Abby Johnson

Confessions of a former Planned Parenthood director

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To any woman I convinced to have an abortion, I am sorry. I am sorry that we did not tell you the truth about abortion. But please know that healing is possible.

I talked her into getting an abortion. And then I ran into her at the store.

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I used to have a standard line that I would ask people if I thought I recognized them. “Do I look familiar to you?” I would ask. I used to ask that question at least once a week, but I haven’t asked anyone that in at least four years.  

Four years ago, I saw a woman in a store and I knew that I recognized her.  I could tell that she recognized me, too, because every time we would pass each other she would give me a little smile. 

Finally, I just asked, “Do I look familiar to you?”

She started laughing and said that I did, but she could not figure out where she had seen me before.  As soon as she started talking, I knew. She had sat across from me at my desk at Planned Parenthood. I had talked her into getting an abortion. I remembered her story vividly. She was crying. I was reassuring her, saying things like, “Just because a decision makes us cry, doesn’t mean it’s not the right decision.”

I remember that I was trying to get her out of my office. We had been talking for at least 45 minutes and that was way over my 15 minute maximum for “counseling.” I knew I must have a stack of charts waiting in my box outside. I finally pulled out the final card to hurry this thing along. I told her, “If you don’t have the abortion today, you won’t be able to come back to us for at least a week and it will be more expensive. You don’t want that, do you?”

Reluctantly she said that she was ready to go back for the abortion. Good. My job was done. Every line was signed and every box was checked. 

I am sorry. I am sorry that we did not tell you the truth about abortion. I am sorry that you were deceived by people who you thought you could trust. I am sorry that we didn’t listen to you when you cried in our offices. 

I was now, once again, staring this young woman in the face. I had left Planned Parenthood. I was pro-life. I was sorry that I had done that to her. But what do I say now? I panicked and said, “Well, who knows? Maybe I will see you around again.” I rushed off, feeling ashamed.

I really hoped that would never happen again. But, it did. Several times. Each time, I would look into the woman’s eyes and walk the other way. How could I face these women? My sin was staring at me when I looked at them. I didn’t want to look at that sin. It was too real. 

After a while, it happened less and less. We moved to a different town for my work and I rarely saw people that I recognized from the clinic. And even if I did, I was more confident now. I was okay to tell them who I was and how I knew them. I was now quick to apologize for my part in their abortion. The more I healed, the easier it became. 

About six months ago, I received an email that I wasn’t expecting. My confidence was shaken in just a few seconds. A young woman had come to my clinic when she was just 16. Admittedly, I did not remember her. She told me her story through a message and I was heartbroken for her. She had gotten hooked on drugs, dealt with very serious depression and even attempted suicide after her abortion.

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She blamed me. “You told me I would feel fine after my abortion,” she said. I told her she wouldn’t have any regrets. But she did. She told me that I was the cause of her pain. And while I read her email, I felt that pain. I also felt that shame that I hadn’t experienced in several years. 

I probably read her email at least fifty times. Honestly, I thought about just deleting it…pretending that I hadn’t ever received it. But I knew I couldn’t do that. I had to respond. I had to apologize. After pondering about my response for two days, I finally sat down to write.

I took the blame. I apologized at least ten times in my first response. I didn’t make any excuses. I didn’t justify my words or actions. I just apologized, over and over again. And then I offered help. This young woman, who was now in her early twenties, needed healing. We have now had several conversations through email and phone. I was able to get her connected to a post-abortive healing ministry in her area. She is a different person. And because of her honesty, I am a different person. 

I recently asked a few former abortion clinic workers a question. “If you could go back and say something to a woman who had an abortion in your clinic, what would you say?” The responses were somewhat varied, but all had the same theme. They would tell these women that they were sorry. They would apologize for lying, for misleading them. 

So here is that apology to any post-abortive woman reading this right now. I am sorry. I am sorry that we did not tell you the truth about abortion. I am sorry that you were deceived by people who you thought you could trust. I am sorry that we didn’t listen to you when you cried in our offices. I’m sorry that you were treated like a number and not the beautiful person that you are. I’m sorry for the pain you felt. I’m sorry for any regret that you felt or continue to feel because of our dishonesty. 

As much as I wish I could, I can’t change the past. I can’t change the poor decisions that we have all made. But I can let you know that there are many of us who care about your healing. You don’t have to live with regret, pain and shame. If you haven’t yet, please take that first step and find help. Call your local pro-life group and ask about resources in your area. I have found freedom and healing from my past. You can find that freedom, too.

