‘It was a Game’: ‘Roe’ Baby Says She Will Never Forgive Her Biological Mother for Trying to Use Her for Attention

Supreme Court with a cherry blossom in the foreground
by Mary Margaret Olohan


Pro-abortion activists used Norma McCorvey, her troubled past and her unborn baby to send Roe v. Wade all the way to the Supreme Court. That former baby, who was born before the Supreme Court’s final decision, sat down with ABC News in an exclusive interview that will air live Monday evening.

Shelley Lynn Thornton told ABC that she has never forgiven McCorvey and that she never will. The “Roe baby” said that her mother, who passed away in 2017, should have been more “upfront” about wanting to meet Thornton for media attention.

“I can deal with that,” Thornton said. “I can’t deal with lies and treachery and things like that. To me, that’s like no, sorry, not playing that game with you. And that’s all it was. It was a game. It was a game. I was just a pawn, and I wasn’t going to let her do it.”

Thornton never agreed to meet her biological mother in person, and she has “no” regrets about that decision. This lack of regret survives in part because of McCorvey’s comments to the press about sometimes feeling guilty for placing Thornton up for adoption and sometimes wishing she had aborted Thornton.

“It became apparent to me really quickly that the only reason why she wanted to reach out to me and find me was because she wanted to use me for publicity,” Thornton said.

“She didn’t deserve to meet me,”  the “Roe baby” added. “She never did anything in her life to get that privilege back. She never expressed genuine feeling for me or genuine remorse for doing the things that she did, saying the things that she did over and over and over again. She wasn’t sorry, about giving me away or anything.”

Thornton spoke with author Joshua Prager for the journalist’s “The Family Roe: An American Story,” publishedSeptember 14. The book describes Thornton’s adoption, how she came to meet her biological mother through the work of several curious journalists, how she was anonymously written about in tabloids under the name “the Roe baby” for years, how she unwittingly became a symbol for the pro-life movement and more.

Thornton personally shrank away from arguments over abortion, Prager wrote, but when she was faced with the possibility to abort her own child, she chose not to, saying that abortion was “not part of who I was.”

In her interview with ABC, Thornton discussed how National Enquirer reporters arranged a meeting with her and her adopted mother, Ruth, where they sprung on her that she was Norma McCorvey’s daughter and the baby at the heart of Roe v. Wade. The reporters then asked her if she was “pro-choice or pro-life.” Thornton said was shocked and fled the meeting.

“My whole thinking is that, ‘Oh God, everybody’s going to hate me because everyone’s going to blame me for abortion being legal.’ You know, it’s like ‘it’s all my fault,’ is pretty much what I was thinking,” Thornton said. “And that’s really hard to grasp when you’re in that kind of a situation and you’re just kind of like learning all of this stuff.”

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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.






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