In 1973, Norma McCorvey, under the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” changed history. She was the plaintiff in the case Roe v. Wade, which went to the Supreme Court, and set the precedent that a woman’s right to have an abortion is constitutionally protected. But, later in her life, McCorvey completely changed her mind, became vehemently pro-life, publicly regretted being a part of the case, and even tried to advocate for the Supreme Court to overturn it before her death in 2017. What were her life circumstances that led to this radical about-face? The upcoming documentary AKA Jane Roe aims to tell her story and more — and it serves as FX’s first ever documentary film.
The documentary, directed by British filmmaker Nick Sweeney, features unprecedented access to McCorvey, who lived much of her life in anonymity vis-a-vis the landmark case. She tells her story to Sweeney directly — the film was shot in 2017, the last year of her life, and she calls the film her “deathbed confession.” It’s produced by Sweeney, Kerstin Emhoff (XOXO), and Chiemi Karasawa (Amazing Grace). This film marks FX’s continued interest in nonfiction programming. They’re currently airing The Weekly, a docuseries produced with the New York Times, and other nonfiction programming coming to the network includes The Most Dangerous Animal of All, Outlaw: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur, A Wilderness of Error, Pride, Hip Hop Untold, and Women in Comedy.
The film, and McCorvey’s journey, will undoubtedly rankle feathers, spark debate, and provoke lots of emotion — perhaps even in the ethics of profiling someone who became so against women’s rights to choose. If you’re interested in experiencing it for yourself, AKA Jane Roe comes to FX on May 22, and moves to Hulu the following day.