the poster and into the arms of Jesus Christ.”
In 1973, the Roe vs. Wade case made US history when it was ruled that abortion should be legal. Norma McCorvey who went under the legal pseudonym of Jane Roe was the pregnant mother at the center of this case. Below I have some excerpts from her story about how she turned 180 degrees to become pro-life.
As my mind was challenged to consider the truth of the Gospel, God began working on my heart through a 7-year-old girl named Emily, the daughter of O.R. [Operation Rescue] volunteer Ronda Mackey.
Quite understandably, I had difficulty relating to children. I had given birth to three, all of whom had been placed for adoption (one of them against my will). And because I worked in an abortion clinic, I was fearful of bonding with anyone so young. It was part of my denial. When you know what is happening to the children behind closed doors, it’s difficult to become attached to them outside.
Emily’s blatant affection, frequent hugs, and direct pursuit disarmed me. The little girl’s interest was all the more surprising considering Emily made it very clear that her acceptance of me wasn’t an acceptance of my lifestyle. Early on in our relationship, I explained to Emily, “I like kids and wouldn’t let anyone hurt little kids,” to which Emily responded, “Then why do you let them kill the babies at the clinic?”
On another occasion, I invited Emily into my office. As I made appointments, Emily kept herself occupied. During one phone call, I lost my temper and said to a caller, “I’d just as soon see you in hell as see you in here,” and Emily responded, “You don’t have to go to hell, Miss Norma. You can pray right now and Jesus will forgive you.”
This childlike faith cut open my heart, making me receptive to the truth being shared by the adult volunteers at Rescue. I wasn’t won over by compelling apologetics. I had a ninth grade education and a very soft heart. While the O.R. adults targeted my mind, Emily went straight for the heart. And over time, Emily began to personify the issue of abortion–especially when Ronda broke down and told me that Emily had almost been aborted.
Ronda was engaged when Emily was conceived, and nobody was very happy about it. Ronda’s future in-laws, her mother, and her fiancee all pressured her to get an abortion during the first trimester. Ronda admits that she gave abortion serious consideration, at one point even giving her verbal assent to pursue it; but her memories of a high school friend’s emotional devastation following an abortion strengthened Ronda’s resolve to let Emily live.
Shortly after Ronda told me the long form of this story, I was walking outside a furniture store, shopping with Ronda and the girls. I have a decidedly mystical bent to my nature, and I was stunned when I saw Ronda’s bumper sticker, “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart,” which has a vividly red heart on the side.
All the sudden, I saw Emily’s heart in that sticker, and it just about destroyed me when I realized that “my law” (as I once fondly referred to Roe v. Wade) had almost snuffed out young Emily’s life. I asked to be taken home immediately, but later that afternoon, I spent over an hour on the phone with Ronda and a deep friendship was solidified.
I was forever changed by this experience. Abortion was no longer an “abstract right.” It had a face now, in a little girl named Emily.
When my conversion became public knowledge, I spoke openly to reporters about still supporting legalized abortion in the first trimester. The media was quick to use this to downplay the seriousness of my conversion, saying I typified the “general ambivalence” of our culture over abortion. But a few weeks after my conversion, I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them.
I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. “Norma,” I said to myself, “They’re right.” I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth–that’s a baby!
I felt “crushed” under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception.’ It wasn’t about ‘missed periods.’ It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion–at any point–was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.