Abby Johnson is a former clinical director at Planned Parenthood, the abortion provider that terminates over 300,000 young lives every single year. But after eight years facilitating the organization’s often brutal work, everything changed when Johnson witnessed an ultrasound-guided abortion during which a 13-week-old baby fought for its life, but ultimately succumbed to the trauma.
After this horrifying experience, the evils of abortion suddenly dawned on Johnson, and she decided to leave the organization for good, instead seeking to advocate on behalf of the unborn and to help other workers escape the sordid abortion industry.
Now, she is helping create a movie based on her astonishing life story. “Unplanned” does not yet have an official release date, though it is likely to be announced very soon.
In a candid interview on the Lucas Miles Show, Johnson talked at length of her excitement at the movie’s development and detailed some of her experiences as an abortion-worker-turned-pro-life-activist.
Speaking to her on the set of “Unplanned,” Miles pressed Johnson on her feelings as she watches the plot unfold in production — a narrative that she, on occasion, finds herself wincing at the sight of.
“I’m watching them be the worst version of myself,” she said. “It’s hard, but also beautiful because I can see how far I’ve come. I can see God’s presence in my life and how incredible that has been.”
As for her former life as a Planned Parenthood executive, she said that, in light of her experiences, she believes her process of grief will be long-lasting.
“I expect I’ll be healing from my past for the rest of my earthly life,” Johnson said.
So how did she get involved with Planned Parenthood in the first place?
“I was 21 and was in college,” she said. “I met a woman who was recruiting volunteers in Planned Parenthood. I didn’t know anything about them. I was raised in a pro-life home, but abortion wasn’t something we sat around and discussed at the dinner table.”
Planned Parenthood, which has an annual revenue of around $200 million, devotes a huge amount of resources to sending representatives to college campuses to recruit young and enthusiastic workers who it hopes will carry out its mission in the future.
“I was very naive, and very easily manipulated when I heard the talking points from this Planned Parenthood recruiter,” Johnson said, adding that the recruiter was “so smooth” in the way she presented the work of the organization.
Contrary to popular opinion in the pro-life community, Abby said that the recruiter declared her organization was “here to help women,” and that abortion is “not very common with us.” The woman added that it was “better for [abortion] to be safe rather than people dying from these illegal abortions.”
“All of that to me, in my naivety, really did make sense,” Johnson admitted.
But following what she described as a “dramatic transformation” which took place during that fateful ultrasound abortion procedure, Johnson handed in her resignation letter to the prolific termination provider and never looked back. She had realized one simple truth: abortion was wrong, and it had to be stopped.
As you might imagine, similarly to her heart-change on the morality of abortion, Abby’s transition to pro-life advocacy was swift. She left Planned Parenthood on Oct. 6, 2009, and her first pro-life speaking engagement was that November.
“I did start speaking right away,” she said. “That had not been what I intended, but when the media got hold of my story I was sort of propelled into this spotlight and I took it on.”
“I really want to help expose what is taking place in these clinics,” she added. “What we are trying to do is to re-humanize the worker in the clinic and to shift blame not to the individual, but to the systemic culture that we’re in. To the abortion industry itself that is influencing people so heavily, primarily through the media. That became the goal.”
She was careful to add that “redemption and forgiveness is available to anyone, no matter their past.”
“That has to be the way we are talking to people in the pro-life movement,” she said.
Johnson is determined to the shift the emphasis in the pro-life movement from one of judgment and condemnation to love and compassion, doing it all in the name of Jesus, who offers us all forgiveness of sins.
“The other day someone called an abortion clinic an ‘abortorium’ — I’m like, ‘that’s not even a word! That’s ridiculous,'” Johnson exclaimed. “We are not doing a very good job of relating to the people we are trying to convert. And that should be our primary goal.”
And, by all accounts, Johnson’s team are achieving that lofty objective.
So far, an astonishing 422 abortion clinic workers have left the abortion-providing industry as a direct result of Johnson’s advocacy work with And Then There Were None.
“It’s interesting because none of them go back,” Johnson noted of those who have fled abortion-related employment. “They come to us because they have had some sort of conversion in their heart, and they may not even totally understand what that is or means, but they are seeking truth. Our job is to help them find that truth and ultimately get them into a relationship with Christ.”
