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Baby Adoption in the News

Ron Reigns:

Welcome. And thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters In Adoption with Kelly Rourke-Scarry and me, Ron Reigns, where we delve into adoption issues from every angle of the adoption triad.

Speaker 2:

Doing what’s best for your kid and yourself because if you just take care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of that kid, and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:

I know that my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:

Don’t have an abortion. Give this child a chance.

Speaker 5:

All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m the Executive Director, President, and co-founder of Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and the creator of the You Before Me campaign. I have a bachelor’s degree in family studies in human development and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in school counseling. I was adopted at three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption, and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:

And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the co-host of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife, an adoption attorney, and I can combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Ron Reigns:

In June 1969, 21-year-old Norma McCorvey, AKA Jane Roe, discovered she was pregnant with her third child. She married and became pregnant at 16 but divorced before the child was born. She subsequently relinquished custody of her child to her mother.

Ron Reigns:

In 1967, she gave up a second child for adoption immediately after giving birth. When she became pregnant again in 1969, she wanted an abortion. She returned to Dallas, Texas, where friends advised her to assert falsely that she had been raped to obtain a legal abortion with the incorrect assumption that Texas law allowed abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Ron Reigns:

The Texas statute allowed abortion only to save the life of the mother. Norma was referred to two female attorneys, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington.

Ron Reigns:

Norma gave birth before the case was decided, and she placed her baby for adoption.

Ron Reigns:

On January 22nd, 1973, the Supreme court, in a 7-2 decision, legalized abortion nationwide. In a majority opinion written by Justice Harry Blackmun, the court declared that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment.

Ron Reigns:

The court divided a woman’s pregnancy into three trimesters and outlined the following. In the first trimester, abortion was able to be decided by the pregnant woman. In the second trimester, the government could regulate abortion, although not ban it, to protect the mother’s health. And the third trimester, the state could prohibit abortion from protecting a fetus that could survive on its own outside the womb, except when a woman’s health was in danger.

Ron Reigns:

The big headline of AKA Jane Rowe is McCorvey’s assertion that anti-abortion activists paid her to switch her position on reproductive rights in the mid-1990s. “It was all an act,” she says in the documentary of her much-ballyhooed about-face, which had been attributed to her becoming a devout Christian, proclaiming herself to be a good actress.

Ron Reigns:

McCorvey, who died in 2017 at 69, defiantly states that she doesn’t care what people think of her. She was, to be sure, a complicated figure who says she never actually had an abortion. Growing up under hardscrabble circumstances, she faced an unwanted pregnancy when she was recruited to serve as the plaintiff in the landmark case, only later shedding her anonymity to be embraced as an icon of the reproductive rights movement.

Ron Reigns:

McCorvey later shocked her allies by declaring herself born-again, switching her allegiance to the anti-abortion rights group Operation Rescue. It was only the latest wrinkle in what a news report described as the furious battle that rages around all her name has stood for.

Ron Reigns:

But not the last one. Given what she reveals during the interviews conducted over the last year of her life. Operation Save America, an anti-abortion group formerly known as Operation Rescue, has denied that the group paid McCorvey.

Ron Reigns:

“Her whole life was an attempt to tell her real story says,” Rob Schenck in the film, an evangelical minister who made his dramatic shift from anti-abortion crusader to a supporter of rights made possible by Roe v. Wade, adding that he hopes the film creates a posthumous opportunity for her to do so.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

A Jane Rowe, I’m so glad you recommended it because I think it will produce a lot of hype. I know that the pro-choice side will grab this and run with it. I’m sure many pro-choice believers probably feel very vindicated, which was not what I expected. I was entirely blown away. I had never seen an interview prior with her. She was what I had expected. It was not necessarily what I anticipated in any aspect whatsoever. What was your take on it?

Ron Reigns:

I agree with that, and I feel like because I thought it was going to be almost entirely politically driven and just focused on one side or the other, probably more of the one side. And it did have politics in it. It included politics and arguments, but it was almost more of a documentary about her life, which I appreciated because it lets you get to know who she is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. And I think that was smart because it made her more credible from their vantage point.

Ron Reigns:

Right, I think it did too. But it also showed some of their flaws because she was very complex.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

She was.

Ron Reigns:

And you can’t just put her into a box and say, “Oh, she’s pro-choice. She’s pro-life, whatever,” because it was very fluid throughout her life as to what she stood for. And yeah, it was exciting. It was a well-done documentary. I

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I think it’s interesting that you say she was very complex. I think she was very complex but also straightforward. I think that she could not see both sides at the same time. And because of that, she would flip from side to side and go wherever she benefited the most.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So I think she was a puppet for whoever could reach her. And to me, that’s sad because when you think of the Jane Roe of abortion, I always envisioned a powerful, compelling, excellent individual that what I thought was the case, basically felt that she had done something very wrong and spent her life trying to alter the case that she had previously made. And that wasn’t it at all. And so it was disappointing in that aspect.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I’m not sure what her end goal was for making the film. I don’t know what she got from that.

