By Kathleen Gilbert
BRYAN, Texas, November 2, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The director of the Texas Planned Parenthood abortion mill where the 40 Days for Life campaign began has resigned, saying she experienced a conversion after watching an ultrasound video of a child being killed by abortion.
"I just thought I can't do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that's it," said Abby Johnson in an interview with local news network KBTX 3.
Johnson had been affiliated with Bryan's Planned Parenthood facility for eight years, and worked as its director for two. She said she began to feel uncomfortable with Planned Parenthood's business philosophy after the organization, suffering from the economic downturn, told her to try to bring more abortions in the door. "The money wasn't in family planning, the money wasn't in prevention, the money was in abortion and so I had a problem with that," said Johnson.
But the turning point for Johnson was reportedly when she witnessed an actual ultrasound image of an abortion being performed on an unborn child.
"I feel so pure in heart. I don't have this guilt, I don't have this burden on me anymore," said Johnson. "And that's how I know that this conversion was a spiritual conversion."
Johnson resigned on October 6th, near the beginning of Bryan's sixth annual 40 Days for Life campaign, and she has since joined up with the nearby Coalition for Life to begin praying near her old workplace. Coalition for Life is the local group that began 40 Days for Life, the national prayer and fasting campaign that was ongoing at the time of Johnson's resignation.
"This is by far the most amazing thing that has happened to the Coalition for Life throughout its entire history ... we thank God!" wrote Coalition for Life director Shawn Carney, who has been working with Johnson since her resignation, on the group's website.
40 Days for Life national director David Bereit said that Johnson's "amazing conversion demonstrates the importance of a constant, peaceful prayer presence in front of abortion facilities."
"From that first campaign in 2004, we've prayed for Abby - and for all abortion workers - that they would come to see what abortion really is, and that they would leave the deadly business. In this case, those prayers have been answered," said Bereit. "We are so proud of Abby's courage to leave the abortion industry and publicly announce her reasons for leaving."
The story is receiving broad attention after it was posted on the Drudge Report website today.
Planned Parenthood reacted with legal action on Friday by filing for a temporary restraining order, seeking to prevent Johnson and the Coalition for Life from disclosing confidential information. "We regret being forced to turn to the courts to protect the safety and confidentiality of our clients and staff; however, in this instance it is absolutely necessary," said Planned Parenthood in a statement.
A hearing for the restraining order has been set for November 10.
Johnson is one of eight abortion industry workers who left their jobs during the fifth coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign that concluded yesterday in 212 cities. She was the highest-ranking of the eight. Others who quit their clinic jobs included nurses, office staffers and security personnel.
In addition, a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Kalispell, Montana announced that it will close its doors on November 20, citing a decline in business as the reason for the closure. That clinic was the site of a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil this past spring.