Customer Reviews: Won by Love
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on January 21, 2003
This was a fascinating book. I remember when it first came out that Jane Roe had become a Christian and pro-life. I remember hearing some concern expressed that perhaps Norma McCorvey might be used by the pro-life movement. Then I read her book.
She talks about her story. Some don't realize that Norma McCorvey never had an abortion, and didn't think she would have gotten one had she been able to! She just made the ideal plantiff and was willing to participate in the lawsuit. She believed in the cause of abortion rights, and so, while she was used, she was willing to be used.
In the years that followed, she got involved in the abortion rights movement intimately. She participated in the movement actively and even worked in an abortion clinic. She met leaders in the movement, names that we would all recognize. When she told them who she was, she was personally treated with distain. The only one who was nice to her as a person was Gloria Allred.
In spite of that, they were willing to use her and her history when it suited them. On the stage in the rallies, she was a hero. When the rally was over, she was just Norma McCorvey, someone beneath them.
Who was it that brought her to faith in Christ? It seems impossible, but it was activists in Operation Rescue. They were nothing but kind to her. They reached out to her and accepted her even when she was unkind to them. The way they lived made a profound impression on her. She wanted what they had. She became a believer.
I think it was soon after her profession of faith that the media got ahold of the news. They asked her what she believed about abortion, and she said she still thought it should be legal in the first trimester. Did it anger those who led her to the Lord? No. They let her be herself and express what she believed, even if they disagreed. They privately discussed it with her and eventually persuaded her otherwise, but they never pressured her to be or do anything other than what she was.
She felt that the pro-life movement never used her, but the pro-abortion movement had. That is really something, I think.
Her change of heart was a gradual one, and for a period of time, she worked in the abortion clinic while personally questioning the morality of abortion. She was a receptionist, and answered calls from prospective clients. I remember her retelling of a few calls and interactions during that time. She directed a girl who was troubled about what she was about to do to leave, reschedule, and meet first with the Operation Rescue people! Another caller, when scheduling her abortion, asked, "It's not a baby, yet, right?"
To which Norma answered, "Yes, it is. What did you think it was, a fish?"
I was actually sorry when she left that job. She may not have been doing the abortion clinic any favors, but she did make a positive difference for some women uncertain of their choice.
I thought the book was a page turner, and an amazing story. Had it been told by anyone else, I'd have been inclined to question the veracity of the story. It is almost too incredible to be believed, but it IS Norma's story. I certainly recommend this book.
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on July 6, 1998
I have talked to pro-choice women who condemn this book sight unseen. Their hypocrisy is amusing, since only a few years ago, when "Miss Norma" revealed herself to be the "Roe" of "Roe vs. Wade," they couldn't get enough of her "charming simplicity" and "homespun sincerity." They even got Holly Hunt to play her in a movie! But now that "Miss Norma" has had a change of mind and heart, she is persona non grata - that "homespun sincerity" is now patronizingly referred to as "childlike naivete" by some reviewers. Well, well. I suggest anyone, pro- or anti-abortion, will do well to read this book and see what "Jane Roe" really went through. Even if you disagree with her, you gotta respect her. She's REAL.
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on July 10, 2002
While rabid abortion-rights activists will be reluctant to look beyond the surface of Norma McCorvey's transformation, open-minded readers of all ideological leanings will be moved by this story of a human being's redemption. Political considerations do not diminish the literary strength behind this moving tale of a badly lost soul who finally found her way home. One would have to be blindly biased not to celebrate her emotional repristination. Life as Jane Roe was empty and painful; life as Norma McCorvey is now full and joyous.