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Dear Dr. Gatter: I can’t promise you a Lamborghini. But I can promise you your dignity.

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By Abby Johnson

URGENT: Sign the petition demanding that Congress stop Planned Parenthood's illegal and inhuman practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts. Click here.

Dear Dr. Gatter,

Listen, I can’t promise you a Lamborghini. I can’t even promise you a used Ford Focus. But I can promise you something much more valuable…your dignity.

I think I know why you got into the abortion industry. You did it because you believed you were helping women. You probably thought that you were just helping to provide a safe abortion option. After all, without safe abortion, these women would be forced to seek out illegal abortion services. What would that look like for them? Unsterile instruments? Incompetent doctors? Negligent care? That would be absolutely terrible.

What you didn’t know was that your involvement in the abortion industry would mean that you would now be part of what you feared. Abortion clinics are being cited for the things you thought only happened in illegal “back alley” facilities. Legal abortion clinics are being cited for improperly sterilizing their instruments, putting hundreds of women at risk for potentially fatal infections. Clinics are actively participating in Medicaid fraud. Women are dying from legal abortion procedures because of negligent care. Former abortion clinic workers are speaking out about mandatory abortion quotasbotched abortions, and incompetent physicians. This is safe abortion?

Every day you go into work and begin your day. Maybe today is just first trimester abortions. Planned Parenthood says that you should perform each abortion in less than five minutes. Maybe you are always trying to challenge yourself. “How fast can I do this one?” When you first became an abortion provider, you used to introduce yourself to every patient. Now you find that to be a nuisance. The patients don’t care anyway. Now you just hope they are sedated by the time you walk in the room.

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You start the procedure by artificially dilating the patient’s cervix with dilator rods. You hear the woman complaining about the pain. What did they think? Did they think this wasn’t going to be uncomfortable? Once the cervix is dilated, you begin the actual suction procedure. You ask the technician to turn on the suction and you hear the familiar whir. You begin moving the suction machine in and out of the uterus. Small clumps of tissue are sucked into the machine. You are waiting for “the noise”. And then you hear it…a big “thump”.

That thump was the baby’s body slowly moving through the suction tube and hitting the glass container where it will be kept for later. You are finished. Another one down. Another $75.00 added to your paycheck. You get up and move to the next room, where a sedated woman is waiting for you to provide your “service”.

But before you walk into the exam room, you stop by the POC (products of conception) lab. You want to make sure that all of the body parts of your last victim are accounted for. You see them all there: two arms, two legs, a head, and torso. You sign the paper in the POC lab confirming that the “parts were accounted for” and then you move to the next room. Your next patient is waiting. Your next unsuspecting victim is waiting to be killed.

This is why you became a doctor?

I don’t think it is. I think you wanted to be a doctor who healed people. But somehow, you got involved in one of the most corrupt industries in history…the abortion industry. I know the money is good. The pay cut I took when I became pro-life was steep. But I would do it again without question because what I gained was invaluable. My dignity. My self-respect.

When I stopped taking life, I got mine back. I learned what it was to truly help women. I realized that in order to help the woman sitting in front of me, I couldn’t dehumanize her child.

I also got my humanity back. I realize now how dehumanized I had become. Of course I was. I had become part of a machine…a machine that casually takes life day after day. In order to dehumanize the baby we were killing, we had to dehumanize ourselves.

I want to help you find the humanity that has been lost. I wish I could explain to you the freedom and pure joy that you will feel if you leave the abortion industry. But it’s something I can’t really explain…it can only be felt. I believe that you are worthy of redemption. I believe in your inherent dignity, in your worth. Let us at And Then There Were None help you find what you have lost. We are here for you; individually, confidentially and unconditionally.

Call today at 888-570-5501 or email me directly at [email protected].

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Dear Dr. Nucatola: I used to harvest fetal tissue for Planned Parenthood just like you

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By Abby Johnson

URGENT: Sign the petition demanding that Congress stop Planned Parenthood's illegal and inhuman practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts. Click here.

Dear Dr. Nucatola,

I watched the video put out with your face on it. I heard you talking about harvesting fetal body parts. I saw you sip your wine while talking about how to remove an intact fetus. 

