Retailers Choice Award winner, 2012Abby Johnson quit her job in October 2009. That simple act became a national news story because Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who, after participating in an actual abortion procedure for the first time, walked down the street to join the Coalition for Life.Unplanned is a heart-stopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation that speaks hope and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue. Telling Abby’s story from both sides of the abortion clinic property line, this book is a must-read for anyone who cares about the life versus rights debate and helping women who face crisis pregnancies. Now updated with a new chapter covering the latest events in Abby’s journey, in the news, and in changing legislation . . . and revealing the impact Abby’s story has had in the most surprising places.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Dramatic true story of a Former Planned Parenthood leader's eye-opening journey across the life line
By Abby Johnson, Cindy Lambert
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Abby Johnson
All rights reserved.
Cheryl poked her head into my office. "Abby, they need an extra person back in the exam room. Are you free?"
I looked up from my paperwork, surprised. "Sure."
Though I'd been with Planned Parenthood for eight years, I had never been called into the exam room to help the medical team during an abortion, and I had no idea why I was needed now. Nurse-practitioners were the ones who assisted in abortions, not the other clinic staff. As director of this clinic in Bryan, Texas, I was able to fill in for any position in a pinch, except, of course, for doctors or nurses performing medical procedures. I had, on a few occasions, agreed at a patient's request to stay with her and even hold her hand during the procedure, but only when I'd been the counselor who'd worked with her during intake and counseling. That was not the case today. So why did they need me?
Today's visiting abortionist had been here at the Bryan clinic only two or three times before. He had a private abortion practice about 100 miles away. When I'd talked with him about the job several weeks before, he had explained that at his own facility he did only ultrasound-guided abortions—the abortion procedure with the least risk of complications for the woman. Because this method allows the doctor to see exactly what is going on inside the uterus, there is less chance of perforating the uterine wall, one of the risks of abortion. I respected that about him. The more that could be done to keep women safe and healthy, the better, as far as I was concerned. However, I'd explained to him that this practice wasn't the protocol at our clinic. He understood and said he'd follow our typical procedures, though we agreed he'd be free to use ultrasound if he felt a particular situation warranted it.
To my knowledge, we'd never done ultrasound-guided abortions at our facility. We did abortions only every other Saturday, and the assigned goal from our Planned Parenthood affiliate was to perform twenty-five to thirty-five procedures on those days. We liked to wrap them up by around 2:00 p.m. Our typical procedure took about ten minutes, but an ultrasound added about five minutes, and when you're trying to schedule up to thirty-five abortions in a day, those extra minutes add up.
I felt a moment's reluctance outside the exam room. I never liked entering this room during an abortion procedure—never welcomed what happened behind this door. But since we all had to be ready at any time to pitch in and get the job done, I pushed the door open and stepped in.
The patient was already sedated, still conscious but groggy, the doctor's brilliant light beaming down on her. She was in position, the instruments were laid out neatly on the tray next to the doctor, and the nurse-practitioner was positioning the ultrasound machine next to the operating table.
"I'm going to perform an ultrasound-guided abortion on this patient. I need you to hold the ultrasound probe," the doctor explained.
As I took the ultrasound probe in hand and adjusted the settings on the machine, I argued with myself, I don't want to be here. I don't want to take part in an abortion. No, wrong attitude—I needed to psych myself up for this task. I took a deep breath and tried to tune in to the music from the radio playing softly in the background. It's a good learning experience—I've never seen an ultrasound-guided abortion before, I told myself. Maybe this will help me when I counsel women. I'll learn firsthand about this safer procedure. Besides, it will be over in just a few minutes.
I could not have imagined how the next ten minutes would shake the foundation of my values and change the course of my life.
I had occasionally performed diagnostic ultrasounds for clients before. It was one of the services we offered to confirm pregnancies and estimate how far along they were. The familiarity of preparing for an ultrasound soothed my uneasiness at being in this room. I applied the lubricant to the patient's belly, then maneuvered the ultrasound probe until her uterus was displayed on the screen and adjusted the probe's position to capture the image of the fetus.
I was expecting to see what I had seen in past ultrasounds. Usually, depending on how far along the pregnancy was and how the fetus was turned, I'd first see a leg, or the head, or some partial image of the torso, and would need to maneuver a bit to get the best possible image. But this time, the image was complete. I could see the entire, perfect profile of a baby.