Norma came from the wrong side of the tracks, and while she was not a completely unwilling pawn in the judicial maneuverings that lead to the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, she was never embraced by the powers-that-be behind the cause she unwittingly came to embody. Throughout the book she demonstrates that the Ivy League feminists had little use for a blue-collar, drinking, drug-abusing, poorly-spoken, foul-mouthed, high school dropout carnival barker. She even learned of the Supreme Court's decision by catching it in a newspaper write-up. So encompassing was feminist illuminati's eschewing of her, that she was not invited to most major pro-abortion marches, or even to the 20th anniversary White House commemoration with Feminist-in-Chief Hillary Clinton. On the rare occasions when her paths did cross with the ilk of Gloria Steinhem/Kate Michelman/Molly Yard et al., the meetings were usually openly confrontational. One exception was the iconoclastic feminist Gloria Allred. Ms. Allred's brave call for President Clinton to resign on account of his criminal actions--even though she staunchly supported his agenda--brought her scorn from the left (CNN all but barred for life) and praise from scores of her normal nemeses on the right, and she should earn considerably more anomalous approbation/opprobrium by revelations contained here. Norma describes Ms. Allred as the one feminist who always treated her respectfully and unhesitantly acknowledges that today her regard for this political opponent remains high. Among Ms. Allred's credits were her efforts to prevent Norma from drinking before she would appear on television and her discouragement of the insecure woman's narcotic indulgences.
Unquestionably the plot's most fantastic twist occurs after Operation Rescue--the civil disobedience prolife group--moved in next door to the abortion clinic where Norma was working. Despite opposite goals, Norma amazingly formed friendships with several Rescue staff members and one in particular who grew so trusting of the infamous foe that she actually let her eight year old daughter play under Jane Rose's tutelage inside the clinic. Were this book a work of fiction, most readers would slam it down in disgust at the farfetched contrivance in that chapter, but as the cliche goes, "truth is stranger..."
Obviously Norma's story would be inchoate without a portion devoted to the horrors of the abortion trade, and from her days as an insider she possesses an armamentarium that far surpasses most right-to-life advocates. She makes little effort to conceal her disdain for her clinic's smarmy, avaricious abortionist--whom she never identifies beyond "Arnie," and reveals an industry secret "that a disproportionate number of abortion doctors are actually from other countries--foreigners who perceive that our lax abortion laws create a tremendous moneymaking opportunity." Her contempt for this physician who was always barefoot in the office seems appropriate when she discusses how as his wife battled breast cancer, he moved a mistress into their home. While he is the only abortionist profiled in the book, Norma's implications are clear. Referring to the reality of the work in an abortion clinic, Norma admits that on-the-job cocaine usage was commonplace among most workers (and honestly admits to frequent abuse of the drug herself) "drugs became a major tool to keep the peace; drugs got us through the day." Even abortion proponents should be outraged when she explains political pressure has resulted in a situation where "veterinary clinics have stricter regulations than abortion clinics."
One of the book's most poignant moments has to be Norma's revelation of her change of heart to her loving--if dysfunctional--father on his deathbed. The man who had begged her not to abort any of her children (and as she relates he had implored his wife to allow Norma to live decades earlier), was too weak to talk but smiled brightly and gestured affirmatively when she held up a Christian, pro-life shirt.
One powerful vignette concerns a post-conversion encounter with a stranger. The young mother allowed Norma to hold her baby. After returning the child Norma remarked how beautiful the child was eliciting a smile and thanks from the mother. Contrasting this subtly joyous experience with her previous vocation, she keenly states, "it dawned on me that I've never had a woman get up to leave an abortion clinic and say 'thank you' before she walked out the door."
In a mordant aside at media bias, Norma mentions that after her tergiversation many interviewers asked about her long time lesbian relationship. (She has long since renounced that lifestyle as did her former partner.) Tellingly, she says that the subject of lesbianism never came up during her decades of interviews as an abortion-rights supporter.
While the subject of abortion has become a polemic that many run from rather than discuss, it is always beneficial to have a reasonable ratiocination of both perspectives to any divisive topic. It is equally helpful to explore the inner psyche of those tirelessly involved on either side. "Won by Love" is that rare effort that successfully presents an intimate look at both sides of the dichotomy.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 11, 2013
Norma Leah McCorvey (born 1947), under the legal pseudonym "Jane Roe", was the plaintiff in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that made abortion legal in this country. Her earlier book, I Am Roe: My Life, Roe V. Wade, and Freedom of Choice, explains her original decision to reveal her identity.