I want you to know that I’m not disgusted by you. I’m not disgusted, because I used to be just like you. You see, my former Planned Parenthood clinic used to harvest fetal body parts. I used to sift through their bodies and prepare them for transport to the research lab we were contracted with.

The other day, I learned a new thing that I hate because of my work at the clinic. Dry ice. We used to participate in studies where we would have to collect fetal body parts and ship them to research labs...all for stem cell research. We kept their little bodies cold and preserved by using dry ice. My daughter was really excited to put water on it so she could see the smoke. I stood there and couldn't get the memories of those little bodies out of my mind. My kids were squealing with excitement and I felt like I couldn't move. I had to make a decision in that moment. I could either let my past consume me, or I could repurpose that memory and use it for good. And that’s what I chose to do. I sat down next to the block of ice and watched my kids run around in the smoke.

But that dry ice did cause me to recall that particular part of my work. All of the blood, body parts and extra tissue would be collected into a glass jar. That glass jar would come to me in the POC (products of conception) lab through a “pass through specimen cabinet.” I would take the jar to our sink, dump everything into a huge strainer, rinse out the jar and then rinse the blood out of the strainer. After I had a clean body, I would dump it into the glass baking dish that was sitting on top of an x-ray light box. I would put a little bit of water in the glass dish so that the body parts would float…that made it easier for me to manipulate them.

During the season of tissue harvesting, an intact body was gold. An intact fetal body is considered perfection in the land of fetal tissue research. But dismembered body parts were okay, too…and that is usually what we gave them. I would check the patient’s chart to make sure that they had signed the consent for us to donate their baby’s remains. Almost every woman did, because we made it seem like that by donating, they were helping others…altruism during abortion. If she had consented, then I would gather the parts wanted (usually all of them) and place them in a particular container given to us by the research company. At the end of the day, I would pack all of the containers neatly in the box with dry ice and ship them off.

That was my life, and I did it for eight years. The images of tiny bodies will always be burned in my memory. And in a strange way, I am thankful for that memory as it reminds me what I’m fighting for.

As I watched you on the video, I could almost see myself. After a grueling abortion day, we would all go out for margaritas and Mexican food. We would talk about the day and specific abortion cases. It wasn’t gross to us. We honestly didn’t think anything about it. We would plainly talk about harvesting fetal parts as if we were talking about harvesting a field of corn. That was our normal…and we were proud to live in it. I get the humor. I get how something grotesque to others can seem ordinary.

I understand the world you live in. I understand the blindness. I don’t think you are an evil person. I wasn’t an evil person. But just like I was, you are gravely misguided. I want you to know that I care about you. I have seen the things being said about you. I have seen the hate and vile comments about you. Seeing those things being said about you is honestly heartbreaking for me. I can’t imagine what you are feeling right now. I understand how hurtful people can be. I still receive comments like that sometimes.

But I am not one of those people. And no one involved in our organization, And Then There Were None, sees you as an evil person. We care about you. We want you to find peace. We want you to find true happiness. We know that won’t happen as long as you are involved in Planned Parenthood. We believe that your life matters. We believe that your life holds infinite value and worth. You matter to us. As hard as I fight to save unborn babies, I fight just as hard to save people like you from the grips of the abortion industry.

You can leave. We can help you. I hope you watch this video and see that we are a safe place for you to turn. Call me today at 888-570-5501 or email me directly at [email protected].

You can change your life.

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Thank you, Aaliyah Hart, for bringing light into my life.

The day my boss announced we would start aborting post-viable babies…like this one

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By Abby Johnson

I'll never forget it. We were in a meeting at Planned Parenthood and they were revealing their plans for the largest abortion clinic in the Western Hemisphere.

Everyone was cheering and clapping. I think a couple people were even crying from the joy (?) they felt. Maybe it was joy. Maybe it was their conscience not letting them escape their true sadness that they could never reveal. I don't know.

Either way, it was a big day. We were going to be the leader in abortion services. We were going to be able to schedule 75 abortions per day/6 days a week. We were going to be the abortion giant. In fact, my supervisor kept saying that we were going to "run the largest abortuary in the United States." We would all just crack up because we thought the made up words pro-lifers used were absolutely hilarious. We knew they said them in an attempt to be disrespectful, but we just loved it. The fact that they came up with their own sort of language to describe what we did made us revel in our work. 

Someone asked if we would be expanding our abortion services. What she really meant was whether we would be aborting babies further along in gestation. The answer was not one that I wanted to hear. 