Ron Reigns:

You know, I don’t know. I think she was throughout her life, I think she was very attention-starved, and the people that paid attention to her, the people that gave her praise and admiration on either side, she would, she was malleable. She would form to that. She was like clay. Do you know?

Ron Reigns:

And so if somebody’s giving you the attention and money to speak their point of view, she was all out there getting in front of the camera and doing it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

But again, I mean, if you take somebody who Now I don’t believe she graduated high school, is that correct? Am I correct in that?

Ron Reigns:

I missed that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

She got married at 16.

Ron Reigns:

No, it didn’t seem like it because she went to the reform school.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I don’t remember. Right. But then she got married at 16. Right? Right. Wasn’t she much younger? 17. And so, I mean, you take somebody who is presumably not fully educated, did not have a high occupational position, and somebody desperate for, like you said, attention and I think love and wanting to fit in. Because she was living growing up, she didn’t fit in with her family and her mom.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And then, she was sent to reform school, and because she was interested in girls again, she was cast out because she did not fit in with the general society.

Ron Reigns:

Right with norms.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Especially in those days. And so I think that she was looking for something. And unfortunately, I think she was played like a puppet on both sides.

Ron Reigns:

I agree.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It was not at all what I was expecting. Was it what you were expecting?

Ron Reigns:

I don’t think so, but maybe that’s because all I had heard about it was the big revelation at the end. So I didn’t realize that it would go through her entire life as an individual and how she changed throughout her life back and forth. And so, no, that wasn’t quite.

Ron Reigns:

I thought it would almost just start right at the Roe v. Wade controversy and through the decision. I thought it would start there, but they went back further and went into her family background a little bit, which I appreciated. But no, it was not at all what I expected.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So I think I was expecting more, as you said. I thought there would be a lot more about the court case. I didn’t realize she had minimal involvement in the actual court proceedings. By then, she had had the baby and placed the baby for adoption. And so, a couple of years later, the ruling came out.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So she wasn’t a passive participant in the trial, the movement. It was her name, which was then reclassified as Jane Roe, and just this individual. And they used her as an example of why women felt that women should be entitled to have an abortion.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So that was, I mean, like I said, her actual involvement, I think, was very minimal to some aspect.

Ron Reigns:

She even said she found out about the decision like everybody else from the paper, and then the attorney called and said, “We won.” And she said, “Well, you won. I had the baby.”

Ron Reigns:

And it was interesting. So yeah. And she was being played.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It was interesting.

Ron Reigns:

Played the whole time by both sides. So I can’t emphasize that enough.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah, and that was sad because I don’t think that she, I mean, that was her third pregnancy.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. I thought it was very tragic. And again, my entire life, because I was adopted, I’ve heard so much about Roe vs. Wade, Roe vs. Wade. I mean, being in the adoption world, it’s a huge, huge topic. And to see this documentary was disappointing, not in the documentary itself, but in the reality of what it was.

Ron Reigns:

Right. And who she ended up when you put a face to the name. And also, as I was watching, I often wondered about you and how you perceived this because of the way she spoke and her mannerisms, and almost kind of like not caring what anybody thought of her personally, I thought of your mom a lot from the stories you’ve told. Did she remind you of your mom in any way?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

There were a couple of aspects in which she did remind me of my mom. My mom dropped out of school in the 10th grade. My mom had me at 16. My mom was feminine. She wasn’t homosexual at all. She was very feminine. After she had had me, she went on, and this made me smile. My mom also worked as a car hop on roller skates at a fast food place.

Ron Reigns:

As did Jane Roe. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. And so that was a little ironic. My mom did not care, yes, what people thought of her. She was who she was, and you could accept her or not. But she wasn’t, as You know; I think Norma was very into the shock. I mean the hair colors, and she would go to these extremes. My mom didn’t do that, but my mom, very much like her, was into the rings. My mom always had a ton of rings like that. And I think her personality, where she was looking to be loved and find where she fits in, was very reflective of my mother.

Ron Reigns:

Now I want to go back on a couple of things. First, I didn’t know there were different hair colors until you said that. What colors was her hair through the documentary?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Brown and then bright red and then a darker shade of red. And then it would be more of like a politically correct hairstyle. And then she’d return to the shocking red and the short butch look. And I found that that was very indicative of where she was. Like if she was on the pro-choice side, she seemed to be.

Ron Reigns:

Little more flamboyant.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. Yeah.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And-

Ron Reigns:

And when she was on the pro-life side, she was more conservative looking and had a more conservative haircut.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I never realized that Gloria Allred was working with her.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Did you know that?