She notes early in this 1997 book, "a doctor approached me about opening up the 'Jane Roe Women's Center.' He said he would bankroll the entire operation, hoping to make the JRWC the political arm of the abortion movement---sort of 'finishing what I had started,' as he put it...'Sure!' I said, and that's how I ended up working for my first abortion clinic. For the next several years, abortion would be my life." (Pg. 41-42)

She recalls, "I was surprised at the animosity among all the [abortion/feminist] leaders... the proabortion crowd resented the fact that Norma McCorvey was historically tied to legalized abortion. This growing resentment just sat inside my gut and made me bitter. I drank. I smoked. I cussed people out. But that never beat the bitterness, it just fed it." (Pg. 44-45)

As Operation Rescue staged protests outside the abortion clinic she worked at, she recounts, "The war that went on in front of our clinic became a war of love and hatred. I threw out every expletive I could imagine, and the Rescue people threw back affirmations. They never backed down from calling what I was doing sin, but while they showed a rock-hard opposition to everything I stood for, at the same time they displayed an incredible openness to reach out to me as a person." (Pg. 77) She added, "we had been left to cope with Operation Rescue alone. Nobody from NOW, the Choice Foundation, or the gay and lesbian community had come to help us. Dallas has a local chapter of just about every liberal-leaning organization known to mankind, but we were left to fend for ourselves." (Pg. 111)

About her sexual orientation, she states, "I had ended my lesbian relationship a couple of years earlier. In fact, the reason I had adopted the lesbian lifestyle was in large part because I had experienced so much trouble with men. It should be obvious to any straight-thinking person that most 'lesbians' don't experience three problem pregnancies, as I had. But the truth is, I finally got so frustrated with men that I thought, At least with women, I can't get pregnant." (Pg. 133)

But after her conversion (detailed on pages 159-161; in 1998 she became a Catholic, by the way), "As long as I was supporting the proabortion movement, what I did behind closed doors was my business. But now that I was a Christian, every single reporter was fixated on my relationship with Connie... let me be perfectly clear: I now believe homosexuality is a sin... [evangelical minister Flip Benham] made it very clear to me that he would not baptize someone who intended to live the homosexual lifestyle, and I have never looked back." (Pg. 187-188)

While Ms. McCorvey's change of heart/mind are infuriating to many persons, her story is definitely a fascinating one, that Christians of all kinds as well as other abortion opponents will love.
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on June 8, 2008
Norma is a gifted writer. Like her first book, this one is interesting and thought provoking. I didn't want to put it down once I got started.

However, I was disappointed at her portrayal of the abortion debate as a simple conflict between the "good guys" and the "bad guys." According to Norma, most everything ever said or done by the pro-choice camp is the result of malicious motives. The pro-lifers on the other hand are saints who, by definition, never do anything wrong.

Some of her criticisms of abortion providers seem legitmiate. She correctly notes that abortion is not subjected to the same regulations as other similar medical procedures. She accurately points out that pre-abortion counseling is often perfunctory and slanted in favor of abortion. Patients who go to clinics for counseling are not encouraged to consider other options.

On the other hand, Norma's claim that all pro-choice advocates are child-haters who want to live in a childless world populated only by adults is simply absurd. She also claims that the legalization of abortion is the cause of all the tragically "empty playgrounds." She makes this claim after observing an empty playground at a school which she acknowledges was closed for the summer. She makes it sound as if everyone stopped having kids when Roe v. Wade was decided.

According to Norma, most, if not all, doctors who perform abortions do it out of pure greed and for no other reason. She refuses to recognize that many abortion providers and pro-choice advocates sincerely believe in the moral correctness of their actions.

I also question the accuracy of some of her claims. She reports one incident where a woman came in and had an abortion at 6 months gestation because she found out she was carrying a girl and she wanted a boy. I suppose it could happen but it sounds far fetched.

It is also clear from the book that Norma is often prone to volatile behavior and angry outbursts. She gleefully recounts one incidents when she stood next to a heating vent in the office of Operation Rescue. At the time, OR shared a wall with the clinic where Norma had been employed. She turned on a vacuum cleaner and shouted comments to the clinic doctor about "killing babies." This from the woman who claims she was "Won by Love" and that the pro-lifers always treat their opponents with nothing but love and kindness.

Norma correctly notes that she was often manipulated and treated badly by the movers and shakers of the pro-choice movement. I'm not saying they drove her to the other side, but it is obvious that Norma was desperate for compassion and community. When she started hanging out with the folks from Operation Rescue she was seeking friendship and love.

