How Abby Johnson Went from Planned Parenthood Director to Pro-Life Champion
Abby Johnson grew up in a loving, Christian home in a small town in Texas. Those in her family and church were staunchly pro-life and even though Abby said she was as well, it wasn't something she thought about very often. She said the emphasis was always put on abstinence and she figured as long as she stayed abstinent, she would never have to think about having an abortion.
Years later in college, Abby did get pregnant (even though she was using contraceptives) not once but twice and both times she aborted her babies. How could this happen? How could someone who grew up in a pro-life family and church and one who professed at one time to be pro-life end up having two abortions?
Sucked in By Planned Parenthood
When Abby was a junior in college, a hot pink booth at a volunteer fair caught her attention. Being from a small town, she didn't know anything about Planned Parenthood or abortion clinics. When Abby told the lady behind the Planned Parenthood booth she was pro-life, she was told that Planned Parenthood was there to save lives, not to take them and that if abortion was illegal, thousands of women would die from back-alley abortions. She also told Abby that they helped women and young girls by offering pregnancy exams for free.
Abby was hooked and although she agreed to begin volunteer work at Planned Parenthood, she did not tell anyone in her family. Years later she knew to "never trust a decision you don't want your mother to know about."
By being involved in Planned Parenthood, she felt that she was taking a role in the women's reproductive movement which helped her justify having two abortions.
Her first pregnancy happened in the year 2000. She said she didn't know what else to do and after having the surgical abortion, she told herself that it was just a normal medical procedure. She tried to put it as far back in her mind as she could. As a result, she didn't talk to anyone and told herself it would never happen again..
In 2003, she got pregnant again which affected her greatly. She felt like a complete failure. This time, she used the abortion drug RU486. She said it was the worst experience of her life as she suffered physically for eight weeks with hemorrhaging and other complications.
The Goal to Reduce Abortions
In 2005, Abby became a paid employee of Planned Parenthood in Bryan/College Station, Texas and some things began to not make sense to her. She knew that many of the women who came in to have abortions had been using contraception. This made her wonder about Planned Parenthood's goal to expand contraception because it didn't seem to be reducing the number of abortions.
Also, even though Planned Parenthood claimed they wanted to reduce the number of abortions, they told their employees they needed to increase their monthly quota of clients seeking surgical abortions. They were also to offer the drug, RU486 several times a week to increase medical abortions.
While in management, Abby learned that their family planning budget was in the hole but the abortion budget was always in the black. They were never concerend about the family planning budget because they knew they could always fall back on their abortion budget. When Abby found out they could not give out free exams, she questioned it because she thought they were a nonprofit oraganization. In response, they told her nonprofit was just a tax status.
Abby also learned that it was Planned Paretnhood's goal to turn all of the Planned Parenthood clinics that did not offer abortions into abortion-providing clincs.
Abby said the more she learned about Planned Parenthood, all of her initial thoughts about the organization were slowly going out the door.
One Fall Day
One fall day in 2009, Abby, who was now the director of the Planned Parenthood clinic and 2008's "employee of the year," was asked to assist for the first time ever in an abortion. The procedure was to be guided by ultrasound, which is rarely done. All she had to do was hold the probe over the woman's stomach. She saw the the 13-week old baby on the screen and she had a sudden flashback of when she saw her own daughter's picture on ultrasound at 12 weeks.
Abby said she felt very uneasy and had to talk herself into all the things she believed about abortion and about its necessity. As the abortion began to take place, she saw the tiny baby in the womb try to move away and recoil from the instrument that was trying to take its life. Then, when everything was in place and there was no escape for the tiny being, the suction was turned on and moments later the screen went black. She knew in an instant her life was about to change.
Just days after assisting with the abortion, Abby resigned from Planned Parenthood. Two weeks later, they tried to lure her back by offering her more money but she knew she could never go back. Instead of just disappearing from the radar, however, Abby went to the office of Coalition for Life, a pro-life organization that had often sent people to pray in front of her clinic during their 40 Days for Life campaigns. In fact, Abby's clinic was the first Planned Parenthood clinic that a 40 Days of Life campaign was held in 2004.
A total of six 40 Days for Life campaigns were conducted outside Abby's workplace before she experienced her profound conversion during the Fall 2009 campaign.
When Planned Parenthood realized Abby had changed sides, they immediately tried to put a restraining order on her so she couldn't talk to anyone about her experience at Planned Parenthood. Abby said it was strange to her that for an organization who said they were all about people making choices, they did not respect her choice to become pro-life.
Planned Parenthood was miraculously defeated in the lawsuit which made it possible for Abby Johnson to tell her story, which can be found in her book, Unplanned.
Source: My source for the information contained in this article comes from a live telecast that was held on January 10, 2011 to help promote Abby's book, Unplanned.