“Because we know that healing and forgiveness won’t come without Him,” she said.
Though she was brought up in a Christian home and at an early age was convinced that pro-life ethics were unique to those who believed in Jesus, upon leaving Planned Parenthood, Johnson sought to research the pro-life community more broadly. What she found was that there were many non-Christian groups who were also battling for the lives of the unborn.
“I was looking at their stuff and it was all very science-based,” she explained. “For me, I know that science comes from my creator. But for these people, it was just about science — fetal development and peer-reviewed research. That’s speaking my language, right there.”
Science, Johnson noted, is absolutely essential in developing an air-tight pro-life argument that can reach those who have no faith.
“I could talk to anybody, faith background or not, and make a solid case for why abortion is wrong without ever bringing up my faith,” she explained. “That doesn’t mean that I’m embarrassed by my faith, absolutely not. But in order to reach someone who doesn’t have the same beliefs as you do, sometimes you have to speak their language.”
“We need to know the scientific ‘why’ behind abortion being wrong,” Johnson noted.
So how strong is Planned Parenthood’s position now? Are we getting closer to de-funding its activity?
“We are definitely making strides,” Johnson said. “Primarily at state legislative level. To put regulations on facilities, to require ultrasounds before abortions. It’s shutting clinics down and getting women to look at what they are doing before they have abortions performed. It’s getting proper informed consent.
“We’ve seen a lot of gains in the pro-life movement,” she added. “We’ve seen defunding efforts in Texas, the abortion rate drop more than 30 percent. The rates of abortion’s of minors have dropped. We have had a record number of closures in our state.”
Johnson said that many people have been waiting a long time for the “cavalry to come,” and have developed a false hope that “knights in shining armor from the federal government” will “swoop in to defund Planned Parenthood and ban abortion.”
“Those knights are not coming,” Johnson stated bluntly.
The Trump administration has previously made big promises to strip Planned Parenthood of federal tax dollars, but has yet to accomplish that major goal. Instead, The House of Representatives passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that protected Planned Parenthood’s federal remuneration, totaling over $500 million per year.
With the political stalemate in mind, Johnson argued that pro-lifers should do all they can to engage the people on the cold-face of abortion procedures — those undergoing them, and those performing them.
“Our best gains are made in one-on-one dialogue outside of abortion centers with peaceful and prayerful sidewalk advocates, and they are made inside well-run pregnancy centers,” she said, adding that gains can also be “made in state legislative houses.”
“We just can’t wait for other people to do the job that God has called us to do,” Johnson implored, adding that “we all have a place in the pro-life movement to eradicate abortion and make it unthinkable,” she said.
Crucially, Johnson also said that those in the pro-life community should “not be afraid to offend people” when battling to save the lives of unborn babies.
“Let me be clear, people on the other side of this debate are not the least bit worried about offending you. We’ve gotta stop worrying about biting our tongue,” Johnson advised. “Sometimes, the offense is the building block to conversion. Sometimes that offense is what opens their eyes to truth.”
Johnson also revealed that she has had two abortions herself, and talked about the impact this experience has on her advocacy work.
“The place I find it to be most beneficial is when I’m outside of a clinic talking to women going in,” she said. “When I tell them ‘I’ve done this too,’ they always turn around and look at me.”
“Sometimes they come back and talk to me, sometimes they don’t. But I do find that it resonates with women who are considering an abortion because they want to hear other people’s experiences,” she said.
Sadly, however, Johnson hasn’t always been met with grace from those in the pro-choice movement after they hear of her prior abortions.
“They will say ‘oh, it was good for you two times, but now you’re not gonna allow other people to do it,'” she shared. “That’s like reprimanding someone who is a recovering alcoholic, like ‘how dare you lead AA meetings. So it was good for you to get drunk all the time, but now you’re telling others not to?'”
Johnson noted her belief that a profound sense of “woundedness” is essentially driving the pro-abortion movement.
“I think there is a desire to bring other people into their point of view because they need justification for their own actions,” she said. “I know many people who are proud to say that most women, when they get pregnant, should have abortions. They are very for abortion in all circumstances.”
One thing is for sure, after experiencing it for herself, Johnson truly believes that abortion is never the answer.
Visit AbortionWorker.com for more information on Abby Johnson’s vital work.