I keep wondering if there isn't some reasonable middle ground concerning abortion. Most of the folks on both sides are good hearted, sincere individuals who truly want to do the right thing and make the world a better place. I wish we could find some kind of compromise where abortion would be truly safe, legal, and rare. Where unwed mothers could get the help and support to make adoption a more viable option and where 2nd and 3rd trimester abotions would be unheard of except in cases of true medical necessity. This book won't do anything to advance such a compromise. But if you are troubled by the issues and want to explore different viewpoints, I recommend this book.

I also feel compelled to point out that Christian is not synonamous with pro-life and pro-choice is not synonamous with anti-Christian. Pleanty of Christians are pro-choice and some non-Christians are pro-life.
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on November 12, 2012
The story of Norma's conversion is what happens when love wins out. Christians who love life are not the three-headed monsters or haters that the liberal media portrays. As with most people who hate Christians and God because of the media, exposure to those who actually walk the talk result in acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior. Jesus is still the answer to the sin problems of today, but the liberal media will continue to paint a picture to the masses that only the god of self-convenience or self-exaltation is the answer. In this story Norma finds the truth and the truth sets her free from death and the guilt of murdering innocent babies. I encourage pro-choice women and those considering abortion to read both books to follow Norma's journey to wholeness.
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on February 17, 1999
I was intrigued, angered, touched, and mystified by the experiences Norma went through to get to the spiritual life she now enjoys. She was painstakingly honest, despite the lies she felt she had to tell as a young lady to help get Roe passed. My heart goes out to her. She is a champion, a fighter, a human being. She is you, she is me. Her scars are healing, yet her memories will never leave-- being caught up in a difficult ethical issue which tested her at every turn. You will never forget what you read in this book, it pierces you that deep! It takes an objective reader with an open mind and heart to appreciate what she went through on both sides of the abortion controversy.
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on August 24, 2000
Norma McCorvey, the "Roe" in Roe v. Wade, tells the story of her conversion from a pro-choice activist and abortion clinic worker to a pro-life Christian. Norma, bless her heart, is an emotionally unstable alcoholic, desperate for acceptance, and even now I would not go so far as to believe everything she says - read it, you'll see what I mean. But her story is very moving nonetheless.
Norma starts by describing her experiences working with the pro-choice movement. Her upper class, Ivy-League-educated counterparts - Kate Michelman, Sarah Weddington, etc. - consider Norma an embarrassment, and treat her poorly even while using her name to further their political agenda. Norma is understandably hurt by the innumerable snubs and sneers she has suffered at the hands of her pro-choice "sisters". The one exception is Gloria Allred, who treated her with kindness, and of whom Norma speaks almost worshipfully. Norma then goes on to describe her daily life working at an abortion clinic, with the pro-life Operation Rescue right next door. She strikes up a friendship with several of the OR volunteers and they gradually win her over with their kindness. Unlike the pro-choicers, whose only interest in her was political, her pro-life Christian friends care about her as a person. To illustrate, pro-abortion activist Sarah Weddington admitted in a television interview: "I don't care about Norma McCorvey. I care about Jane Roe. Norma McCorvey was just a name on a class-action lawsuit." Talk about dehumanizing. Norma's crossover was motivated not so much by intellectual reasoning as by a desire to be around nice people who are kind to her, and value her for the human being she is, not what she can do for them. Is that a valid motivation? It sure is.
Whatever her past or present shortcomings, Norma McCorvey's conversion is obviously sincere, and she has a good heart. Regardless of your views on the subject of abortion, you can't help but wish her well on her journey. Godspeed, Norma McCorvey!
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on June 4, 2015
Very well written, informative and reinforces the fact that the news media does have a way of taking things out of context and interpreting things their way. I have nothing but admiration for Norma Mccorvey. She has spunk!!! To love is to forgive and to forgive is to love.
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on January 16, 2015
Won By Love is an incredible true story of Norma McCorvey. She was the woman who was used by her ambitious lawyer to have the U.S. Supreme Court legalize abortion in 1973. This is her story. And--boy ole boy--what a phenomenal and moving story! Prior to reading this book, I was raised to believe abortion was wrong. However, I believed women should have a choice. But this book helped me realize and understand that the abortion industry--contrary to popular belief--isn't about women's rights: it's ALL about the MONEY! The abortion industry is nothing more than a blood thirsty machine destroying the lives of innocent unborn babies. I would highly recommend this book to all people that want to know the truth about the abortion industry in America. You will be blown away!
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