Tabloid The National Enquirer managed to find out her identity through birth certificates. The researchers told her the news during a dinner with her adoptive mother. Weeping and trembling, Thornton heard the news.

In the interview with The Atlantic, Thornton now says shocked that the magazine immediately wanted to pull her into the abortion debate as an 18-year-old. “They kept asking which side I was on,” she recalls. “I just wanted to hang out with my friends, hang out with nice guys and shop.”

No media circus

Thornton rejected a reunion with McCorvey: the magazine would have turned it into a media circus. She also did not want her name to be used in the article. “I will never force myself on her,” McCorvey told the magazine. “I’ll wait until she’s ready, even if it takes years.”

In 1994, McCorvey himself contacted Thornton by phone. She wanted to come over. The call ended in an altercation in which McCorvey snapped at her that Thornton should be a little more grateful that she had given birth to her.

“What?! I have to thank you for getting pregnant and then giving me away?” replied the bewildered Thornton before hanging up angrily. After that, Thornton says, she kept her secret “tucked away in a locker, locked and chained.”

Unwanted pregnancy

She herself had also had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. A few months before her wedding, she found out she was pregnant. She considered an abortion, but ultimately chose to bring the wedding forward.

“Abortion didn’t suit me,” she explains her decision at the time. But she doesn’t want to be drawn into the debate yet. She doesn’t want to call herself pro-life or pro-choice, though she adds that “I don’t understand why the government is meddling.”

McCorvey would never meet them again. Even when she heard that her birth mother was dying, she couldn’t bring herself to visit her. She does have pleasant contact with her two half-sisters.

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