"I know there are many people here tonight
sitting in on this webcast from Planned Parenthood, and I want you to know, I
was one of you, I sat in on these calls, too."

Abby Johnson was
speaking to over 21,000 people across the nation and beyond, on a webcast
widely promoted and globally available. It was the eve of the launch of her
book UnPlanned and anticipation was
intense. It’s the fascinating story of her journey from gullible college
student raised in a pro-life Christian home to her recruitment into the
abortion industry to the day her work there changed her life forever. The book
was never intended to be an expose of Planned Parenthood. But her tale runs
straight through it.


The abortion industry
relies on controlling the message. It has from the beginning of legalized
abortion in America. Over the decades, it has had few high-profile defections
to blow the cover. One of the original founders of NARAL Pro-Choice
, the group largely responsible for the passage of Roe v. Wade, eventually converted and
took this confession to
YouTube: “We made it all up. One of our strategies to export abortion across
the land was to deny what we knew to be true, that abortion kills an existing
human being.” They also made up numbers and distorted facts to sway judges, he
said. Dr Bernard
, a powerful witness to the inside story behind the success of abortion activism,
witnessed the powerful truth of what abortion is when he saw it on ultrasound.

In September 2009,
that’s exactly what turned Abby Johnson’s life around, in about ten minutes. On
an otherwise normal day at work as the director of a Texas Planned Parenthood
abortion clinic, Johnson was startled to be called into one of the rooms to assist
in an ultrasound abortion.

She never assisted,
and they never did ultrasounds. “I felt a moment’s reluctance outside the room.
I never liked entering this room during an abortion procedure.”

That denial, both visceral and calculated, is central to the story of abortion in
America in general, and Planned Parenthood’s role in particular.

Johnson was raised
pro-life, but “if you’d put me up to a debate, I would’ve lost, because it’s
something we didn’t discuss a lot.” When facts are fuzzy, they are easily
manipulated. Johnson was recruited on her college campus by a nice woman in a
hot pink booth” convincing her that “Planned Parenthood’s goal is to make
abortion rare, except for women in dire need.” Johnson was finessed on the spot
by the slick marketing job. “Her compassion really captured me..We both cared
about people… I really wanted to help hurting people. I was glad I’d met this

Through her eight
years with Planned Parenthood, after two abortions of her own, Johnson
counseled women about contraception and the ultimate choice of abortion. But
she lived in a numbed denial, and never knew the facts about conception,
pregnancy and what its termination meant. Until ‘The Ultrasound,’ the account
that constitutes the very brief but breathtaking first chapter of her book. She
wanted to “help hurting women,” but she recoiled from the procedure room,
telling herself “I don’t want to be here.
I don’t want to take part in an abortion.” Her instincts were keenly alert
to realities she never learned but somehow knew
on a deeper level.

Her job in this
instance was to apply lubricant and manoeuvre the ultrasound probe over the
patient’s belly “to capture the image of the foetus.” In the countless
ultrasound images she’d seen, Johnson admits, “this time the image was
complete. I could see the entire, perfect profile of a baby.”

She wasn’t prepared. “Just like Grace at twelve weeks, I
thought, remembering my very first peek at my daughter, three weeks before,
snuggled securely inside my womb. The image now before me looked the same, only
clearer, sharper. The detail startled me. I could clearly see the profile of
the head, both arms, legs, and even tiny fingers and toes. Perfect.”

She was seized with anxiety.
“What am I about to see? My stomach
tightened. I don’t want to watch what is
about to happen.” What she saw was a suction tube as the abortionist
inserted it into the woman’s uterus and maneuvered it closer to the baby. “The foetus doesn’t feel pain. I had
reassured countless women of this as I’d been taught by Planned Parenthood. The foetal tissue feels nothing as it is

She watched the screen
with horror, as the baby instinctively recoiled from the invader. “This child
knew its life was in danger,” Johnson said. And what she describes next is
horrible, the abortion she witnessed in real time. “Before this, I never knew
the child in the womb felt pain or felt anything. I believed this in order to
justify abortion. I really felt betrayed.”

was in this woman’s womb just moments ago was alive,” she says in the book. “It wasn’t just tissue, just cells. That
was a human baby—fighting for life! A battle that was lost in the blink of an
eye. What I have told people for years, what I’ve believed and taught and
defended, is a lie.”


If so fundamental a
message as that is false, what else
does the abortion industry falsify in order to profit as a business and attract
new clients? It’s extremely rare to get this firsthand account from someone
inside Planned Parenthood. Telling it is important to Abby Johnson’s

Among its revelations
are several key clarifications. One recurring distortion is that contraception
prevents pregnancy and therefore, the need for abortion. Johnson was using
contraception both times she became pregnant and aborted. “When I started to
work for Planned Parenthood counselling women, they were almost all
contracepting,” she explained. “It didn’t make sense…”

But contraception is
small change. In management level meetings, Planned Parenthood revealed their
goal of increasing their number of surgical abortions with monthly quotas. They
also used a map targeting specific facilities using non-affiliated
abortionists, with the goal of “turning every one of them into a Planned
Parenthood provider.”

Another myth they use
is that the compassionate people are inside the clinic, while the people
outside are scary, judgmental, hostile and angry. The Planned Parenthood
recruiter told Abby “that some pretty aggressive anti-choice protesters came to
the clinic to use scare tactics to keep women from getting the help they
needed… and shame them.” Once she crossed the fence, she learned the truth
about “those people praying outside my window” who constantly offered help. “I
was a mess,” she writes. “I was a total disaster... I was completely broken,
and I needed somebody to fix me, and that’s what they started to do.”

Though Planned
Parenthood slapped her with a lawsuit and restraining order, Johnson was
fortified. “I was telling the truth,” she says. “They were trying to silence
me. Planned Parenthood says this is about the freedom to make choices. But this
was them not respecting my freedom of choice, my freedom to be pro-life… But
one of the reasons they did this was to make an example, and show other
employees that ‘this could be you, if you cross that fence, this could be you
defending yourself against us. They wanted to instil fear in their employees.
They do that often and they do it well.”

So her message at the
end of the webcast, as she was about to release UnPlanned and be released from
its implications, Johnson had this message:

“If you are pro-life, have a plan of action
when somebody like me comes to you and says ‘I want to get out of this
industry.’ When somebody like me walks into your office, you’d better be ready
to help them.

“For people who are pro-choice advocates or in
Planned Parenthood on this call, I want you to know that there is a peace and a
joy that you don’t even know…You’re probably embarrassed to say where you work.
You don’t have to be in that shameful environment anymore. It’s filled with
pain and grief, but on the other side of the fence, there’s compassion and

“I want you to critique this book and try to
criticize it, find something that is not true in it. I bet you’ll have a hard

Everyone will, in more
ways than one. But it’s a dis-ease we all need to confront.

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy Award
winning journalist. She blogs on American politics at SheilaReports. UnPlanned
is available at Ignatius.com.

Below: an interview with Abby Johnson about her book: 



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