Just like Grace at twelve weeks, I thought, surprised, remembering my very first peek at my daughter, three years before, snuggled securely inside my womb. The image now before me looked the same, only clearer, sharper. The detail startled me. I could clearly see the profile of the head, both arms, legs, and even tiny fingers and toes. Perfect.
And just that quickly, the flutter of the warm memory of Grace was replaced with a surge of anxiety. What am I about to see? My stomach tightened. I don't want to watch what is about to happen.
I suppose that sounds odd coming from a professional who'd been running a Planned Parenthood clinic for two years, counseling women in crisis, scheduling abortions, reviewing the clinic's monthly budget reports, hiring and training staff. But odd or not, the simple fact is, I had never been interested in promoting abortion. Id come to Planned Parenthood eight years before, believing that its purpose was primarily to prevent unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing the number of abortions. That had certainly been my goal. And I believed that Planned Parenthood saved lives—the lives of women who, without the services provided by this organization, might resort to some back-alley butcher. All of this sped through my mind as I carefully held the probe in place.
"Thirteen weeks," I heard the nurse say after taking measurements to determine the fetus's age.
"Okay," the doctor said, looking at me, "just hold the probe in place during the procedure so I can see what I'm doing."
The cool air of the exam room left me feeling chilled. My eyes still glued to the image of this perfectly formed baby, I watched as a new image entered the video screen. The cannula—a straw-shaped instrument attached to the end of the suction tube—had been inserted into the uterus and was nearing the baby's side. It looked like an invader on the screen, out of place. Wrong. It just looked wrong.
My heart sped up. Time slowed. I didn't want to look, but I didn't want to stop looking either. I couldn't not watch. I was horrified, but fascinated at the same time, like a gawker slowing as he drives past some horrific automobile wreck—not wanting to see a mangled body, but looking all the same.
My eyes flew to the patient's face; tears flowed from the corners of her eyes. I could see she was in pain. The nurse dabbed the woman's face with a tissue.
"Just breathe," the nurse gently coached her. "Breathe."
"It's almost over," I whispered. I wanted to stay focused on her, but my eyes shot back to the image on the screen.
At first, the baby didn't seem aware of the cannula. It gently probed the baby's side, and for a quick second I felt relief. Of course, I thought. The fetus doesn't feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I'd been taught by Planned Parenthood. The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed. Get a grip, Abby. This is a simple, quick medical procedure. My head was working hard to control my responses, but I couldn't shake an inner disquiet that was quickly mounting to horror as I watched the screen.
The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if trying to move away from the probing invader. As the cannula pressed in, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that the fetus could feel the cannula and did not like the feeling. And then the doctor's voice broke through, startling me.
"Beam me up, Scotty," he said lightheartedly to the nurse. He was telling her to turn on the suction—in an abortion the suction isn't turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place.
I had a sudden urge to yell, "Stop!" To shake the woman and say, "Look at what is happening to your baby! Wake up! Hurry! Stop them!"
But even as I thought those words, I looked at my own hand holding the probe. I was one of "them" performing this act. My eyes shot back to the screen again. The cannula was already being rotated by the doctor, and now I could see the tiny body violently twisting with it. For the briefest moment it looked as if the baby were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then the little body 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 everything was gone. And the uterus was empty. Totally empty.
I was frozen in disbelief. Without realizing it, I let go of the probe. It slipped off the patient's tummy and slid onto her leg. I could feel my heart pounding—pounding so hard my neck throbbed. I tried to get a deep breath but couldn't seem to breathe in or out. I still stared at the screen, even though it was black now because Id lost the image. But nothing was registering to me. I felt too stunned and shaken to move. I was aware of the doctor and nurse casually chatting as they worked, but it sounded distant, like vague background noise, hard to hear over the pounding of my own blood in my ears.
The image of the tiny body, mangled and sucked away, was replaying in my mind, and with it the image of Grace's first ultra-sound—how she'd been about the same size. And I could hear in my memory one of the many arguments Id had with my husband, Doug, about abortion.