Most prochoicers have a line in the sand concerning abortion. There are very few abortion supporters who believe in abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. Now, you won't hear any of them deviating from the talking points. They would never say that they had a problem with abortions past a certain gestation...but in their heart of hearts, most people do make some sort of distinction. For me and for many others like me at the time, my line in the sand was viability. Once a baby was considered viable outside the mother's womb, I didn't think abortion was right. And as far as I knew, babies weren't viable until at least 24 weeks. 

Then one day I was reading a story in People magazine. Yes, I know...very scientific. Anyway, there was a story in there about a little girl, named Aaliyah Hart who was born at just over 20 weeks gestation, survived and was completely healthy. Well, there went my 24 week line. So now I had to push it back to 20 weeks because of baby Aaliyah. I had proclaimed to everyone (my family, my friends, my coworkers) that I would never work at a facility that terminated babies past the point of viability, which was now 20 weeks. Here’s an article about her birth. 

But then my boss answered this question about "expansion of services." Excitedly, she told everyone that we would now be expanding our services to aborting babies up to 25 weeks gestation. Everyone cheered again...everyone but me.

Oh no. What would this mean for me? We are now talking about viable babies here. I said I would never do that. But I'm going to have to do it. And not only am I going to have to do it, but I'm being groomed to be the next COO of this affiliate...the affiliate that will open the "largest abortuary in the United States." 

Looking back, I think that was the first crack that let light in. I had always believed that I would retire with Planned Parenthood. But I remember going home that day and telling Doug that I wasn't sure if that was going to happen. It was the first time I could imagine not working for Planned Parenthood. 

The other day I was browsing through the internet and noticed an article that was titled "Baby given 1 percent chance of survival turns 12 after mom refuses abortion." That made me think of baby Aaliyah, so I clicked on it. I couldn't believe it. It was a story about her! She had turned 12 and this story had written about her life. You can read it here

That little life that had such a profound impact on mine. Never underestimate the power of anyone's story...anyone's life...even a life so tiny, so fragile. Thank you, Aaliyah Hart, for bringing light into my life.

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He must have felt some shame in what he did. And to be perfectly honest, that breaks my heart. Shutterstock

The super-secret procedures we used at Planned Parenthood to hide the identity of our abortionist

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By Abby Johnson

I'm sharing this story with you, fully aware of how ridiculous it now sounds. 

When I worked for Planned Parenthood we had a specific protocol that we had to follow when picking up our abortion doctor. Looking back, I realize how crazy this was, but at the time, I felt like I was a part of some super secret high-level security task force. 

Our abortion doctor worked full-time with a university. Per his contract with them, he was not allowed to have any other paid positions. If he did, he had to give a percentage of that money to the university. Our doctor certainly didn't want to do that, so he needed us to be very secretive with his identity. We couldn't give out his name to our patients...if they asked for his name, we would give a fake name. He would come into the procedure room with a full head covering on and a mask that shielded his entire face. He didn't want to take a chance that he could be recognized by one of the patients. He even would sometimes introduce himself with this fake name we had given him.  

The primary problem was all of those pro-lifers outside. If they found out who he was, they could turn him in and get him fired for breach of contract. We were much more worried about the pro-lifers finding out his identity...after all, the patients were sedated and usually didn't remember much. 

We had a piece of paper that detailed our pick-up points for the doctor. He was from a town about three hours away, so he would come in the night before, stay at a hotel under an anonymous name and then we would pick him up at one of our "safe" locations. Usually, we would pick him up from a different hotel parking lot. So, "Point H" was the Hilton parking lot. "Point M" was the Marriott. "Point D" was the Holiday Inn. "Point B" was a bank parking lot. Only two people in our clinic had the super secret "point locations" list...me and my boss. 

The day before "abortion day," my boss would send our doctor a message that said "pick up at point m. bluefish." It may say "bluefish." It may say "airplane." It may say "fire hydrant." That word was our secret word that only the driver, the doctor and my boss would know. I would have to say that word before he got in my car.  

The next morning would be "abortion day." I would pick up breakfast for the staff, drop it off at the clinic, help get the rooms ready for the day, grab a bed sheet (I'll explain later) and head to our meeting point. I would drive around for several miles before I actually went to the pick up spot to make sure that I wasn't being followed. Once I confirmed that no one was tailing me, I would head to pick up the doctor. I would pull in the parking lot and find the doctor's car. He would walk up to my car and I would roll down the window and give him our secret word. He would then get in the backseat of my car, lay down and cover himself up with the sheet that I picked up earlier. We would then drive around for a little bit just to, once again, make sure no one was following me. Then I would make the call to my boss to let her know that they needed to prepare for our arrival. 

