The Faustian Bargain

Reverend Rob Schenck

Episode 3

This week we have a very special episode of All Ears. Breaking from our usual format, we’re reacting in real time to the late night swearing in of the latest Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett. Abby’s guest this week is Reverend Robert Schenck, an evangelical minister and former prominent anti-abortion activist, who for decades was at the center of the conservative efforts to criminalize abortion and strike down Roe v. Wade. To his regret, those efforts came closer to fruition this week with the long-sought manipulation of the nation’s highest court to reflect an extreme conservative tilt. Describing himself now as a “menace” to vulnerable women during his years of activism, Rob has renounced his work as an anti-abortion crusader, admitting that he was part of a group that in 1995 paid Norma McCorvey (aka Jane Roe) to say that she had changed her mind to come out against abortion. For this All Ears, we air a previously unreleased interview from this past summer between Abby and Rob, where they discuss the origin of their unusual friendship five years ago, the process of setting aside political and religious differences, taking emotional risks to build trust, and how Abby’s experience of sharing her own abortion story shifted their friendship and played a part in Rob’s ideological reversal. Then Abby checks in with Rob by phone after Coney Barrett’s installation to the Supreme Court to react and reflect on the moment, and how they plan to move forward, both personally and politically, with hope and action.

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