I pray every time I pass a Planned Parenthood. I have also prayed outside Planned Parenthood clinics that do abortions here in Austin and back home in D.C. I pray for a world where no one will desire abortion. I don’t think making abortion illegal will change hearts, but it might be a start. By far, though, the most important part of the struggle is remembering to do all things in love, as Jesus would. Jesus called people out for their sins, sure, but then he called them to something greater (remember, he told the woman caught in adultery to “sin no more”). Abby Johnson knows exactly what it’s like to love both people who provide abortions and people who pray for an end to them. She worked for Planned Parenthood for eight years, but one day, she knew she had to switch sides. Her book, Unplanned, cowritten with an editor from Christian publisher Zondervan, tells the story of her life up to that day and its heartbreaking aftermath.
I first heard Abby Johnson’s story last year. I was astonished. It was picture-perfect: someone who knew Planned Parenthood from the inside had literally gone from standing on inside of the fence to praying on the outside. She begins her story with the turning point. She had been director of the Bryan, Texas Planned Parenthood affiliate for some time when she was asked to hold the ultrasound probe during an abortion. As she watched the procedure, she was horrified, and she knew that day that she needed to get out. The Bryan Coalition for Life next door took her in and defended her in the ensuing legal battle. She had joined Planned Parenthood as a college volunteer to help make abortion “safe, legal, and rare” (Planned Parenthood’s alleged goal) and to help women in crisis. When her supervisor told her that she needed to increase abortions to stay in business, and that her personal mission to reduce abortions was going to hurt the bottom line, she knew that Planned Parenthood was not the place to achieve her goal of “safe, legal, and rare” abortion, and she gave up her career for what she believed in. Could you be that brave?