OXON HILL, Md.—The best way to support women in unplanned pregnancies is to show them such support is available, Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood manager-turned-pro-life advocate, told The Daily Signal.
“A lot of times women choose abortion out of fear,” Johnson said. “There’s so many unknowns out there for women who are impoverished, women who are in school, women who are possibly going to do this alone.”
Johnson worked at Planned Parenthood for eight years. Shortly after winning an award for Employee of the Year while working as the director of an abortion clinic, she left Planned Parenthood in 2009 after watching an ultrasound-guided abortion procedure.
“I watched as a 13-week-old baby fought and struggled for his life against the abortion instruments, and I realized then that there was life in the womb, there was humanity in the womb, and if those two things were true, then I knew that I was on the wrong side of the abortion debate,” she said in the interview Thursday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, just outside Washington.
Johnson’s personal journey from abortion provider to pro-life activist was told in the 2019 movie “Unplanned.”
Today, Johnson’s organization, And Then There Were None, helps abortion clinic workers leave the industry, just as she did more than a dozen years ago.
“Letting them know that they can leave, that there is a safety net, but really trying to appeal to them and appeal to who they were as a child,” Johnson said, describing her organization’s mission. “I know that they grew up wanting to do good and that this is not the path that they wanted when they were a young person, and we want to help them get back on that path.”
Healing from the pain caused by abortion only comes from Jesus Christ, Johnson said.
She had two abortions herself and participated in about 22,000 others with Planned Parenthood.
“Healing is not easy. Healing is hard,” Johnson said. “It’s not a destination. It’s a journey. I will be healing for the rest of my life, but it’s a beautiful thing to peel back those layers and to go deeper and deeper into a healing journey.”
Healing means “recognizing that I’ve done what I’ve done, and it’s over, and God has forgiven me, and I can’t go back and change the past,” she said. “But I can give him my story and I can allow him to use it for good. That’s really the best thing that we can do, and that’s really the best way that we can heal.”
In America following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade and abortion on demand across the nation, pro-lifers should focus their energy on pouring time and resources into pregnancy resource centers, Johnson said.
Above all, abortion needs to become unthinkable, she said. Pro-lifers can promote this goal through dialogues with friends, family, and young Americans.
“We’ve had a really good year in the pro-life movement, but certainly our work is not over. There’s so much that we still need to do, so much that we still need to overcome,” Johnson said. “But certainly, Roe being overturned was a great thing. The end goal is to make abortion unthinkable, and we do that through having daily conversations with family and friends and people in our communities, people in our churches, even.”
Johnson said it’s offensive to conflate abortion and miscarriage. Recently, left-leaning media called TLC star Jessa Duggar Seewald’s miscarriage of her fifth child an “abortion.”
“It’s really offensive for them to act like a natural process in a woman’s body is the same as the intentional, deliberate taking of an innocent human life,” the former Planned Parenthood manager said. “We need extreme sensitivity when we are talking about that argument, because so many women have had miscarriages.”
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