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Escape from Abortion: A Review of unPlanned by Abby Johnson


I know something about dramatic conversions to the pro-life cause.
I experienced one myself some years ago in a Chinese abortion clinic.
I had never really thought about what an abortion entailed until I
witnessed one with my own eyes. But I could not ignore the result — a
dead baby and a mother deeply wounded in both body and spirit — and I
turned away in horror.

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I know something about dramatic conversions to the pro-life cause.
I experienced one myself some years ago in a Chinese abortion clinic.
I had never really thought about what an abortion entailed until I
witnessed one with my own eyes. But I could not ignore the result — a
dead baby and a mother deeply wounded in both body and spirit — and I
turned away in horror.

Abby Johnson’s epiphany occurred in similar circumstances, although
she was not, as I had been, an innocent bystander to this crime
against humanity. Rather she was the long-time director of a Planned
Parenthood clinic which, over the course of her tenure, had done
thousands of abortions. Abby, in fact, had scheduled the abortion that
changed her life.

She had joined Planned Parenthood as a college student because
she had been led to believe that the organization was dedicated to
helping women in crisis. She believed them when they told her that
they wanted to make abortion rare. She repeated their lies when she
told naive young women that what was growing in their wombs was not
a baby, but just a fetus, little more than a clump of cells, or a
ball of tissue.

But as she went from being a volunteer to full-time employee,
she learned that a key goal of the organization was to make as much
money as possible by performing as many abortions as possible.
Instead of helping to make abortions rare, as she had believed, she
realized to her dismay that she was helping to make them more
common.

Then came the day when she herself was asked to assist with an
abortion, holding an ultrasound probe to allow the abortionist a
clear view of his tiny target. What came up on the screen was an
entire, perfect profile of a baby at 13 weeks. As the doctor
inserted the suction cannula, she saw the baby began struggling to
turn and twist away. But there was no escape. As she writes,
“For the briefest moment it looked like the baby was being
wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then the little
body crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my
eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone
sucked into the tube, and then everything was gone.”

Abby was devastated by what she had seen. And she swore to
herself that she would never again support abortion.

Perhaps her story would have ended there, were it not for the
friendships she had formed with the pro-lifers who had long held
prayer vigils outside her clinic. These compassionate prayer
warriors had long interceded not just for the women who visited the
clinic and their unborn children, but for the clinic personnel as
well. It is thus no accident that when Abby walked out of her
Planned Parenthood office she went directly over to the office of
the local 40 Days for Life director, Shawn Carney, and that he and
other pro-lifers helped her transition from abortion advocate to
helping women and saving lives.

The story of Abby’s conversion, which was years in the making,
is nothing short of miraculous. I was reminded in the telling of
how Father Paul Marx befriended abortion pioneer Bernard Nathanson,
a friendship which greatly aided Dr. Nathanson in his long
spiritual journey from the atheism of his youth to his final
confirmation in the Catholic faith. (I understand that Abby and her
husband have left the Episcopal Church over its pro-abortion
stance, and are receiving instruction in the Catholic Church.)

If you are tempted to despair over America’s continuing embrace
of abortion, consider the moral courage of Abby Johnson and those
who stood with her, and be reminded that all things are possible
with God. unPlanned is a story of God’s grace and
redemption that should be read by every one determined to build a
Culture of Life.

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