My Interview with Fr. Frank Pavone on Norma McCorvey and Her So-Called Documentary ‘Confession’

The news is that Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade) has “confessed” that her conversion from homosexual pro-choice activist to Christian pro-life activist was “all an act.”

“This is my deathbed confession,” [Norma] chuckles, sitting in a chair in her nursing home room, on oxygen. Sweeney asks McCorvey, “Did [the evangelicals] use you as a trophy?” “Of course,” she replies. “I was the Big Fish.” “Do you think you would say that you used them?” Sweeney responds. “Well,” says McCorvey, “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.” She even gives an example of her scripted anti-abortion lines. “I’m a good actress,” she points out. “Of course, I’m not acting now.”

What are we to make of this? How could we all have been so wrong about her? The truth is that we were not wrong about her. It’s the pro-abortion forces exploiting her who have always been wrong about her and who are wrong about her now.

Let’s back up. When I first heard that Norma McCorvey had repented of her role in the pro-choice movement and had converted to Christianity, I have to say that I was a bit skeptical. Many people have something of a one-night stand with Jesus and then go back to their old ways. When Norma converted to Catholicism with the help of Fr. Frank Pavone, however, I was convinced that the change was a permanent one. Catholicism has a way of requiring you to pay off on your investment to God even as God is giving you all the profits to pay Him with. I have always believed her conversion was real and permanent because she manifested a deep relationship with God.

I have been a fan of Fr. Frank Pavone for almost 30 years. I’ve come to know him as a tireless defender of truth itself, not just the right to life. Fr. Pavone’s work with Norma McCorvey over the years has been inspiring, to say the least. I knew that if anyone could have the answers to this highly questionable turn of events, it would be Fr. Frank Pavone. I interviewed him via email and I share his answers verbatim below.

Lisa Graas: Did you speak with Norma after her appearance on this documentary? If so, did she ever mention the documentary to you?

Fr. Frank Pavone: I spoke with Norma several times a week throughout the 22 years I knew her, up to and including the day she died. There were many people who did or wanted to do documentaries, films, and various kinds of interviews with her, and very often these made her upset and combative if she thought they were deceiving her or being unfair. It was impossible to keep up with all of these instances, so whether any of the conversations we had were about this documentary in particular, I can’t be sure. But one thing I am sure of is that her pro-life conversion and commitment were not in any way an act.

Lisa Graas: Do you believe Norma was in her right mind when the documentary was filmed?

Fr. Frank Pavone: Norma had good days and bad days, and the bad days could be really bad. Over our 22 year friendship, I saw firsthand how bad they could get, and she was quite capable of saying things that she later deeply regretted and apologized for. When I see the documentary, I’ll be able to have a better idea of whether the way she comes across seemed like some of those bad days.

Lisa Graas: Is it possible that Norma was paid for her appearance in the documentary?

Fr. Frank Pavone: I knew of a number of film projects for which she was offered money, so it is certainly not out of the question that this also was one such instance.

Lisa Graas: How confident are you that Norma’s conversion was authentic?

Fr. Frank Pavone: Many of us knew her; I was privileged to be by her side for her journey for 22 years, from her baptism in 1995 to the day of her death in 2017 – a day on which we had our final conversation and she urged us all to keep pushing forward in the pro-life cause. I received her into the Catholic Church in 1998, led her through an intense spiritual and psychological healing process from the wounds she incurred in the abortion industry, had thousands of conversations and spent countless hours both in public and in private, for business and pleasure, as did our colleague and my associate Janet Morana.

The sacrifices Norma made on this journey of healing are not things you can fake. Her life can’t be summarized in an interview or an article. One had to see the whole pattern, all the ups and downs, to identify her center of gravity. She was wounded and erratic, and yet knew she was a new creation in Christ; she was needful of help and yet fiercely independent, tender of heart and yet capable of fierce anger and rebellion.

I don’t know what the interview was that the documentary is touting, or what was said leading up to it. What I do know is that the conversion and commitment, the agony and the joy I witnessed firsthand for 22 years was not a fake. There is 0% chance of that.

Lisa Graas: Do you have any more to add?

Fr. Frank Pavone: What the pro-abortion side has to face up to is that Norma rejected abortion before she became pro-life. The day before the pro-abortion press conference in which she was first revealed as the “Roe” of Roe v Wade, she told Gloria Allred that she thought abortion was wrong. And while working in abortion clinics, she talked women out of their abortions. If there was any ambiguity, it was about her commitment to pro-choice, not to pro-life.

Our movement should take this wave of negative publicity as a chance to get to know Norma better, and to urge America to get to know Roe v Wade better, a policy that not only Norma but America has rejected.

Janet and I did a broadcast today about this, which you can see here:

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