Ron Reigns:

Well, I didn’t know much about Jane Roe other than I knew the name. I knew of the case. I’d never seen her on TV, never seen her speak before, so this was very eye-opening in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t surprise me that Gloria Allred was her friend, and they worked together so much, but I didn’t know it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay. Yeah, I thought that was very interesting.

Ron Reigns:

See, you bring up something that I think makes her seem like more of a complex person in that she always did. She craved that attention, acceptance, love, and all that stuff. But on the other hand, as you said, she didn’t care what you thought of what she said. She would say reckless things all the time, and she didn’t care if you liked it or not. So I feel like it’s a dichotomy between her personalities. I find it very. That’s why I think she was a very complex person. That’s why I say that, but she was, in many ways, a straightforward person. So it’s strange.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. I can see where you’re coming from. I think that she is also very much a result of society. She didn’t have a close relationship with her mom. She didn’t finish school; I don’t believe it. She kept getting pregnant by different men, yet she identified as homosexual.

Ron Reigns:

Being a lesbian, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So it was just fascinating. Yeah. Initially, going into this, I believed that we would be having a discussion right now about how the directors of the movie had preyed upon her and got her to make this deathbed confession before she passed so that they could vindicate themselves. And so-

Ron Reigns:

And try and undo the last 20 years that she had done or whatever, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And so when I saw that that was not the case, I thought, okay, where would I go with this? And then I thought, real people’s life events are often part of why they change their opinions and go back and forth.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I think that people do make meaningful life choices and decisions based on happenings. So, in other words, someone could identify with one religion and then meet somebody and fall in with them and change to their religion because they want to identify with them.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And they’ll be positive reinforcement by identifying with that religion rather than their previous one. So I think that in high school, my daughter told me that many high school kids are pro-choice, and they think it’s cool to be pro-choice. And they will say, “Oh no, definitely women have the right to choose,” and jump on that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And as they get older, those opinions may change. And so I think we saw a woman who went back and forth. And I believe that she believed that at the time, she made those transitions.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Do I think that she was entirely acting? No, I don’t. She was swayed and then forced to believe what they wanted her to. So I think that she was very much a puppet, but I think Norma, at the same time, could not make her own significant decisions in that aspect. And so, she was coerced by the left and right sides to believe what they wanted her to believe.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So when she was speaking, I believe she believed what she was saying at that moment. Now that may not have been her actual belief, but at that moment, that’s where she felt vindicated and validated. And she went where she felt she would get the most attention, as you had said, and the most praise and what benefited her the most.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And so, I think there’s a confirmation bias, which is people’s tendency to embrace information that supports their beliefs and rejects the information that contradicts them.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

An example for all of us in today’s society would be you can look at the news, see people going out to the grocery stores, wearing masks and gloves, and following the orders and recommendations by the CDC. You also see the rebels that are going to the store, and they’re not wearing masks, and they’re not wearing gloves, and they are telling everybody this is-

Ron Reigns:

A big hoax. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

A conspiracy, it’s a big hoax. They’re blowing it out of proportion. This is due to the upcoming election. And so, they reject any information that contradicts their ideology or what they want to believe.

Ron Reigns:

And I think that people on both sides, whichever it would be, like if you’re out there wearing a mask and trying to do everything, you’re watching one news source, for instance. In contrast, many of these others are watching alternative sources on the internet and getting their medical advice from different sources, I’ll say.

Ron Reigns:

I will give one more reputation over another, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. But you’re right. There is confirmation bias, and we’re all susceptible to it. And that’s why I’ve always recommended, for instance, to my son, to watch CNN and MSNBC and Fox a little bit of each. And then what you do is when they tell the facts, if all the facts are the same in all three, those are the facts.

Ron Reigns:

Now, all the other stuff is an opinion, and you kind of mesh those and go, okay, what do I believe hearing these three different voices or how many ever you listen to, the more, the better I think.

Ron Reigns:

But if you watch Fox News or MSNBC, they only get that one side: confirmation bias.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Absolutely, and that’s what I think she was doing as well, along with the feeling of genuinely caring when Flip came out when he moved into the office next to her and took that time and brought her to this religion. I think that she embraced it because she felt loved by them.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And she felt-

Ron Reigns:

Because he was to her at first, and then they welcomed her in. And so, yeah, I don’t think it was 100% them paying her to do anything. They were manipulating her by all means. But I think it started with her feeling accepted.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I agree, and I think a perfect way to quantify that would be, I would seriously doubt, and this is purely speculation. I doubt he opened his checkbook in that first conversation and said, “Let’s talk.”

