[Note about the author: Col. Tim Moore serves at Lamb & Lion Ministries as an Associate Evangelist and ministry trustee.]
January 22, 2019 marked the 46th anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that continues to tear at our national conscience. That was the date when the Roe v. Wade case legalized abortion throughout the United States.
Coming on the heels of the Vietnam War and the social unrest that marked the 1960s, the activist court had already begun undoing legal precedents that had guided our nation for generations. In 1963, the Warren Court ruled that official prayer in schools could no longer be tolerated.
By 1973, the liberal justices were willing to push the boundaries even further. In the Roe decision, Justice Harry Blackman resorted to citing “penumbras of the Ninth Amendment” — a reference to the mysterious outer region of a shadow cast by an opaque object. If that sounds like legal Gnosticism, it is — because only self-styled higher thinkers can reduce the Amendments to the U.S. Constitution to opaque objects casting faint shadows that only they can discern.
Over the past 46 years, the Pro-Life Movement has taken on a life of its own. It has become a political force to be reckoned with, especially within the Republican Party. And, while pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood still outpace the pro-life cause in fundraising and power within the Democratic Party, the culture has trended toward a pro-life position for several years.
Lost in the politically explosive issue of life is a historical and prophetic understanding of this stain on America’s soul.
The Historical Background
The “Wade” in the original case refers to Henry Wade, the District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas. He was tasked with defending the Texas statute prohibiting abortion against a legal steamroller determined to create a landmark case to impact the nation. That legal team actively sought a pregnant young woman to be the subject of their legal battle. They found her in Norma McCorvey — aka “Jane Roe.”
McCorvey was not what legal scholars would describe as a sympathetic litigant. The product of a troubled and sometimes violent childhood (she was repeatedly raped by a cousin over one three-week period), she was an abrasive, alcoholic drug user who was disowned by her own family. She already had two children by different men, and she had signed over both children for adoption. Pregnant for a third time and divorced at age 22, she sought an illegal abortion but found that all abortion clinics had been shut down by the authorities.
Eventually, McCorvey connected with a team of pro-abortion lawyers (headed by the daughter of a mainline minister) who realized that she could become the “victim” they had been looking for. They coached her to falsely claim she had been gang-raped, hoping to make her circumstance more sympathetic. When her request for a legal abortion was denied due to lack of credibility, they ran her case for the next three years all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ironically, McCorvey never appeared in court and her third baby was born and given up for adoption. She later testified that the team of feminist lawyers never made an effort to help her after they secured her “Jane Roe” signature.
In the years that followed, Norma McCorvey became a high priestess of the same false religion that had used her and spit her out. She helped lure in young women to the Dallas abortion clinic where she worked for minimum wage and even comforted them with words she knew to be lies.
For a season, Norma basked in the notoriety. Caught up in the leftist feminist agenda, she declared herself to be an avowed lesbian. Anyone observing Norma McCorvey’s pro-abortion attitude and ungodly lifestyle would have declared her to be reprobate. But that is not the end of her story.
During her tenure as a committed lesbian and abortionist, pro-life activists from Operation Rescue began targeting her facility. Instead of screaming at Norma and the women who bought into the lies she helped spread, those intervening Christians primarily prayed and offered positive encouragement. They shined the light of truth and love where darkness seemed to prevail.
When I had the opportunity to meet Norma personally, she told me that what broke through her hardened heart was an 8-year-old girl named Emily Mackey who repeatedly told her, “Miss Norma, God loves you and so do I.” That simple statement made her realize that she had never experienced such grace and love — totally unexpected and undeserved. It melted her heart.
The other experience that caused her to reject the lie of abortion was seeing a baby on a modern ultrasound. No longer could she fool herself and others into believing the lie that a fetus is merely a clump of cells. What God miraculously knits together in each mother’s womb is fully human — from conception to birth.
A Radical Change of Life
In 1995, Norma McCorvey gave her life to Jesus Christ and renounced her former lifestyle and occupation. She later said:
Over the course of three decades, my life has changed and transformed. I live with the results of [the Roe v. Wade] decision every day. I breathed words that started a change; now I am breathing new words. I believe that God has brought me to this point to bring change once again.”
McCorvey became an outspoken advocate for life, which is how I met her. In 2008, she spoke at the annual “Kentucky Doctors for Life” dinner. As the leader of the Pro-Life Caucus in the Kentucky Legislature, I was asked to speak as well. I sat next to Norma and spent most of the evening thrilling at her testimony of how God changed her life and gave it eternally-relevant purpose and meaning.
I love the Lord with all my heart and soul, [and] it’s beyond my comprehension that He can take someone like me who was a hippie and a drug addict and a fornicator and all the other stuff that I did and forgive me. It was so hard for me to conceive that the Lord had forgiven me — especially after so many children had been killed. But He has forgiven me and restored me.”
In the second and last part about Norma McCorvey’s testimony, we’ll look at where this nation now stands on the abortion issue and its prophetic significance.