Last evening, former Planned Parenthood abortion center director and current pro-life leader, Abby Johnson spoke to 6,458 people during a live webcast called “Exposing the Lie”. The webcast was hosted by 40 Days for Life National Director, David Bereit, who met Abby while praying outside the clinic at which she worked.
Abby worked at Planned Parenthood for 8 years and was the 2008 Planned Parenthood employee of the year. As she was moving up in her career there, she was called in to assist with an abortion. As she details in her book, unPlanned, it was witnessing the tragic abortion of a 13 week old baby boy that helped her to see what Planned Parenthood was really all about; combined with her boss telling her she needed to increase the quota of abortions in the clinic, Abby became convinced she needed to quit the abortion industry. The problem, however, was where to go. She had been told by her boss, as so many others probably have, that no one would want her if she tried to find other work. While her boss was clearly trying to manipulate her, Abby admitted, working in the abortion business is a big, black mark on your resume and finding other work is difficult. It was at that point that she turned to the familiar faces she saw every day walking into work, one of which was David Bereit. Along with the Coalition for Life and Shawn Carney, David helped Abby to leave Planned Parenthood. He stood by her side as they tried to silence her, through legal maneuvers, from speaking about what she witnessed inside the industry. After a long legal battle, Abby was finally able to publish her book and has been a leader in the pro-life movement ever since. During the webcast yesterday, Abby introduced her next ministry, And Then There Were None (ATTWN).
The goal of ATTWN is simple: No more abortion clinic workers, no more clinics, no more abortions. Through her experience and speaking with many others who work in the abortion business, Abby knows that many employees stay because they simply do not know how to get out. In the 40 years of the pro-life movement, there has never been a national outreach for abortion clinic workers until now. ATTWN will serve workers who want to leave the abortion industry in four key areas. They will assist workers with finding new jobs and help them financially in the interim. Should the abortion provider try to silence the employee, as Planned Parenthood did with Abby, ATTWN will be there with lawyers to help fight back. Perhaps most importantly though, Abby’s new ministry will provide emotional and spiritual support for the workers. Two former abortion clinic employees, Annette and Sarah, were also on the webcast and shared their stories of what they experienced; highlighting the needs that ATTWN will be meeting.
Annette shared that she was attracted to Planned Parenthood because she was interested in helping people, particularly Latino women. She started as a volunteer then went on to work there as an educator. Her job was to go to local high schools to speak to students about how to prevent pregnancy and STDs. She was told by Planned Parenthood that when a woman came to one of their clinics, they were offered three choices in the exact order of having their baby, seeking adoption or having an abortion. She felt confident that abortion was not the main goal of the company until she attended further training that revealed the truth. Annette was given a script to help her facilitate “counseling” to women that came into the clinic to find out if they were pregnant. She was told to withhold their pregnancy test results and ask them what they would do if they found out they were pregnant. If the woman said abortion, she was instructed to then reveal to the woman she was pregnant, discuss abortion options and try to schedule an abortion. Feeling betrayed by Planned Parenthood, Annette was at a loss for what to do. However, after seeing Abby Johnson speak at an event, she was emboldened to quit her job and now works for a pro-life Pregnancy Center.
Sarah also told of how she struggled with the reality of the company’s abortion agenda. She went to work for the company hoping to empower those in need of education. As she was raised very pro-life, she tried to maintain her Catholic beliefs while assisting women with their decision about their baby. Having a medical background, she was able to provide ultrasounds to women and, against the wishes of Planned Parenthood, used the word “baby” when discussing the ultrasound with women. She broke rules and laws to help women who came to Planned Parenthood see the truth. After 1 and 1/2 years, she was finally able to escape and is happy to support Abby Johnson’s newest effort to help others in her situation.
There are 9,000 workers in the abortion industry and in the four months prior to their official start, 17 of those workers have already been assisted by ATTWN. Jenny Stone, who works at Live Action and will serve as Operations Director for ATTWN, summed up the new addition to pro-life efforts perfectly when she stated – The pro-life mission is not just about the unborn. It’s about everyone affected by abortion. Thanks to And Then There Were None, lives previously unconsidered will finally have a home in a movement that values all life.