"When you were pregnant with Grace, it wasn't a fetus; it was a baby" Doug had said. And now it hit me like a lightning bolt: He was right! What was in this womans womb just a moment ago was alive. It wasn't just tissue, just cells. That was a human baby-fighting for life! A battle that was lost in the blink of an eye. What I have told people for years, what I've believed and taught and defended, is a lie.
Suddenly I felt the eyes of the doctor and nurse on me. It shook me out of my thoughts. I noticed the probe lying on the woman's leg and fumbled to get it back into place. But my hands were shaking now.
"Abby, are you okay?" the doctor asked. The nurse's eyes searched my face with concern.
"Yeah, I'm okay." I still didn't have the probe correctly positioned, and now I was worried because the doctor couldn't see inside the uterus. My right hand held the probe, and my left hand rested gingerly on the woman's warm belly. I glanced at her face—more tears and a grimace of pain. I moved the probe until I'd recaptured the image of her now-empty uterus. My eyes traveled back to my hands. I looked at them as if they weren't even my own.
How much damage have these hands done over the past eight years? How many lives have been taken because of them? Not just because of my hands, but because of my words. What if I'd known the truth, and what if I'd told all those women?
I had believed a lie! I had blindly promoted the "company line" for so long. Why? Why hadn't I searched out the truth for myself? Why had I closed my ears to the arguments I'd heard? Oh, dear God, what had I done?
My hand was still on the patient's belly, and I had the sense that I had just taken something away from her with that hand. I'd robbed her. And my hand started to hurt—I felt an actual physical pain. And right there, standing beside the table, my hand on the weeping woman's belly, this thought came from deep within me:
Never again! Never again.
I went into autopilot. As the nurse cleaned up the woman, I put away the ultrasound machine, then gently roused the patient, who was limp and groggy. I helped her sit up, coaxed her into a wheelchair, and took her to the recovery room. I tucked a light blanket around her. Like so many patients Id seen before, she continued to cry, in obvious emotional and physical pain. I did my best to make her more comfortable.
Ten minutes, maybe fifteen at most, had passed since Cheryl had asked me to go help in the exam room. And in those few minutes, everything had changed. Drastically. The image of that tiny baby twisting and struggling kept replaying in my mind. And the patient. I felt so guilty. Id taken something precious from her, and she didn't even know it.
How had it come to this? How had I let this happen? I had invested myself, my heart, my career in Planned Parenthood because I cared about women in crisis. And now I faced a crisis of my own.
Looking back now on that late September day of 2009, I realize how wise God is for not revealing our future to us. Had I known then the firestorm I was about to endure, I might not have had the courage to move forward. As it was, since I didn't know, I wasn't yet looking for courage. I was, however, looking to understand how I found myself in this place—living a lie, spreading a lie, and hurting the very women I so wanted to help.
And I desperately needed to know what to do next.
This is my story.
Excerpted from Unplanned by Abby Johnson, Cindy Lambert. Copyright © 2014 Abby Johnson. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Expanded Edition ix
A Note from Abby Johnson xiii
1 The Ultrasound 1
2 The Volunteer Fair 9
3 The Power of a Secret 19
4 The Cause 29
5 The Bond of Compassion 41
6 40 Days and 40 Nights 55
7 The Code of Conduct 69
8 My Enemy, My Friend 81
9 Irreconcilable Differences 95
10 The Hurricane 105
11 The Boardroom 113
12 A Holy Hush 123
13 Inside Out 133
14 The Wrong Side of the Fence 141
15 Open Arms 151
16 Keeping Confidence 159
17 The Right Thing to Do 167
18 Facing Forward 179
19 The Injunction 195
20 The Red Carpet 207
21 The Unexpected Gift 217
22 The Hearing 223
23 The Ruling 239
24 The Revelation 249
Epilogue: Surprise Endings and New Beginnings 261
About the Authors 287
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
From the introduction, I knew that this was going to be an easy to read, enjoyable book. I picked it up yesterday morning and just finished it twenty minutes ago. In the midst of the past day, I homeschooled, cooked three meals, took my children to Awanas, had a coffee date with my husband, and went to bed at 10 p.m. Can you tell how much I liked this book since I just finished it? Abby Johnson is the former director of the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Bryan, Texas. She had been with Planned Parenthood for eight years. One Saturday in 2009, she was asked to assist in an ultrasound guided abortion. That day she walked out vowing to find another job. After two weeks, she left. That two weeks was not a period of two weeks notice. Rather, it was the timeline she had given herself for getting her ducks in a row to leave. She describes what she saw in that ultrasound and my eyes cannot fight the tears even as I think about it now. It isn't graphic, but it explains the truth--what an abortion really is. But, this story is not just a story of abortion. It is a story of "Right reasons, wrong choices." (p.10 from Unplanned) It is a story of compassion and seeing the other side, not as enemies, but as misled, decieved, and lost. It is a story of God working in Abby's life just as he worked in Joseph's life. Genesis 