Categories: Pro-Lifers

March for Life Features Three Central to Roe v. Wade Who Are Now Pro-Life

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, died on Saturday. The following, which appeared in NRL News on February 11, 1998, is the second of three posts we are running today. All three pro-life converts discussed in this story have since passed away. For youngsters, Al Gore was Bill Clinton’s pro-abortion vice president, a man who ran unsuccessfully for President against pro-life George W. Bush in 2000.

The following photo appeared on Sandra Cano’s Facebook page. (Left to right) Ms. Cano, Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of the original NARAL and later a pro-life convert, and Norma McCorvey (the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade)

While Al Gore and Bill Clinton used a luncheon sponsored by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League to reiterate their undying commitment to the slaughter of unborn babies, a gigantic crowd of March for Life champions was assembling at the Ellipse to vow their steadfast determination to save unborn babies.

While only miles apart geographically, the two Washington, D.C., assemblages could not have been further apart philosophically.

Clinton/Gore bragged about their dedication to abortion, particularly about overseas “family planning” whose centerpiece is abortion. Gore, Clinton’s choice to be the Democrats’ next presidential nominee, talked of “trust[ing] women to make their own deeply personal moral decisions,” while Clinton (who appeared via videotape) offered his refurbished abortion sound bite: “keeping abortion safe, legal and accessible and making it more rare.”

Minutes away, a huge throng gathered to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade — the judicial “shot heard `round the world.” To waves of loud applause March for Life President Nellie Gray introduced three individuals who were instrumental in the 1973 Roe decision, all of whom are now pro-life activists.

Though she was the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, Norma McCorvey never had an abortion. She had that child and gave her up for adoption.

She told the hushed crowd, “I want to apologize to all of you.” McCorvey, who now heads a fledgling ministry called “Roe No More,” said she lied when she said she was pregnant because of rape. McCorvey described herself as a “willing dupe” of attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffey who were looking for a plaintiff to challenge the Texas abortion statute.

“I am dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name,” McCorvey said in a soft southern drawl, quietly adding, “It is my sincere prayer that there be no 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.”

Sandra Cano was the plaintiff in Roe’s companion case, Doe v. Bolton. Cano said her participation in the challenge to Georgia’s abortion law was “based on deceit.”

In the midst of a divorce at the time, poor, pregnant, and uneducated, Cano said, “I was used by an attorney as a tool to achieve her agenda.” Cano said she was against abortion at the time of her case “and I’m against it now.”

At one time the medical director of the largest abortion clinic in the Western Hemisphere, Dr. Bernard Nathanson is perhaps the best known pro-abortion convert to the pro-life cause. Nathanson said that the tide on abortion and the thinking about abortion “is running strongly in the pro-life favor. This is a golden time.”

Nathanson helped establish NARAL in 1969. He is best known in pro-life circles for his book Aborting America and for a series of hard-hitting pro-life films, including most famously The Silent Scream.

While crowd estimates are notoriously imprecise, the Catholic Standard reported figures for the March of up to 175,000 people. Whatever the number, there was an unmistakable bounce in the step of every marcher.

Most notable was the incredible number of young people, representatives of the “X-ed”-out generation. Vocal, enthusiastic, and anything but shy, these future pro-life leaders expressed sadness over the more than 36 million [now 59 million] preborn children aborted since 1973.

“It’s amazing to think that there are so many people I could have known throughout my life,” said Kelly Harding. “I am lucky to be alive. Everyone should have that chance.”

Typically, no one more inspired the audience than Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the House Pro-life Caucus. Speaking with great passion, Smith exclaimed that the “enlightening national debate over partial-birth abortion has accelerated the process of exposing the simple truth that abortion is violence against children and that the abortion movement routinely exploits, injures, and lies to women.”

Smith said that “for the first time in 25 years, Americans are looking beyond the cheap sophistry and self-serving rhetoric of the abortion industry and they are connecting the dots.”

His remarks illustrated how the debate over partial-birth abortion was exposing abortion’s soft underbelly.

“If it’s shocking and inhumane,” he said, “to jam scissors and a vacuum hose into the head of a partially delivered baby, why is it any less violent, shocking, and inhumane to dismember the bodies of children with surgical knives, or to dislodge and destroy babies with hideous suction machines (20 to 30 times more powerful than a household vacuum cleaner), or to pump dangerous chemical compounds, including extremely high-concentrated salt water, into the unborn babies’ environment so as to poison the child?”

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