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Jane Roe after Roe v. Wade

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb (Psalm 139:13).

Zion recently observed Life Sunday—a day consecrated for prayer on behalf of the unborn, the aged, and all those whose physical lives are especially vulnerable. We live in a time and culture that has all but lost sense of the mysterious wonder that is human life.

On this occasion, I am reminded of the rarely told story of Norma McCorvey. McCorvey was born in 1947. At home she experienced poverty and abuse. She grew up into a world supposedly liberated by the sexual revolution and feminism. As a teen, McCorvey experimented with drugs, alcohol, and her sexuality. In 1969, at the age of 21, Norma became pregnant with her third child. She attempted to receive an abortion in Texas, but was unsuccessful. Corvey was referred to activist attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington who were looking for pregnant women who were seeking an abortion. They filed a case a class action suit against the State of Texas, which as represented by Henry Wade. To protect McCorvey’s identity, in the court case she was called "Jane Roe.” The case got traction. And after three years in lower courts, Roe V. Wade went all the way to the Supreme Court. Norma McCorvey and her lawyers won the case (Roe v. Wade) on January 22, 1973. The result has been that elective abortions are legal throughout our country.

In our time, the so-called sexual revolution is still active. But the result is that is not freedom but deep confusion. We live in a time when murder is called women’s health. Children are thought of as a burden or choice. Sodomy is called a sexual orientation. Sex change is encouraged. Humanly speaking things look pretty far gone.

As I write this, I know that the evils which I diagnose out there—sins against life—are present in my own heart. Far too often, I see my own children as burdensome and inconvenient. Far too often, I value my own life over the lives and welfare of others. Before God’s law I myself am lost. (Isaiah 6:5)

Now is the time to confess our sins. We confess we hardly prayed for abortion doctors. We have not prayed for young men tempted to avoid fatherly duty. We rarely pray for women scarred by abortion. Let us repent of any feelings of self-righteousness. Let us repent of our silence—now is the time to confess that Christ was incarnate to save sinners, the dying, murders, the self-righteous, the brokenhearted. We confess His cross destroyed the power of the death. We confess Christ has released us from our sins. We confess: in Him we have eternal life.

After Roe V. Wade, Norma McCorvey spent more than 20 years in the pro-choice movement. She worked in the clinics. She spoke for various audiences. In 1995, Norma was working at a Dallas abortion clinic when a pro-life group purchased a space next door. Initially, McCorvey hurled insults at the praying protesters. However, she formed a relationship with a pastor working for the group. After numerous conversations she became a Christian, she was baptized, she quit her job at the clinic.

In 1998, she wrote in her Memoir Won by Love: “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.”

We see the power of the Holy Spirit all over Norma’s story. We recognize that no man or woman is beyond the grace, love, and healing power of Christ. Therefore now is not a time for disdain or contempt. Now is the time to teach about the joys of marriage and the blessings of family. Now is the time to remember the love that Christ has for the world, for us. He alone can transform our hearts, culture, and eternity. God grant it!

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