Evangelical anti-abortionists “cut checks” and “fill hundred-dollar bills” in Jane Rowe, Norma McCorvey’s hands, even though they knew she didn’t believe their message because her dramatic public “address” to their cause turned her into a “reward” which they could not afford to lose. ‘
This is the shocking confession of the Rev. Robert Schenk, 61, who spoke exclusively to DailyMail.com as a new FX documentary, “AKA Jane Roe,” aired.
McCorvey died of heart failure in 2017. She was 69 years old.
As “Jane Rowe,” she was 22 when she became the protagonist of Roe v Wade, the case that legalized abortion in America. In later years, she threw away her anonymity and made a stunning face to become an outspoken member of the anti-abortion movement.
But shortly before her death, she gave a series of interviews to director Nick Sweeney and claimed that her anti-abortion campaign was “all action”
Now Schenk, a key figure in McCorvey’s story and an evangelical leader, has admitted paying her hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep her away, and told DailyMail.com that he and others were ignoring signals that “she is not with us.” because as long as she “said the right things in public.”
Rev. Robert Schenk, 61, told DailyMail.com that evangelical anti-abortionists were “cutting off checks” on Jane Rowe, known as Norma McCorway. Schenk and McCorvey were depicted together in 1996.
As Jane Rowe, McCorvey became the protagonist of Roe v Wade, the case that legalized abortion in America. McCorvey is pictured with lawyer Gloria Alred
In later years, McCorey denied anonymity and became a staunch member of the anti-abortion movement.
The clergyman from Washington, D.C., said: “She is so valuable to the movement that we were willing to make any kind of accommodation for her idiosyncrasies and doubts.
“I had an organization called Faith and Action, and we stopped checking on Norma McCorvy, a lot of checks over the years.”
“I had an organization called Faith and Action and we cut off Norma McCorvey’s inspections, a lot of inspections over the years,” Schenk said.
Schenk met McCorvey in January 1996, when he invited her to speak at the National Memorial to Aborns and Their Mothers and Fathers, an annual event he began. She joined him on stage with 50 other anti-abortion leaders and his then-friend and peer, the Rev. Flip Benham, who baptized McCorvy in the backyard pool the previous year.
Schenk explained. “Flip moved his organization.” [the anti-abortion Operation Rescue] to premises adjacent to the abortion provider, where Norma worked as a marketing director. They became annoying friends who exchanged barbs and then discovered that they were similar people.
“They were both of some kind of tortured background, victims of child abuse, and so they developed a friendship, and it became a kind of pastoral relationship for the Venerable Benham.”
McCorvey gave various accounts of her origins over the years, claiming at one point that her pregnancy in the Roe v Wade era was the result of rape, and later admitted that it was not. But all her bills painted a picture overshadowed by poverty, abuse, and alcohol addiction.
She found a period of stability with her partner Connie Gonzalez, but this relationship ended in accretion after 35 years.
Today, Schenk is unsure of McCorvey’s sincere “conversion,” saying, “Only God knows the depth of our sincerity.”
But he said he regretted never seeing McCorvey for the “fragile individual” she was, as much as the advantage she gave to his cause. After all, it was a “problem to manage” with money.
McCorvey died of heart failure in 2017 and gave an interview to the “confessor of death” to the creators of the film for the new FX documentary “AKA Jane Roe”
McCorway admits in the documentary that she was paid by the church to be against abortion
Schenk said the deal lasted more than 10 years and said McCorvey was paid more than $ 450,000
He said: “For us, these were checks – $ 500 for speaking commitments stand out, I recall that I signed two checks for $ 2,500, but never more than that.
“There was more than one case where she called me complaining bitterly that she felt she had been exploited, used, treated unfairly financially, so, you know, I could allow an additional $ 500 or $ 1,000 check.”
The deal lasted more than a decade, according to Schenk, who recalled a short period during which McCorvy was on a monthly stipend of several hundred dollars. Overall, he estimated that she must have paid more than $ 450,000 over the years.
He said: “I saw the tax records and that was a pretty big number, but there were a lot of informal financial deals in those days.
“We put a lot of money in people’s hands, I mean, it could be a hundred-hundred-dollar bill, and it wasn’t reported properly.”