50:20 NIV You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Literally. One thing I loved most about the book was her story of how she can now see God working in all things in her life. He has brought her to the place she is now. He was watching over her even as she made wrong choices. He is working in all things. Jesus calls us to love our enemies. Luke 6:35 NIV But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Abby's story shares with us what it really looks like to do just that. The people at Coalition for Life respected her, prayed for her, loved her... And they didn't give up. Her story is also very human in that it acknowledges the imperfections of people. She is not self righteous and she does not cover up the reasoning that led her to make the decisions she did. She sees her own culpability, but also fully lives in God's grace. Many people turned away from her on both sides as she walked through these eight years. Many others did not. Let us be like those who did not. Let us love people those who are easy to love and those who are not well. Let us love those who we agree with and those who we disagree with well. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this review from Tyndale Publishing for review.
I couldn't put it down... It showed me that those naive Planned Parenthood folks really do think they are helping women.
Having read a pre-release copy of "Unplanned," I can attest that Abby's book is riveting, inspiring, and transformational. Hands-down, this is the most compelling book I have read in years. People on both sides of the controversial abortion issue will be moved by Abby's candor and compassion as she reveals the shocking truth of what she witnessed inside the Planned Parenthood abortion chain -- and what led to her profound a change of heart. I am going to buy copies of this book for everyone I know!
I enjoyed reading this book. It was interesting to read about the journey Abby Johnson took from being on "one side of the fence" to the other. The book was easy to read, but at times got confusing going from the past to the current. But, I still couldn't put it down.
At first glance, Unplanned sounds like another agenda-driven story, wrapped in the all the rhetoric of the pro-life/pro-choice debate, designed to tear down whatever credibility it can from the machine known as Planned Parenthood. That, however, couldn't be farther from the truth. Instead, Unplanned is a story of a young woman's honest journey to find meaning in serving others. Abby's story is one wrapped in grace, not hate; it is a story that tears down walls that our political/moral/religious agendas so often erect, and instead focuses on the people caught within those debates. Abby's journey is one of searching for meaning and significance; of breaking free from bondage of sin and shame to fully become who she was created to be; and of finding hope and forgiveness in the most unlikely places. Make no mistake, Abby's experience exposes the lies, selfishness, and tragedies that hide within the pro-choice agenda, specifically at Planned Parenthood. Her awakening to these truths will make you cringe, weep, and cringe some more. At it's heart, however, this documentary does not point fingers and it does not sling mud. The overarching message here is one of grace, love, and understanding. In the wake of the death of Osama Bin Laden, where professing Christians - people who claim to live and exemplify the love of Jesus Christ - continue to spew hate and judgement all over the social media networks, I cannot think of a message that is more apropos. You will be inspired by the peaceful, loving, prayerful responses from a handful of people who recognized that neither Abby, nor any of the other women entering and exiting the Planned Parenthood clinic, are the enemy; they are, rather, the victims caught in a war and a lie that goes far beyond any single issue or agenda. "We can't change our past, but if we dwell in it, it won't allow our hearts and our minds to glorify God the way we should." - Abby Johnson
This DVD documentary is based off the book "Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line". I watched this DVD on my own but am looking forward to sharing it with my friends. I believe this movie can make a real impact on it's viewers and would encourage it to be seen in group settings. Abby Johnson shares her compelling tale with truth and conviction leaving nothing out. Be warned that you will probably need to have a box of tissues at your side. I personally have strong feelings against the Planned Parenthood movement so a lot of it was hard to stomach being reminded how they treat babies as if they are not even human beings and telling the mother's that they'll be fine after the procedures! It's sad so many believe the lies that they are being fed by the Planned Parenthood group. Many praises to God that the eyes of Abby Johnson were opened after she had to sit in an help with an actual abortion seeing a baby in pain after she was told that they felt nothing as the procedure was happening! This story is full of emotion and brokenness and seeing that true healing come from God the father. I was encouraged that the pro-lifers continued to reach out to Abby in love but not hate. There are some pretty radical protesters that are so out there that no one is going to listen too. But in planting the seeds of kindness and love without baking down on their own beliefs the 40 Days of Life group was able to reach through to Abby as well. Overall a testimony which I believe everyone should be able to listen and view.
