. They often came asking us if it was a baby, and more often than not, they were lied to and told no. “It’s a product of conception,” we’d say, or “it’s just a few missed periods, that’s all.”
One of my most harrowing experiences was in 1991. I was working behind the desk at an abortion clinic when a woman who was about six months pregnant walked into our office.
“You’re in the wrong place, honey,” I said. “The Ob-Gyn is down the hall. This is the place for abortions.”
“Oh no, I’m in the right place,” she said.
“But you’re showing,” I protested.
Her tone was insistent. “I know what I want, and what I want is an abortion.”
I felt terrible. When situations like these arose, I felt responsible. I had signed the affidavit which ultimately made this woman’s abortion legal. It was my pseudonym, Jane Roe, which had been used to create the “right” to abortion out of legal thin air. But Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffey never told me that what I was signing would allow women to come up to me 15, 20 years later and say, “Thank you for allowing me to have my five or six abortions. Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible.”
Sarah never mentioned women using abortions as a form of birth control. We talked about truly desperate and needy women, not women already wearing maternity clothes.
I finally grew tired of the lies and deception and decided to come out and tell the truth. My eyes were opened after I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and then took my first objective look at a fetal development chart. When the facts are clearly laid out, even a four-year-old child can see that it’s a baby.
Our country has lived with legalized abortion for 25 years now. From personal experience, I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that our experiment with legal abortion is an utter failure.
Instead of supporting organizations such as Planned Parenthood with taxpayer money, we should support local crisis pregnancy centers who provide women with options other than killing their children. Younger women need the advice and guidance of their parents, yet the abortion lobby is trying to separate parents and children by fighting against parental consent laws. Women need to be fully informed. Doctors have a financial interest in a woman choosing abortion, so informed-consent laws are crucial to protect the patients’ interests. Believe me, I’ve seen first-hand how inadequate the counseling is.
Finally, certainly we can all agree that something so extreme as partial-birth abortions should be stopped immediately. I call upon President Clinton to stop vetoing a bill which would protect these viable children. He has single-handedly allowed this horror to continue.
I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name. It is my sincere prayer that there be no 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I would like nothing more than to have this law overturned, either by an act of Congress or a reversal in the Supreme Court.
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