A former Planned Parenthood clinic director named Abby Johnson, since she left, has been inviting those who work in the abortion industry to join her. She has discussed on NRO here and here. And this is from an interview I did with her when her book, Unplanned, came out in 2011:
Lopez: You write “we have more in common with the ‘other’ side than we might imagine.” What would you stress here, and how can there be some common cause, politically and otherwise?
Johnson: The common goal of both the pro-choice and pro-life movements is to help women in crisis. Both have employees and volunteers who desire to help women, men, and their families and provide the best care for them in their time of need. The difference is the ways that they provide care for these women, men, and families.
Lopez: You go on to write that there is “goodness, compassion, generosity, and self-sacrifice on the other side.” But there are irreconcilable differences, aren’t there?
Johnson: The difference is that the abortion industry desires to help women in their time of need and crisis by providing not only reproductive health care, but abortion services if a woman is not ready, or not in a position financially or emotionally, or not stable enough to bring a child into her life. The pro-life movement has the same desire to help women in their time of need and crisis but looks beyond the immediate needs of the woman and considers the life of the child and the woman’s family as well. The abortion industry provides a “quick fix” and focuses more on the immediate effects of the crisis, while the pro-life movement focuses on the long-term effects of the woman’s choice and the reality of what is best for the woman, rather than providing an “out.”
Lopez: Your “Never trust a decision you don’t want your mother to know about” jumped out at me because it seemed opposite to the Planned Parenthood message. So much of the line from advocates of Planned Parenthood and legal abortion seems to be “no one needs to know.” Is it?
Johnson: Planned Parenthood advocated for the woman’s right regardless of the family’s wants or opinions. Planned Parenthood advocated for the “my body, my choice” motto. I believed in this while I worked at Planned Parenthood, but now, realizing the effect my two abortions had on my family (my parents now knowing that they would have had two more grandchildren if I had not made the choice to abort), I advocate not only for women but for their families, including the life that is inside of them during a crisis-pregnancy situation. While I understand that making an abortion decision is sometimes embarrassing, shameful, and very difficult to follow through with, and that this makes it hard to reveal this decision to the people who would be affected by that decision, it is usually harder to live with the already-made decision to abort that cannot be reversed. If a decision is being made that needs to be kept a secret, oftentimes, that may not be the best decision in the long run. This has been voiced as the truth by thousands, if not more, of post-abortive women, including myself.
Lopez: You describe yourself as having had “regret, pain, brokenness, shame, and even blood on my hands.” How much of that is the story of every woman who walks into a Planned Parenthood clinic?
Johnson: I have heard countless testimonies of post-abortive women, including women who had abortions at Planned Parenthood, who feel the same “regret, pain, brokenness, and shame.” I have also heard many testimonies of former abortion-clinic workers and providers who feel as though their hands were involved in hundreds and thousands of abortions; they feel the same, as if they have “blood on their hands” due to their actions while involved in this industry that took the lives of so many innocent children and lied to women about the truth of their pregnancies and the children in their womb. The good news is that there is complete healing for post-abortive women, their families, and people involved in the abortion industry through the sacrifice that Christ paid on the cross to bear the burden of our sins and to take our punishment away. That healing is offered even to those who have received abortion services and offered them in their health-care practice. While these feelings may always stick with those of us who have been involved, the healing is there and will take away our burden because we have a God who carries those burdens for us, if we will let Him.
Lopez: If a pro-lifer takes only one lesson from you and your book, what do you hope it is?
Johnson: The reality of our world today regarding life and abortion is that life is not received or given as a gift. However, life is the most precious, sacred gift we have been given. If a pro-lifer read my book and understood the preciousness of life, the importance and impact that prayer can have on one person entering into a clinic, and the healing that is available for those who have been involved in abortion services, then they got the most out of my book. When I left Planned Parenthood, my intentions were not to write a book or to be a part of the pro-life movement, but God had bigger and better plans for my life. My message is one of hope, healing, love, and redemption, and I would hope that they would feel that when reading my book, enough to become involved in the peaceful and prayerful vigil that got me out of the abortion industry — because it is worth it and it will change hearts and lives.
Lopez: How about a pro-choicer? A Planned Parenthood clinic worker?
Johnson: My hope for a pro-choicer and a clinic worker who reads my book is that they can relate. I know that each and every one has been in my shoes in one way or another. My story is proof that they can get out of the abortion industry and can help women in a bigger and better way than they are through being a pro-choice advocate or working in the abortion industry. The reality of abortion is written on every single page of my book and my testimony, I hope that they will seek out that reality themselves and know that they too can help women in a more long-term way through reproductive services, medical services, emotional services, and a more wholistic way in the pro-life movement. Life is too precious, to be thrown away or to be taken for granted. My hope is that they will see this truth, seek this truth, and apply this truth to their everyday lives.