Abby Johnson has excellent writing skills. The book flowed well and was easy to read. It was insightful to me as well in that she describes how some pro-life tactics do not have the intended effect on abortionists. It's an excellent book that cuts through the political mumbo jumbo to expose the realities of abortion. A must read for people on both sides of the fence.
Before watching Unplanned, I would not say I was either ProLife or ProChoice. I knew I would never have an abortion myself but I wasn't sure it was right to say that no woman could have one. After watching Abby's story and seeing the event that changed her life in the Planned Parenthood clinic in September 2009, I am now against abortions. It was very interesting to hear about Abby's past and how she got started with Planned Parenthood and then to see what caused her to leave. This documentary had a very big impact on me. The section that was the most impactful, the part about the ultrasound guided abortion, was difficult to watch but I will never forget it.
Abby's story of her journey from one side of the fence to the other is compelling. Cindy's writing is excellent,enhancing the readability of this true life story. Abby learned from the Coalition for Life that positive interaction is more effective, as well as being more right-minded. The way she tells her tale avoids negativity and disparaging comments about those she left behind when she walked away from PP, co-workers, clients, volunteers. The path she took to the point at which she heard and answered God's call, runs through some dark times. I'm glad she was willing to share it with us.
Too often we paint the people who work in the abortion clinics as evil, instead of seeing them through the lens of the Word with compassion and love. Without the compassion and love of Coalition for Life/40 Days for Life in Texas, Abby Johnson might never have fully realized her error. Swept up in the rally's and the propaganda put out by Planned Parenthood, Abby like any other young woman went into this organization wanting to help women in crisis. She worked as a volunteer at first, but her fiery personality soon sped her through the organization until she eventually become the director of the Texas Planned Parenthood clinic. Abby grew up in a Christian, pro-life family. She believed in the pro-life beliefs until the pro-choice rhetoric from a recruiter made her waver. As my husband and I sat through this amazing DVD we glimpsed Planned Parenthood's true agenda. Their biased so-called counseling, their propaganda documents, their "pep rallys" to keep their workers enthusiastic about the company, and their intense focus on just doing abortions really brought home how we have devalued life since Roe v. Wade. Planned Parenthood couldn't offer post abortion counseling, she says, because that would infer that an abortion hurts women. Abby tells us Planned Parenthood forbids any worker or volunteer from using the word "baby." Call it a Fetus or an embryo, but don't call it a baby-that in itself is quite telling. She had two abortions before she married a pro-life man and became pregnant with her third. She kept her little girl, but understanding the damage that abortion causes didn't occur to her until a visiting doctor called her in to aid in an abortion. She had to hold the ultra sound instrument to the woman's belly and watched in horror as the instrument began to dismember the baby alive. Planned Parenthood told her and other workers that at 13-weeks a baby doesn't feel anything. Science however has proven otherwise. The baby fought for life in that ultra sound and two weeks later, Abby went to the Coalition for Life and begged for help in leaving Planned Parenthood. She chose morals over money. Abby showed us two sides of the pro-life movement in this DVD-the compassionate and loving side who stood outside the gates and quietly prayed and who tried to reach out to the women who came for an abortion, and the other side who called the women murderers, dressed in costume, and loudly yelled at each woman who drove through the gate. In every movement there are those who go to the extreme. I am really beginning to understand now how tough it must be for those women who go there and feel as if there is no way out. Abby, in fact, got her first abortion because it was her boyfriends suggestion. It struck me that the men who impregnate the women have nothing to lose by suggesting abortion. They get their freedom with having sex without the constraints of marriage or children. The women in this case have everything to lose-their baby's life, and their health and mental well-being, among other things. From May 6-8 my blog is celebrating Mother's Day by celebrating life in the womb. If you leave a comment, I will put your name into a drawing to win a free copy of unplanned. A copy of this DVD was provided by Tyndale to review. I am not required to give a positive review.