In her confession of death, McCorvy described herself as the “Big Fish” in the eyes of the evangelical leaders who courted her. She said, “I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say.”
She boasted that she was a “good actress.”
For his part, Schenk said he never felt like “paying an actor.”
Although he admitted that his relationship with McCorvey was at times “transactional”, he denied that it had ever been a cynical attempt to exploit her.
He recalled an occasion on which McCorvey called him “clearly unwell.” He said: “She drank enthusiastically – I would have liked it at the time when I saw this as a sign of trouble in my life, but I did not. We all laughed at him. It was problematic at times, but not so much that we couldn’t just do it.
In her confession of death, McCorvy described herself as the “Big Fish” in the eyes of the evangelical leaders who courted her. She said: “I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say.”
“I saw it as a symbol we couldn’t afford to lose,” Schenk (left) said of McCorvey’s involvement in the movement, calling it “crown jewels.”
“She called me about it and said, ‘You know the boys are broadcasting with me.’ And she meant in the context of money. She said: “I go there and do what you expect of me. I said what you wanted to say, and I could just go back to the other side.
“That was her threat.” And it occurred to me that she was fragile and that we could lose her, and that would be a terrible loss to the movement.
“And that’s what I’m most sorry about; that instead of seeing her as a needy individual, as I should have as a minister, I saw her as a symbol we could not afford to lose.
“So when she said that, I sent her more money, and that was to suppress her and keep her on our side.” That’s what I thought, and I know I wasn’t alone in that thinking. “
In fact, according to Schenk, there have been many top-level discussions in which “insurmountable complaints about Norma” have been shared.
He said, “We [leadership figures in the movement] we would talk about Norma quite often and exchange stories about her phone calls. That’s right. She was a problem that had to be managed, how we felt about her.
And it was worth “managing” because, Schenk said, “it brought so much value to the movement.”
As a woman who symbolizes legal abortion in America, she stood up, he said: “The symbol of triumph over our opponents. We had taken the big prize from them.
– We took the jewelry with the crown. And in a philosophical sense, he showed that we have the winning message, because if it can be won with that message, then we can win everyone. This was the seal of approval from heaven.
– And financially she was a wind. My organization uses photographic images of it, we repeated its history, we used videos, and so on. She would pack the house when we had live events. People came with a lot of people, there were crowds that were only in a room. So she had that currency for us and we couldn’t afford to lose it.
But in later years, McCorvey became responsible for the people themselves who used it as a mouthpiece. Schenk admitted: “The norm has become less visible in traffic over the years. She was highly visible for 10 to 15 years, and then the last five to seven people assumed she was still active, but she had really moved away.
“There were old videos online, but it felt dangerous to put in front of a microphone because you couldn’t predict what he would say.”
Today, Schenk is unsure of McCorvey’s sincere “transformation,” saying, “Only God knows the depth of our sincerity.”
Today, Schenk’s own views have softened, and his views of McCorvy and his attitude toward the movement through her through the prism of deep regret.
He said: “Norma started sailing and I also started a different voyage. Abortion for me has become less of a cause and more than a human experience with all the pain, agony, confusion and dilemmas that come with unwanted pregnancies and abortion itself.
“That’s why I appreciate what Nick Sweeney did so much in his film. He humanized Norma McCorvey. She speaks for herself without being asked or told what to say or give him a note. And it deserves to be heard.
Looking back, Schenk said, he believes McCorvy was used and abused by both sides. He said: “It’s hard to say without suffocating, but I think one of the ways Norma survives is by allowing people to use it because it was safe, if it was used, because it gave it value.
“I think her identification with the choice movement was a proposition for survival, and I think her identification with the pro-life movement was a proposition for survival.”
He added: “I never said, ‘Hey, here’s someone we can use and abuse and exploit, and if we pay her enough money, she’ll keep quiet.’
“It was more like thinking, ‘It’s good that this woman has problems, we all have problems, but here we have a much bigger challenge, and if it’s at her expense or mine, so be it.’ “We were afraid to think there was something bigger than Norma McCorvey.
“But there’s never really been anything bigger than Norma McCorvy.” God only cared about Norma, not our movement.