Coming to FX tonight, Friday, May 22 and to VOD via Hulu tomorrow, Saturday, May 23:
AKA JANE ROE
FX broadcast (May 2020)
Right before her death, Norma McCorvey – better known as “Jane Roe” – sets the record straight on her true beliefs.
In 1969, 21-year-old Norma McCorvey was denied an abortion in Texas, and was unable to obtain one, legally or illegally, elsewhere. Eventually, she was referred to attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who were looking for a poor pregnant woman who could serve as a pseudonymous plaintiff for the case that would become Roe v Wade. Following the landmark US Supreme Court case, McCorvey revealed herself to be “Jane Roe.” Decades later, following the publication of her autobiography, she made headlines by becoming a staunch anti-abortionist and acolyte of Operation Rescue after her conversion to Christianity, also renouncing her homosexuality in the process. Director Nick Sweeney speaks with McCorvey in a nursing home in the last months before her 2017 death, getting her perspective on her connection to the forever contentious issue and her controversial reversal. She reveals a difficult life, one of abuse and disenfranchisement, and a recurring feeling of being used – first by Coffee and Weddington, who used her as a symbol but did not involve her in the case in any practical manner, and then, she confesses, by Operation Rescue, who had systematically targeted her to flip and use to undermine the pro-choice movement. McCorvey makes a “deathbed confession” that it was all an act, done for profit and publicity – a charge verified by reformed evangelical pastor Robert Schenck, who used to work with her. There’s power in McCorvey, held up as an anonymous symbol on both sides of the reproductive rights debate, speaking her more complicated truth and claiming her own agency, though the viewer may want a greater sense of acknowledgement from her of the damage done by her cynical about face.