Abby Johnson was raised in a Christian home and led a storybook life. At 17, she went off to college and as an impressionable and inquisitive girl she looked for causes that interested her. She developed a relationship with a man and found that she was pregnant. He took her to have an abortion and made it seem very normal. A couple of years later, she was pregnant again and took the abortion pill. Then the relationship ended. About the time she finished college she started volunteering for Planned Parenthood because they presented to her that she would be helping women make important choices in their lives. Eventually, much to her parents' chagrin, Abby became an employee of Planned Parenthood and eventually became the director of the facility in Bryan College Station, TX. Working in the Planned Parenthood facility she was constantly faced with fielding the Right to Life people outside the fence. She noted that the ones that wore bizarre costumes and shouted evil things to the women coming to the clinic only enforced the stereotype of the crazy right to lifers. Those that really made an impression on her though were the quiet, respectful, dedicated people that stood out there and prayed every day and counseled the women that were entering the facility. She made up her mind to get along with those people, rather than be confrontational like previous directors had been. One day Abby was called to assist an abortion doctor in the clinic who was doing an ultrasound as he did the procedure. She was shocked and dismayed to see the child on the ultrasound and watch it sucked out in pieces. She immediately knew that what she had been telling people for years and what she had been told was not true. She also knew immediately that she could no longer be a party to it. She resigned from Planned Parenthood and sought counsel from the Coalition for Life people that she had conversed with in front of the clinic for years. She has become an advocate for Life and speaks all over the country. Planned Parenthood tried to intimidate her by filing an injunction against her but it was dismissed in court. You can see a trailer for this life changing and thought provoking DVD on YouTube. I encourage you all to watch the DVD. It is so eye opening. Share it with friends and also watch it with your kids. I believe boys need to be educated aobut this just as much as boys. This is a story of how God can turn a life around in an instant. Just as Paul's life was changed in an instant on the Road to Damascus, Abby Johnson's whole life's course was altered in front of that ultrasound monitor that day.
I got together with a few of my friends and family to watch this DVD. I loved how the DVD showed the heart of Abby's change as well as the heart of those involved in her change. In my opinion, there is no wat to compare a book and a movie. Books always give greater detail and let's your imagination run wild...However, the DVD was well made, and really showed the heart of the change that God did in Abby's heart. I did a video review of this DVD which you can find on my blog: lifeworthserving
This is a must-read book for anyone considering abortion.
Amazing work of God
What a great story! It chronicles Abby Johnson's story from abortion clinic director to pro-life advocate. One quote from the book that I loved: "Never trust a decision you wouldn't want your mother to know about." She shows through her story how abortion affects every area of your life even if you don't realize it and is not just an event you can put behind you. It changes you and not for the better.
unPLANNED ¿ Abby JohnsonThis is a book that once I had begun to read I could not, as the saying goes, ¿put it down¿. I hesitate to commence this review with a negative thought but I must confess from the start that this is a book I would not normally have read; a book for the ladies and a bit boring was my rather uncharitable thought as my wife Karen showed it to me after the purchase. However when I looked through and scanned the pages briefly ¿ more out of politeness rather from a real, genuine interest if truth be told ¿ I could not but be grabbed by the story. How wrong I was to judge it so dismissively, and so quickly. A lesson was learnt and I read on!Abortion, for that is what the book is basically about, is perhaps one of the most controversial (and emotional) areas under discussion today. A subject about which many extreme views are held - on both sides of the fence - and a subject that can be guaranteed to cause hot debate (and even, sadly, violence) whenever and wherever it¿s discussed. I must add at this point that if you are looking for a book that goes into great detail and reasoning on the various views (of the pros and cons of abortion) then this is not for you. It simply tells the story of one person¿s (Abby Johnson) journey over several years from belonging to one `camp¿ and to moving to the other. It is written simply and, I believe, honestly, and occasionally disturbingly so.To quote from the cover of the book, ¿Abby Johnson joined a pro choice organisation (in the US) as a college student because she wanted to help women in crisis ¿ a goal she believed the organisation shared. As she rose through the ranks to become a clinic director, however, things started to shift. Finances grew tighter, clinic practices changed, and Abby became increasingly unsettled about what she was being asked to do. But it wasn¿t until she helped perform an actual abortion procedure that Abby fully realised what she¿d been part of all those years.