‘The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if trying to move away from the probing invader,” Abby Johnson writes in her new book, Unplanned, written with Cindy Lambert.
Johnson was describing the first sonogram-guided abortion she ever participated in. It would be the final factor to cause her to walk away from Planned Parenthood. Her days there were already numbered when, as a clinic director, she had been given increased abortion goals. The ugly truth is, abortion is the most lucrative procedure Planned Parenthood provides, and they are a profit-making business.
Johnson talks with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about her journey from Planned Parenthood to pro-life activism.
Kathryn Jean Lopez: In practice, what is the mission of Planned Parenthood?
Abby Johnson: Planned Parenthood’s mission, on paper, is to give women quality and affordable health care and to protect women’s rights. In reality, their mission is to increase their abortion numbers and in turn increase their revenue.
Lopez: Does it hurt women more than it helps?
Johnson: Abortion, more than not, leaves women with an aftermath of grief, guilt, and emotional overload. In a lot of cases, this can last a lifetime.
Lopez: Not just women, either? From your story, I get the impression you very much see the Left’s throw-contraception-and-abortion-at-the-problem approach as very much hurting relationships among parents and children, men and women?
Johnson: Abortion does not just hurt women. Abortion hurts a family, and it has a domino effect of hurting those related and close to those families through the grief and reality of losing a child to abortion.
Lopez: What does that new super-sized Houston clinic represent to you?
Johnson: The new clinic in Houston represents not only where I was going with my life, working my way up to the top to run the largest abortion clinic in the Western Hemisphere; it also represents a place women go and are left confused because they do not hear the truth about abortion and their choices. They are in a sense abused by the medical procedures that are performed without quality medical instructions/information. It’s a tragic place.
Lopez: Do you believe it should be defunded? Why?
Johnson: Yes. Planned Parenthood is an organization that does not provide quality health care. Our tax money should go to organizations that provide comprehensive care to women, men, and children. There are better uses of our money. Planned Parenthood provides shabby, limited health care. Why would we want women to get some health care when they can go to a different clinic, other than Planned Parenthood, and receive total health care?
Lopez: How do you feel about Live Action’s investigatory stings in Planned Parenthood clinics? Are they familiar scenes to you? Are they troubling?
Johnson: They are very troubling and show the reality of what is being said and how women, men, and their families are being treated by Planned Parenthood — an organization that claims to care for women, but their actions reveal quite the opposite. I am in full support of Live Action’s mission.
Lopez: In your book, you refer to moments where Planned Parenthood, and your clinic in particular, at times felt “under siege.” I thought it interesting that a New York Times columnist recently used exactly that language in combating defunding efforts in Congress and Live Action’s work. What do you make of that?
Johnson: That is the type of language that the pro-choice community uses to instill fear in our society.
Lopez: One of the main defenses you hear from Planned Parenthood and its allies is that to cut off funding would harm low-income women who need basic medical care. “What about the mammograms?” was the rallying cry from a defender on The O’Reilly Factor recently. Is that a fair argument?
Johnson: It is an understandable concern. However, there are many other clinics and even free services out there, including crisis-pregnancy centers, that help women in a better, more affordable (frequently free), and more caring way. They take the time to sit down with these women and care much more for their wholistic needs, not just medical ones. Women need to be treated like this everywhere they go; unfortunately, Planned Parenthood is going to offer medical procedures such as abortions much faster than other services that are crucial and important to a women’s wellbeing. Crisis-pregnancy centers can care for a woman in some medical ways, emotional ways, and wholistic ways and are equipped to refer women to affordable and better quality clinics for services such as mammograms.