Abby Johnson, aged 29, was the executive director of Planned Parenthood in Bryan/College Station, Texas until she left her job and joined Shawn Carney, aged 27, of the Coalition for Life in that community. Abby had been a volunteer with Planned Parenthood for three years, and then became an employee for five years, because she believed the recruiter at her college who told her that Planned Parenthood saved women from death in back-street abortion clinics. She firmly believed that her work at PP was to help women avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Until October 24 this past fall, when Abby was asked to assist an abortionist in an ultrasound-guided abortion. As Abby held the ultrasound wand on the woman's abdomen, she viewed the 13-week-old fetus on the screen and watched in horror as she saw the perfectly-formed baby attempt to escape the cannula and, then seconds later, that baby "crumpled" and was gone.
Listen to Abby's story here and the second half here
When I first heard about Abby's conversion to pro-life, we were in the middle of our 40 Days for Life vigil here in Halifax and I was, to tell you the truth, apprehensive that it was all too dramatic, that this woman's change of heart was so sudden and complete that I worried it was too good to be true. So, while I rejoiced that she had left Planned Parenthood, I was not overly enthusiastic as I feared that it might not be a real conversion, that she would simply disappear after a while, and that her conversion would simply be forgotten.
Listening to the interview on Focus on the Family, I became convinced that this indeed was the "real thing", that Abby had really had a complete change of heart, and that God is planning on using this young woman in a very big way for the pro-life movement in America.
What is so heartening about this story is Abby's age and the fact that she went to work for Planned Parenthood out of concern for women. And she was a Christian; as Abby says, she helped with abortions on Saturday and, on Sunday, she went to church with her husband and three-year-old daughter. But she was becoming uncomfortable and, as her boss at Planned Parenthood began to request that she book more abortions, because that is where the money was, Abby began to doubt the real motivations behind the "family planning" mandate of Planned Parenthood.
And then, once modern technology revealed to her the reality of what an abortion does to the child in the womb, she knew that she had to leave her job, even if she had no where to go. In tears, in her office, she looked out the window and saw two women praying outside in the 40 Days for Life vigil that was taking place at her PP facility. She heard God say "go to them" and Abby picked up her jacket and purse, got in her car (to walk over to them was just too obvious) and drove across the street to the house that Coalition for Life just bought last spring. She called them on her cell phone and said "do you have a back door? this is Abby from Planned Parenthood". Shawn Carney said that, when he walked in and met her, Abby was in tears and Shawn realised right away that this was a conversion that was just like a Biblical one, and that he had to protect Abby from what might be coming at her. The story is unfolding in a most amazing way and I am so encouraged to hear Abby speak. She has a maturity beyond her years and I believe that God will use her mightily in this time to bring many hearts and minds to the pro-life view that all life from conception is to be protected. As Abby says in the interview "no problem, no pregnancy, is too big for God to handle".
The video gives you a few shots of the March for Life in Washington, DC last Friday. Notice the number of young people, mainly students and young adults. A reporter for the Washington Post went to cover the March and he expected to see a crowd of 60-year-olds, still protesting Roe v Wade which was passed 37 years ago. Instead he found a new generation of activists who are deeply committed to overturning Roe v Wade and who want America to become, once again, a pro-life nation.
Read Robert McCartney's article
"We are the pro-life generation," said signs carried by the crowd, about half its members appearing to be younger than 30... Activists who support abortion rights conceded that there's less energy among young people on their side of the debate.... Young people in the March for Life said they thought they were more opposed to abortion than people in their parents' generation because they had more information about the issue, in part because of their education.... "I've seen the pain that abortion causes women," said Michelle Fabian, youth minister of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Lancaster County, Pa. She said her mother still "can't listen to a vacuum cleaner without shuddering" because it reminds her of the equipment used when she had an abortion before Fabian was born.
When feelings run that raw, this issue could stir controversy for 37 years more. - Robert McCartney, Washington Post, Jan 24, 2010
The way things are moving right now, we may not have to wait 37 years.