As many of you are doubtless already aware, the "Roe" in Roe v. Wade, Norma McCorvey, converted to Christianity in the mid-1990s and became a pro-life activist, repentant of her role in the lawsuit that 40 years ago today legalized abortion.
So you'd think that any interview with McCorvey's attorney before the Court, Sarah Weddington, would include at least one question about McCorvey's change of heart. But alas, that wasn't in the cards with TIME magazine's Valerie Lipinski in her January 22 interview with Weddington. Indeed, the entire affair was a succession of softball question after softball question, concluding with a query about whether Weddington ever goes back to listen to audio recordings of her arguments before the Supreme Court (emphasis mine):
To be fair, this interview is something of a follow-up to one TIME magazine's Jessica Reaves conducted in 2003, and in that one, there was a query about Norma McCorvey's conversion. That said, the 2003 interview was equally deferential, failing to press Weddington with any tough questions:
Criticism of Roe v. Wade need not be from the right, by the way. As Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner noted a few years back, there are liberal constitutional scholars like Laurence Tribe who believe that the fundamental reasoning underpinning Roe is garbage:
Laurence Tribe — Harvard Law School. Lawyer for Al Gore in 2000.
“One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found.”
“The Supreme Court, 1972 Term—Foreword: Toward a Model of Roles in the Due Process of Life and Law,” 87 Harvard Law Review 1, 7 (1973).
Ruth Bader Ginsburg — Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
“Roe, I believe, would have been more acceptable as a judicial decision if it had not gone beyond a ruling on the extreme statute before the court. … Heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.”
North Carolina Law Review, 1985
Edward Lazarus — Former clerk to Harry Blackmun.
“As a matter of constitutional interpretation and judicial method, Roe borders on the indefensible. I say this as someone utterly committed to the right to choose, as someone who believes such a right has grounding elsewhere in the Constitution instead of where Roe placed it, and as someone who loved Roe’s author like a grandfather.”
“What, exactly, is the problem with Roe? The problem, I believe, is that it has little connection to the Constitutional right it purportedly interpreted. A constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent - at least, it does not if those sources are fairly described and reasonably faithfully followed.”
“The Lingering Problems with Roe v. Wade, and Why the Recent Senate Hearings on Michael McConnell’s Nomination Only Underlined Them,” FindLaw Legal Commentary, Oct. 3, 2002
It's also telling that TIME magazine has had not updated readers on McCorvey's pro-life work in years, although the magazine in March 1995 noted how pro-life activists moved next door to an abortion clinic that McCorvey worked at at the time:
Strident anti-abortion warriorsOperation Rescueset up shop today in the same Dallas office building as the health clinic that employs the woman whose landmark 1973 court case legalized abortion in the U.S. Only an interior wall separates the neighbors. Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, told Reuters she is not exactly thrilled with her new neighbors, but the clinic has no intention of moving out: "We are here for the duration."Operation Rescue'snational director Flip Benham said: "It's a tremendous place. At the killing center, at the gates of Hell, is where the church of Jesus Christ needs to be.'' TIME senior writer Richard Lacayo added: "Now we'll see what happens when we've got Roe v. Rescue."
TIME's David Van Biema subsequently reported on McCorvey's conversion in August 1995, but there has been no follow-up interview in the magazine's pages since, according to a search of the Time.com website for "McCorvey."