¿Abbey commenced her association with Planned Parenthood as a volunteer in 2001 and her role included escorting women from their cars to the clinic, helping with paperwork, being compassionate and making women generally cared for. One of the major goals of the clinic was, to `make abortions rare¿ and to provide education regarding birth control. In her own words, Abby ¿could not wait to get started¿. After only a few years during which she was involved in media work on behalf of Planned Parenthood, she was eventually promoted to the position of director at a clinic in Bryan, Texas. In 2008 she was recognized as "employee of the year."Throughout the book Abby contrasts the work of Planned Parenthood, which, you may recall is basically a pro-choice organization with the work done by their ¿opponents¿ the pro life group, Coalition for Life. We are introduced to a number of pro life characters some of which stand and pray quietly outside the clinic, whilst other, more extreme, folk paraded anti abortion banners and placards, with one fellow even going so far as to dress up as the Grim Reaper. The book goes into some details regarding the inter play between the two groups and the various methods of communication used. I found the contrast between the two groups fascinating and quite revealing, for example how they both operate, the different life views and different behaviors.Abby¿s own views whilst they had been changing gradually were challenged very dramatically one day when she was asked to help in an actual abortion procedure. This event was to turn Abby¿s life and values around 180 degrees. The description in the book of the procedure itself (an ultrasound guided abortion) whilst graphic and honestly portrayed is not over stated. In my view enough detail is given as to leave no doubt of the horror of the process but is not done gratuitously. On a personal level, as a reader, I was told what I needed to know and no more. For me that was enough. After the abortion Abby joined the Coaliti
The word abortion polarizes people¿you are either for it or against it. A line drawn in the sand; a fence metaphorically and literally that forces you to choose sides. It effects all aspects of life; personally, politically, monetarily and spiritually. Unplanned shows us both sides: an inside look by someone who has been on each side of that fence. By the time Abby Johnson started college she knew she wanted to help women in crisis. During her junior year, at a volunteer opportunities fair at her college, she met a woman from Planned Parenthood that showed her how she could do just that by volunteering for them. Abby wasn¿t so sure about the abortion part, having been raised in a Christian home, but she was reassured by talk of all the other things they offered women, such as preventing pregnancies. With the hope of making abortion rare she signed up.This is her story of going from volunteer to being the Director of a Planned Parenthood Clinic; it is an honest look at her journey, and a revealing look at the secret she kept from her family and even from herself. It is also an illuminating look at the pro life members on the other side of the fence: good and bad. How Abby Johnson crossed over to eventually join the Coalition for Life was a miracle years in the making. I highly recommend this intriguing book, and also Won by Love by Norma McCorvey who is the woman who was Jane Roe of Roe vs Wade.
I watched the video and had to read the book. Very insightful on a difficult topic. Abby Johnson does a great job of bridging the gap from being a former worker at planned parenthood to living a life of a Christian. Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book.
Loved this boo soo inspiring!!! Pro-Life Rocks!!
The author tells the story of her employment with Planned Parenthood and her realization of what this agency is really promoting. It is very compelling and is a non-stop read.
Wow, this was such an interesting book to me. I really respect the transparency the author shows and appreciate that she decided -and had the courage!- to share her story. Abby Johnson, an idealistic-about-certain-things college student, is recruited to volunteer at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Texas. Her goals, that she believes align with Planned Parenthood's, are to serve women in crisis, help prevent pregnancies, and therefore make abortions rare. She graduates with her degree and begins working for Planned Parenthood, eventually becoming the Clinic Director. She is an excellent employee, being named her affiliate's 2008 Employee of the Year. Throughout the course of her tenure, she repeatedly interacts with a group called the Coalition for Life; those on the 'opposite side of the fence'. Although she disagrees with them on many topics, she has a growing respect for how they treat others and watches them closely. One day she is asked to assist with an ultrasound abortion, and the course of her life is forever changed. No matter what you believe about this topic, her story is compelling. I definitely recommend this book.