To certain fanatics who call themselves “pro-life,” the means always justify the end.
The end of a woman’s right to choose, that is.
Those means include specious “informed consent” laws to promote myth and misinformation.
Those means include surreptitious and illegal efforts to entrap women’s clinic workers into saying something scandalous.
Those means include harassing women and threatening physicians who perform a constitutionally protected procedure.
To a few even more fanatical fanatics, the means are torching clinics and killing health-care workers. Yes, to advance “pro-life” ends.
But few of the disturbing things done by this movement match what we have learned about Norma McCorvey’s role in it.
McCorvey was the Texas single mom whose quest to get an abortion (she ended up having and giving up the baby) resulted in the Roe vs. Wade decision that stripped states of the power to regulate abortion in the first trimester.
We learn about her story, and how she became a pawn in the anti-abortion game, in the FX documentary “AKA Jane Roe.”
We find out that a massively touted anti-abortion conversion by “Jane” was in fact a business transaction — nearly half a million dollars over time.
Yes, McCorvey put on an act for income. Struggling to pay her bills and always an unreliable narrator — she once claimed that her third pregnancy was the result of rape, and later said it was not — she found a way to live comfortably at the hand of Operation Rescue leader Flip Benham – “a trophy for the movement,” says the movie’s narrator.
In fact, McCorvey went to her grave believing the state should stay out of abortion to the extent that the Supreme Court ruled it 1973. Yet for years she allowed people to think that she'd made a massive conversion against a woman's right to choose.
The truth was in her final interview: "I took their money, and they put me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say, and that’s what I’d say.”
Digesting this, I thought of a key figure in the anti-abortion movement by the name of Donald Trump, who also likes public attention.
Not just a figure – the messiah, the chosen one, sent from above, via escalator.
The movement will accept any means Trump employs as he clutches the reins of power. Any and all.
When he said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody” and not lose supporters, the movement said, “Count us in.”
Ah, but Trump has always been the con. He is documented to have supported abortion rights and to have practiced no faith whatsoever. When did that change?
My explanation: It changed when right-wing Svengali Steve Bannon sat him down to explain the path a Republican must take to get anywhere politically these days.
Kiss the ring of the religious right. Keep kissing. Don’t stop. Don’t think. Just kiss.
Of course, save some slobber for the gun lobby, Big Energy (don’t forget “beautiful coal”), big business, anything big.
For the blue-collar types, offer empty promises to bring back manufacturing. You can’t keep those promises, but do, do.
The one promise you can keep should you thread the needle and become president is to add to the Supreme Court jurists who please the religious right.
It doesn’t matter that you are a full-time biblical charlatan, that you use your position in front of news cameras to lie daily. Just keep kissing those rings.
McCorvey believed in abortion rights but arrived at a financial arrangement with the other side that kept a roof over her head. For Trump, such accommodations helped put over his head the roof on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Toward the end of “AKA Jane Roe,” the narrator borrows from the New Testament to reflect on the presumptively godly who dispense with ethics: “What does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world but lose his soul?”
Apparently it all depends on what ends that man has in mind.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.