Why a Planned Parenthood executive became a pro-life evangelist

By Lisa Bourne

Abby Johnson speaking at the Prayer for Life rally.

Abby Johnson was the keynote presenter at the Prayer For Life Day in Des Moines Feb. 8.

Sponsored by a coalition of prolife organizations, the annual Prayer For Life Day offers education and networking for prolife individuals, topped off with prayer and a rally at the State Capitol.

Johnson was director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas in 2009 when she saw a 13-week-old child in the womb unsuccessfully trying to evade the abortionist’s suction tube on an ultrasound screen as she assisted with the procedure. It affected her.

When Johnson quit her job a short time later, she left behind a lucrative position, a long history with the organization and clearly, the abortion behemoth’s positive regard.

Planned Parenthood promptly sued her to keep her quiet.


She had converted to prolife.

The suit was thrown out.

Johnson has been on the speaking circuit for awhile now, sharing her conversion story. She is booked solid into the foreseeable future.

Her book, “Unplanned,” offers her perspective from inside the profit-driven abortion industry.

“Unplanned,” quickly sold out of Ignatius Press’s first print run, as well as rising to # 8 on Amazon.com and #3 with Barnes and Noble within 24 hours of release.

By most reports Johnson’s insider account is compelling and is why NewsReal blogger places her among the top-ten prolifers most feared by the advocates of the abortion industry.

Johnson said initially she was firmly in support of abortion and convinced that she was helping women.

The prayers of the prolife people outside her Planned Parenthood location eventually reached into her conscience, just as the loving witness of those praying had reached a number of women whom Johnson had seen turn and leave before entering the facility.

This was one of the key messages Johnson highlighted in her talk at the Prayer For Life.

Prayer and mercy reaches people, anger does not.

Another key observation she raised: The silence from the pulpit is deafening.

She also emphasized the dangers of cooperation, arguing that it does matter who you do business with.

When associating with organizations that partner with or are associated with Planned Parenthood, it is supporting Planned Parenthood and the evil it commits. Further, Johnson reasoned that it’s not okay to support Planned Parenthood for its so-called reproductive services, and that Planned Parenthood’s locations that don’t commit abortions are part still of the problem.

She used a striking analogy.

Imagine a pan of brownies with just a little bit of dog poop in the mix. No matter how good that pan of brownies might appear, the brownies are contaminated.

Anger versus prayer?

I think those who are angry about the attacks on the sanctity of life in our culture are so with good reason. And I think their anger should feed the desire for prayer, as well as action.

Johnson told her Des Moines audience when people approached her or her facility in anger it only resulted in her digging her heels in deeper. Proof-positive that directing one’s anger in the wrong place is counterproductive.

I think most that came to hear her speak operate with mercy, so her message really was a challenge to those who operate solely out of anger.

It is a myth that prolife people are harsh and don’t care about mothers in a crisis pregnancy or their children once they are born.

Buying into this nonsense only serves to foster the success of those in support of abortion. If you think prolifers are judgmental or that they are other than peaceful and prayerful, you’re not paying attention.

Johnson’s stress on the importance of prayer was a good thing, but she also said something that begged even more clarity in the face of the accepted fallacies about the prolife cause and those who support life.

She said the shooting of abortionist George Tiller was one thing that made it hard for her to work through her conversion.

Unfortunately, this reference to Tiller’s murder seemed to exemplify one of the big myths.

The day the world understands that those who kill abortionists are not prolife will be the day people’s ears will be ready for the truth.  People who murder abortionists should not be associated with those who defend life at every level.

I wish that point would have been made, so the 350 prolifers could have learned yet another valuable lesson from Abby’s insider account of the pro-abortion mentality.

Prayer works, and praying outside Planned Parenthood pays spiritual dividends to all of those involved.

We must pray in response to the staggering statistic offered by Johnson that more than three-quarters of those who cross the threshold at Planned Parenthood profess to be Christian.

Along with praying each day for an end to abortion we must pray for our preachers and priests to have the courage and clarity to preach about this, and pray harder for the ones who actually support legalized abortion.

We also have to pray for those who, knowingly or unknowlingly, cooperate with the abortion industry by direct support or by association.

Less than a week after Johnson’s Des Moines appearance, prolife advocates held vigil outside several Planned Parenthood locations in the area along with a larger national effort to stand in solidarity to support victims of Planned Parenthood.

The vigil was called in the wake of the latest slew of videos catching the abortion chain advocating for human sex trafficking and statutory rape. (Watch the video clip below.)


The videos are getting national attention, in a way the media hasn’t been able to brush off, as has so often been the case in the past with the abortion giant’s ethical transgressions.

The calls to defund Planned Parenthood from tax subsidy have gotten stronger.

The results of this past fall’s elections at the State and Federal level both reflected and produced new gains in advancing the culture of life.

Abby Johnson’s witness has enlightened and kindled a new passion in the prolife movement.

The timing of Johnson coming to Des Moines was fortuitous; especially as late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart’s plans to bring his grisly business into Iowa garnered renewed support for abortion restrictions.

There’s something going on.

These things would seem to suggest hope on the horizon, with some real legislative headway being made to protect the unborn; and in stopping our tax dollars from ending up in the coffers of an organization which profits greatly by taking life.

I, for one, have my eyes fixed upward, waiting for what’s to come with great anticipation.

[Lisa Bourne is a Catholic journalist, mother of three, prolife advocate, and one who thinks the unborn should be allowed to experience choice. Thank-you, Lisa, for contributing this piece and photos to Quiner’s Diner.]