Abby Johnson used to be a Planned Parenthood clinic director who, having had two abortions, deeply believed in the PP mission of providing abortions and health care to women at the clinical setting. Then she watched an abortion guided by ultrasound, and saw the fetus as it was destroyed. That moment changed her life and she eventually left PP to become pro life. (This also led to a powerful conversion to Catholicism, leading her to accept the Church’s position on contraception. )
Her story came to light when PP sued to obtain a gag order against her from speaking out about her clinic experiences. Big mistake, because that brought her to the attention of conservative media. At the time, she claimed that PP’s business model pushed the abortion option because it made big bucks.
She now has a book out called Unplanned. Kathryn Jean Lopez sympathetically interviewed Johnson over at NRO. It’s a long conversation, so I can only provide a few excerpts. From the interview:
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.
Sometimes it doesn’t. But sometimes it certainly does. Back to the interview, Johnson is not just out to slam PP:
Lopez: What would you say to a young woman who is where you once were? Simply at a volunteer fair, courted by Planned Parenthood? Who maybe has an abortion or two in a lock-box, memory- and emotion-wise?
Johnson: I would tell her that I know her intentions are good and she has dived into an organization that does help women in many ways. However, I would want her to know that she can help them in better ways. I would encourage her to take that leap of faith I did, and join me in helping women in a wholistic way, because that is not going to be offered in the abortion industry. No one grows up wanting to have an abortion. No one grows up wanting to work in the abortion industry. We never regret having children, but we do regret having abortions.
Johnson believes the ultrasound requirement can save lives:
Lopez: An ultrasound-guided abortion played a big role in your “conversion.” Could ultrasound mark the end of abortion in America?
Johnson: I believe that it’s a start. We have to take steps in that direction, and I believe that seeing an ultrasound before having an abortion procedure could and will change a lot of women’s minds, from my experience and the types of questions that women would ask during a counseling session regarding their procedure. Ultrasounds will reveal what Planned Parenthood wants to keep hidden because they know women will see the truth this way. Ultrasounds expose their lie.
I am reminded of Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade, who also had a change of heart from energetically pro choice to adamantly pro life.
Others have gone in the other direction, of course. But this issue isn’t going away. Abortion does not excise a tumor, but takes a developing human life. For many, that is always going to be a bridge way too far. And they certainly don’t want their tax money going to an organization responsible each year for the stilling of hundreds of thousand human hearts.