Ron Reigns:

Right. Exactly, exactly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And so what I took away from the documentary is there was a woman that was manipulated not just in a financial manner but emotionally and mentally. And she was put at the forefront of something that she probably had no idea what this would involve but evolved into. And I think she probably got in over her head many times.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And at the same time, she was probably trying to find out who she was. And that’s why she kept putting on so many hats.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I think it’s unfortunate because her life, in many ways, is tragic. I don’t know that she would look back at her life and say, “Yes, I had a great life. I’m happy with the way my life went.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

We can all appreciate her struggle and openness to share her story because it may help others down the road.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

This would be a win for the pro-choice side regarding the documentary. People said, “Oh, this is propaganda and all that.” No, I believed it.

Ron Reigns:

Right. I think it was one-sided, indeed, and it was told from a perspective, but I don’t think that was too heavy-handed, or I think they were being as honest as they could be with the information they had. I agree with you 100%.

Ron Reigns:

And I also felt like it brought me back because a lot of this took place around 1987, 88, and the early nineties before she converted. And I saw the people protesting on the pro-life side, and I found it, in many ways, distasteful, and I thought, that’s not how you win hearts and minds.

Ron Reigns:

You win hearts and minds by having an honest conversation with somebody and trying to see where they’re coming from and why. And then somewhere, you’ve got to discuss as opposed to just yelling at somebody, “You’re a baby killer.” I don’t think that’s going to help anybody. That reinforces your echo chamber where you’re saying, “Oh, they’re all baby killers,” but it’s not changing anybody else’s mind.

Ron Reigns:

That’s my opinion of this. That’s a lot of my takeaway. And it made me think of when I was that young and went through my experience; maybe that was a little of me going; I don’t want to associate with that side. And so, I didn’t push back as hard as I should. Does that make sense?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah, it does. And what you said is very interesting because one thing that I was sharing with my daughter as she and I were watching this was when they were showing when they were protesting, like you said, in the very early nineties, and they had the big boards up of the abortion pictures.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I remember I went to ASU and saw those protestors at ASU. They were at ASU. Nobody was getting an abortion at ASU, but they were doing their protests and so forth.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And I remember thinking, yeah, I remember that. I remember those boards. I remember seeing those. And what you described in terms of talking to somebody and investing in them emotionally and mentally is what Flip did when he got her to convert.

Ron Reigns:

Right. Yeah, when he approached her on that bench, he wasn’t yelling at her. They had an honest conversation.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And all the other times, he would do these drastic measures that weren’t working. But you’re right. The one time he said, “Hey, let’s talk,” and sat down and gave her time and attention, that worked.

Ron Reigns:

And I hope in some weird way, what we’re doing with this podcast is having a conversation, not yelling at people or judging for past decisions or their choices, but saying, “Hey, here’s a different perspective. Take a look, and I’ll take a look at yours.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. I think my final comment on this documentary is a question I’m expected to be asked: How will this affect the court’s decisions and the upcoming court cases regarding abortion today, and whether or not it will be overturned?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I don’t think it will be influential at all. I don’t think one person’s stance or viewpoint had very. She was a representative of the women who wanted an abortion. It was not solely just her. She was just the front man. And so, I don’t think that her life story or her opinion will significantly weigh into the court’s decision in 2020.

Ron Reigns:

I agree 100%. As I said, I think it was well done. It was exciting and kept me fascinated the whole way, but it didn’t change my mind. And I don’t think it’ll change anybody’s mind on either side.

Ron Reigns:

Just because one person on her deathbed confession says that this happened or so and so paid me to do this, and that’s the only reason I did it, in a way to me, that doesn’t matter at all. It only matters what right and wrong are before any of this occurs.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And hopefully, everyone listening will take away from our conversation just like the movie and take it for what it’s or the documentary, take it for what it’s worth and do your research. And that’s one of the reasons I started the You Before Me campaign. I wanted to give an outlet where people could go and learn more about what it is and what it isn’t and go from there and make their own decisions.

Ron Reigns:

Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. Building Arizona Families is a local Arizona adoption agency if you’re listening and dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and want more information about adoption. It is available 24/7 by phone or text at 623-695-4112. That’s 623-695-4112.

Ron Reigns:

We can make an immediate appointment with you to start creating an Arizona adoption plan or just get you more information.

Ron Reigns:

You can also find more information about Building Arizona Families at AZpregnancyhelp.com.

Ron Reigns:

Thanks
To Grapes for allowing us to use their song, I Don’t Know, as our theme song. Birth Mother Matters in Adoption was written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me.

Ron Reigns:

Please rate and review this podcast wherever you’re listening to us. We’d appreciate it.

Ron Reigns:

We also now have a website at birthmothermatterspodcast.com. Tune in next time on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry; I’m Ron Reigns.

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In this podcast, we talk about the founders of the pro-choice movement. They talk about the decisions these women made regarding pro-choice.

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