The Death of a Life Legend
“History will remember her as ‘Jane Roe.’ But eternity will forever know her as Norma McCorvey, a child of God.” That’s how Dr. Jim Garlow starts a moving piece memorializing the face of the most significant abortion case in America. In one of the greatest redemption stories in decades, he shares how the woman who became synonymous with abortion experienced the transforming love of Jesus Christ and became one of the most powerful voices in the pro-life movement.
What most people don’t know about McCorvey, who was 22 and struggling at the time of the pregnancy that led to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade case, is that she never stepped foot in the courtroom and never had an abortion. When the devastating 7-2 decision came down, her baby was already two and a half years old and placed for adoption. Even though it’s after her namesake that Roe v. Wade is named (for privacy’s sake, she was referred to as Jane Roe), most people now acknowledge that the entire case was built on a lie. The abortion lobby took advantage of Norma to push their deadly agenda on America — and succeeded.
But one person who didn’t buy the argument was Norma herself. Years after her conversion, she called the case the “biggest mistake of her life.” That change of heart was largely due to a pastor and pro-life activist you may recognize: Flip Benham, dad of the Benham Brothers. Through his gentle persistence, he befriended McCorvey and slowly led her to the Lord in 1995. For the rest of her life, she tried to reverse the decision that has led to the slaughter of 58 million innocent children, even testifying before Congress against abortion.
Over the weekend, while she was still very much an active champion of the pro-life movement, Norma passed away. At 69, she’d spent the last two decades “serving the Lord and helping women save babies.” Dr. Garlow remembers Norma from the first church service she attended. Anxious about how the congregation would respond to the poster woman of the abortion movement, she drove around the parking lot debating whether or not to go in. Eventually, she saw Pastor Benham and decided to go in.
“I still recall exactly where they sat that Sunday,” Jim writes, “off to my left from my view from the platform… With her permission, I introduced her at the end of the service, telling the congregation that ‘Jane Roe’ of Roe v. Wade had come to Christ and had experienced forgiveness for her sins. I explained that she was present in the auditorium. I asked her to stand. She did. The crowd erupted in an extended standing ovation. McCorvey was shocked. She did not expect that. After the service ended, nearly the entire church congregation formed an extremely long line to give her a hug and welcome her into the family of God. It was a profoundly moving and tender moment. Norma McCorvey… had experienced the love and forgiveness of Jesus. She had now experienced the love and forgiveness of the body of Christ — the church. It was an exhilarating day for us all.”
Together with the rest of the pro-life community, we mourn the loss of a true warrior for the unborn. She has been a powerful witness of conversion and truth in a sea of lies surrounding Roe v. Wade. In her honor, we will continue to fight until her namesake is vindicated and Roe is overturned.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
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