Abby Johnson (activist)
Abby Johnson at Spanish anti-abortion organization HazteOir in 2015.
|Born||July 10, 1980|
|Known for||Anti-abortion activism|
Abby Johnson (born 10 July 1980) is an American anti-abortion activist who previously worked at Planned Parenthood as a clinic director, but resigned in October 2009. She states that she resigned after watching an abortion on ultrasound.
Johnson grew up in Rockdale, Texas, and graduated from Rockdale High School. She obtained her B.S. degree in psychology from Texas A&M University and an M.A. in counseling from Sam Houston State University.
Work at Planned Parenthood
Raised in a "conservative, pro-life family," Johnson began volunteering for Planned Parenthood after seeing their booth at a volunteer fair at her college. She says she hadn't heard of the group before and didn't know they performed abortions, and Planned Parenthood told her they wanted to reduce the number of abortions. Johnson volunteered in 2001, and progressed to the position of community services director. Identifying as "extremely pro-choice," she worked at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas for eight years, escorting women into the clinic from their cars to prevent them from being heckled by protesters and eventually working as director of the clinic. Johnson regularly encountered activists from Coalition for Life, a local anti-abortion group who waited at the clinic's fence to talk to clients, and described extensive harassment of clinic staff by anti-abortion activists. Describing death threats against herself and her family, she stated: "It's very scary, this group of people that claim to be these peaceful prayer warriors, or whatever they call themselves, it's kind of ironic that some of them would be sending death threats." The Planned Parenthood clinic named Johnson employee of the year in 2008.
Johnson says that in September 2009, she was called in to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion at 13 weeks gestation. She said she was disconcerted to see how similar the ultrasound image looked to her own daughter's. Johnson, who previously believed fetuses could not feel anything while being aborted, says she saw the fetus squirming and twisting to avoid the vacuum tube used for the abortion.
"For the briefest moment," she wrote in her memoir, Unplanned, "the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it 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 it was gone."
Johnson continued working at the clinic for 9 more days, but soon met with Shawn Carney, leader of the local anti-abortion group Coalition for Life, with whom she was well-acquainted after his years of activism against Planned Parenthood. She told him she could no longer continue assisting women in getting abortions. She resigned on October 6, 2009.
Johnson said after her resignation that her bosses had pressured her to increase profits by performing more and more abortions at the clinic. Johnson estimated the clinic profited $350 on every abortion.
Johnson's story received national coverage. She was embraced by the anti-abortion movement after her story went national in November 2009 and compared to Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in 1973. McCorvey joined the pro-life movement in 1995.
Soon after her resignation, Johnson began volunteering with the Coalition for Life, which regularly prayed outside her former clinic.
Johnson has since adopted the consistent life ethic, opposing not just abortion—in all cases—but also the death penalty and euthanasia. She affirms natural family planning over the use of any form of birth control.
Johnson released a book, Unplanned, in January 2011, detailing her work at Planned Parenthood and her conversion to the anti-abortion cause.
Johnson now runs an anti-abortion ministry, And Then There Were None (ATTWN). The organization seeks to help abortion clinic workers leave the industry. ATTWN was founded in 2012.
Johnson released her second book, "The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories", in 2016. The stories are from former abortion workers that have come through her ministry.
Johnson was raised as a Southern Baptist, but left the church because it objected to her work at Planned Parenthood. She and her husband Doug, who was raised Lutheran, stopped attending church altogether for two years before joining the Episcopal Church, which has one of the most liberal stances on abortion of any Mainline Protestant denomination. After she went public with her conversion to the anti-abortion position, Johnson said she felt unwelcome at this church. She converted to Catholicism in 2012.
- "They Say It's Your Birthday" — Abby Johnson
- "Author Biography: Abby Johnson". Tyndale House Publishers.
- Drake, Tim. "What Abby Johnson Saw at Planned Parenthood". National Catholic Register. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- Abrams, Joseph (November 2, 2009). "Planned Parenthood Director Quits After Watching Abortion on Ultrasound". Fox News. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2011.
- Clark-Flory, Tracy (Nov 3, 2009). "The conversion of a pro-choice warrior". Salon.com. Retrieved April 8, 2011.
- Mann, Benjamin. "Abby Johnson reveals details of pro-life turnaround and Catholic conversion". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- Johnson, Abby (2011). Unplanned. SaltRiver. ISBN 978-1-4143-3939-9.
- Dorning, Anne-Marie (2009-11-05). "Planned Parenthood Clinic Director Joins Pro-Life Group". ABC News. Archived from the original on 28 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- Allen, Nick (2009-11-02). "Planned Parenthood leader resigns after watching abortion ultrasound". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-07-02.
- Abby Johnson: ProWoman, ProChild, ProLife (August 5, 2014). "Frequently Asked Questions". Facebook.
- Abby Johnson. Consistent
- Duin, Julia (2009-11-13). "Former clinic director: Church chilly to my pro-life turn". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2011-07-02.