Kathleen Gilbert

Former Planned Parenthood director admits: I had two ‘traumatic’ abortions

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert
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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a webcast announcing Tuesday’s release of her tell-all book, Abby Johnson, a Texas Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life advocate, disclosed that she herself has undergone two abortions. She described the abortions as “traumatic” and said that they ultimately laid the foundation of her mistrust in Planned Parenthood’s claim of making abortion “rare” through increased contraceptive availability.

Abby Johnson, who had directed a Bryan, Texas clinic, and who converted after assisting in an ultrasound-guided abortion on a 13-week gestation child, described to the nearly 22,000 people attending the Internet broadcast Monday how she underwent the procedure in 2000 and 2003 - both times while on contraception. “I didn’t think I was a person who would choose abortion, but in the end I did,” she said, echoing the sentiments of MTV star Markai Durham, whose reality-TV abortion experience made waves last month.

She says she remembers little about her first abortion, a surgical procedure, and that until now she dared not speak about it. “I never talked about it with anyone ... I suffered that burden alone.” When she became pregnant again despite continuing to contracept, she said, “I remember feeling just like the ultimate failure.” She said about the medical abortion she underwent to get rid of that baby that “if not the worst, it was one of the worst experiences of my life ... physically and emotionally.”

“It was a traumatic experience for me,” she said, noting that she “suffered very terribly” physically for 8 weeks after taking the abortion drug. While she says she went back to volunteer at Planned Parenthood to help justify the abortion, “on the inside I was still feeling like I had failed as a woman, my body had failed me, God had failed me ... it was just an overwhelming sense of failure.” Based upon her experience counseling abortion-bound women, she said, “that’s pretty much the consensus.”

Johnson’s new book, Unplanned, is available for purchase Tuesday. David Bereit, host of the webcast and National Campaign Director of 40 Days for Life, said he was confident that Abby’s message about the truth of the abortion industry would be a “turning point moment that will mark the beginning of the end of abortion.”

Johnson revealed on the webcast that she began volunteering at Planned Parenthood in college despite knowing hardly anything about the organization - and was only drawn to their booth for superficial reasons. “Honestly, it was the hot pink. That was my favorite color, and the booth was drowning in hot pink,” she said.

That encounter started her on a journey into the heart of the abortion industry that she concealed from her pro-life parents for a year and a half; by the time Abby left her volunteer position, she says, she was being groomed to become COO of Houston’s Southeast Texas Planned Parenthood facility.

However, her experience of aborting twice despite having used contraception made her begin to question her employer’s talking point of making abortion more “rare” by distributing more contraceptives. When she counseled women at the clinic, Johnson found that “almost all of them were contracepting, but they were choosing abortion. And I just thought, what is happening here, what is going on?”

“It didn’t make sense to me. It didn’t seem like our goal of expanding use of contraceptives was actually reducing the number of abortions, but I thought ... it makes sense on paper, it makes sense when I say it, it has to make sense practically,” she said. “But I wasn’t seeing that when I was counselling these women.”

Although studies http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/new-study-links-contraception-hike-with-increased-abortions have backed Johnson’s intuition about the relationship between more contraception and more abortion, the claim that contraception decreases the abortion rate continues to be a top talking point of Planned Parenthood. 

Johnson recounted how Planned Parenthood’s obsession with expanding abortion, both through increasing monthy quotas and through the use of dangerous telemedicine-like medical abortions, was beginning to make her uneasy. Her employers had mapped out “green dots” of non-abortion-providing Planned Parenthood clinics, and abortion-providing “red dots,” on a map of America.

“Their specific goal was to turn every green dot into a red dot,” she said. “That was their goal. Their goal was abortion training and turning every green dot into a red dot.”

Johnson shared several other details, including her insights on the essential work of pro-life sidewalk counselors, how she finally broke free of the industry, and her bitter showdown with her former employer as the abortion giant tried to silence her in court.

The former abortion clinic director challenged other Planned Parenthood employees and abortion supporters listening to the webcast to question why their work carries such a stigma.

“It is difficult to staff people in [Planned Parenthood’s] industry. They have a very high turnover rate. People are beginning to see an abortion for what it is - the taking of a human life,” she said. “There is a peace and there is a joy that you can have .... You don’t know what it feels like. ... You’re probably embarrassed to say what you actually do. You don’t have to be embarrassed anymore. ... You can come to a side of the fence where there is compassion and love and healing.”

Johnson also encouraged pro-abortion listeners to “try to criticize this book, try to find something that is not true in your life or in the abortion clinic where you work. I bet you’ll have a hard time.”

Johnson’s book is a joint project of Tyndale Press, the largest Christian publishing company, Focus on the Family, and Ignatius Press. Ignatius Press is offering a special edition with bonus content, including a forward by Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, and an introduction by David Bereit.

Webcast host David Bereit said the book was bound to send “shockwaves” through the abortion industry.


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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