The pro-life movement likes to brag about how they have made a number of “conversions” over the years. The activists who stand in front of clinics and perform “sidewalk counseling” love to tell us how they talked a woman into not having an abortion that day. They call it a “save.” What they don’t realize, of course, is that that woman probably told them she wouldn’t have the abortion just to get them out of her face and later made an appointment at a different clinic that didn’t have protestors.

Pro-lifers also have made a big deal out of the fact that they converted a woman named Norma McCorvey to the pro-life side. In 1973, Ms McCorvey was the plaintiff in the Roe v Wade case. She was “Jane Roe,” picking that name to remain anonymous. As we all know “Jane Roe” ultimately prevailed in Court and it was the Roe v Wade decision that paved the way for legal abortion in this country. Many years later, Norma McCorvey came out and announced that she was the famous “Jane Roe.” She hit the book tour circuit, became the darling of the pro-choice movement, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause. She also started working at an abortion clinic in Dallas, Texas.

At some point, the anti-abortion group “Operation Rescue” moved into the building right next to that clinic and the head of the operation, Mr. Flip Benham, started talking to Norma. Ultimately, Benham convinced Norma that everything she stood for had been wrong and with great fanfare she announced, with Flip at her side, that she was now pro-life. Headlines everywhere, interviews on Larry King. She suddenly was the darling of the pro-life movement. Of course, Flip Benham sought to maximize this conversion for all it was worth. This “leader” of the pro-choice movement had suddenly gone to the other side, she now saw the truth and, parenthetically, please send me $100 today to help us continue our good work.

The fact is that Norma McCorvey was just a single woman who wanted an abortion and she met a lawyer who convinced her to challenge the law in Texas that restricted her ability to get one. By being in the right place at the right time, she became a pro-choice celebrity. But, of course, when she switched Operation Rescue, et al used her and I don’t blame them one bit. In many ways, the pro-choice movement did the same.

This was a very high profile conversion but in my next post I will talk about other, less publicized conversions of pro-lifers to the pro-choice side.

Stay tuned.