Norma McCorvey could outcuss the crassest men; she could outdrink many of the Dallas taverns' regulars; and she was known for her hot temper. When pro-lifers called her a murderer, she called them worse. When people held up signs of aborted fetuses, Norma spit in their faces.

She had a reputation to protect, after all. As the plaintiff in the infamous Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, Norma's life was inextricably tied up with abortion. Though she had never had one, abortion was the sun around which Norma's life orbited. She once told a reporter, "This issue is the only thing I live for. I live, eat, breathe, think everything about abortion."

Then the fiery pro-life group Operation Rescue moved in next door.

An Unlikely Friendship

Operation Rescue has had a tumultuous history. Founded by Randall Terry, OR made international headlines in the late eighties by staging "sit-ins" at abortion clinics across the country. Almost immediately, the pro-life movement was split between those who supported OR and those who thought they were doing more harm than good. A few people stood in the middle, but not many.

Terry stepped down from OR in 1990, and his successor, Keith Tucci, followed suit a few years later. Flip Benham became director in 1994. By this time, federal legislation and extreme penalties for a first-time offense made the well-attended rescues largely a thing of the past. OR's influence was clearly on the wane, but their move next door to Norma's abortion clinic, A Choice for Women, would change that overnight.

Norma called Flip Benham, the brash and bold OR leader, Flip "Venom." Flip called Norma "responsible for the deaths of 35 million children." They were supposed ...

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