Forgiving Jane Roe
“Can I have a cigarette first?”
Norma McCorvey, the infamous “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion in America on January 22, 1973, stood next to me behind the stage at Focus on the Family. This was one of Miss McCorvey’s first speaking excursion in the pro-life realm since accepting Christ – a 700 person conference for pregnancy center workers in February of 1998. Her request for a cigarette outlined her apprehension of what would happen over the next few minutes.
“There is no time, Miss Norma,” I answered. “It will be okay. I’ll be standing next to you the whole time.”
She gave me a hug of appreciation and outlined, “These people from pregnancy centers are my heroes, Sydna. I hope they don’t hate me for making abortion legal. Is it okay for me to just talk to God when I pray?”
“However God leads you, Miss Norma, is fine,” I responded quietly. “Our audience will embrace you deeply. They are excited to hear from you. You’ll find love and acceptance here, just as I have as a post-abortive woman.”
Miss Norma’s book, Won By Love, had been published just six weeks earlier. This publication outlined her recent salvation experience which transformed her from abortion clinic worker to pro-life speaker. Miss Norma would later start a non-profit ministry called “Roe No More.”
A few minutes later, Miss Norma’s message through her prayer was gentle and simple – Help us, God, save these children from abortion. Forgive me for not doing more sooner.
Later she would confide to me, “I feel so responsible. Being part of the Roe v. Wade decision made me the face of abortion. It’s been an incredible weight for my soul but God carries my burdens now!”
While Miss Norma never had an abortion – and placed her baby for adoption – she had a good idea about my personal abortion pain. She offered me a rare comfort in saying, “I’m so sorry, Sydna.”
Accepting Miss Norma’s apology for her role in legalizing abortion was an easy way for her to pass this apology onto other post-abortive people. I comfort every reader today that this notorious “Jane Roe” cared deeply for women enduring post-abortion pain and was sincerely sorry that she ever took part in the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand at all stages of pregnancy.
Secondary abortion pain can result when someone is impacted by another’s abortion decision. Whether the person encouraged or fought against this choice makes a difference in how this pain will be processed in years to come.
Those who urge a woman to abort are typically the ones that receive the most hatred, responsibility and blame afterwards from the newly post-abortive person. Anger and hatred are often the first defense against post-abortion tears of grief. Conversely, those who told us not to abort are often the ones that we reach out to when the grief can no longer be denied.
In leaving the abortion clinic where my child died, my personality changed abruptly. The boyfriend who had coerced my child’s death met me at the door, picked me up and twirled me around saying, “Oh, Sydna! I thought they had killed you up there.”
His relief that I was still alive blew me away. I screamed as his embrace hurt me physically. In processing his comment, I realized suddenly that I could have died during that procedure. I then thought, ”What other consequences could there be?”
Then I encountered full blown outrage against this 21 year old man who had been my child’s father. He thought they were killing me but had waited in the car. My “knight in shining armor” fell off his horse with a loud clank. Dark anger inside of me turned against him then.
It was essential in my abortion recovery healing eleven years later to forgive my child’s father. That was just as important as being able to receive Miss Norma’s heartfelt apology. God was processing my healing through forgiveness, which ended the rage and pain that surrounded me.
There is no sin that God cannot forgive. After abortion, we are often unable to forgive ourselves for allowing our child(ren) to die. We need God’s help to pardon the younger versions of ourselves for making such a horrible choice. Those who experience regret for being part of another person’s abortion decision often need to follow that same process for peace.
Miss Norma entered heaven in February of 2017. Her burden in connection with the legalization of abortion is gone. Her words of comfort will always be remembered.
Luke 7:44-48 shares the beauty Miss Norma gave to our world in her love for the unborn and the post-abortive – Then he (Jesus) turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”