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We had a wooden privacy gate that opened to a small parking space at the side of our building. This was also where our back door was located. Two people would be assigned to go out and hold the wooden gate open so I could pull into the space without interruption. We would then sit in the car until the gate was closed and a sheet was held up between my car and the back door...that way, none of the pesky protestors could get a photo of his face. He would then quickly jump out of the backseat of my car, cover his head with the sheet that had previously covered his whole body and run in the back door. We would then repeat this charade at the end of the day when he needed to go back to his car. 

Silly, right? It absolutely was. But it was worth it to him. He was bringing home $3k-$4k per "abortion day." And we had to do whatever we could to "protect" our doctor. We needed him. Abortion doctors are hard to come by. 

While I know we originally did this because we were trying to protect his job at the university, I know it was much more than that. Because eventually, he did lose his job at the university. He went on to run a urogynecological clinic. They didn't have a problem with him working another part-time job...yet the pick-up procedure never changed.

I can only conclude that is because he truly didn't want people to know that he was an abortion provider. He must have felt some shame in what he did. And to be perfectly honest, that breaks my heart. I often wonder about him and question why he continued to perform these procedures if he knew, somewhere down in his heart, he shouldn't have been doing them. I'm guessing it was the money. He had a daughter in college and he was paying for her education with the money he made at our clinic. But, I also think that somewhere in his soul he felt like he was helping these women. Maybe he had to tell himself that so that he could keep doing it over and over again. He was a father. He was a nice person. He was a brilliant urogynecologist. He delivered babies. He wasn't what you may imagine when you think of an abortionist. But yet, as smart as he was, as kind as he appeared, he bought into the lie. 

I think we in the pro-life movement have done a fantastic job of humanizing the unborn. Of course the unborn are fully human. And because of that, they should be protected with equal human rights. We have said it over and over again. We have shown graphic images. We have helped women connect with their unborn babies via ultrasound. We have discussed the development of the unborn child. We know so much about them because of science and medical technology.

But somehow through this incredible humanization of the unborn, we have dehumanized those who work in the abortion industry. Why? Because we need someone to blame. Abortion is so heinous, so unthinkable to so many people. Someone has to be at fault. Certainly it isn't the mother. She has fallen victim to our culture of death. She believed society when they told her that the most compassionate thing she could do for her unwanted child was to take its life. Of course she believed it. That message is everywhere. And we know that we can't save the child unless we love the mother, so blaming her would only hasten the death of the baby. 

So who's left? The abortion workers! They are to blame. But believe it or not, they have also fallen victim to our culture of death. They have been told that they are helping women. And we believed it because the women we "helped" would often come back to thank us...profusely. We were their heroes. We were their saviors. How could it be wrong if we had helped so many? 

What we didn't see were those same women five years down the road...when they are holding their "wanted" child in their arms for the first time. Would they be thinking of the child they aborted? The hole in their heart that they can't seem to fill? We didn't see them twenty years down the road when they held their first grandchild...still aching for the child they lost in the name of "choice." Pondering how many grandchildren they will miss because of that one procedure so many years ago. Or sixty years down the road...as their lives come to an end. Would they have lived their whole lives with that same hole, that same emptiness that they could never seem to fill?

We were all blinded. Not because we were bad people, but simply because we were mindless. Mindlessness. That is the rampant state of being inside the abortion industry. And when you become mindful, that is when you decide to leave. 

I hope you will join me in our efforts to bring abortion to an end by the power of conversion. No one is beyond the power of conversion, because no one is beyond the power of truth. So far, six abortion doctors have put down their abortion instruments for good with the help of our organization. We know many more will follow them. Please join us in our fight for souls at www.abortionworker.com

Let's work together to erase mindlessness.

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Abby Johnson

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Abby Johnson is the former director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Bryan, Texas. After witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion, Abby converted to the pro-life cause. She is now a leading defender of the unborn. Since leaving Planned Parenthood, Abby has founded a non-profit called And Then There Were None, which specializes in reaching out to men and women in the abortion industry, and providing them with the spiritual, financial, and logistical help that they need to exit the industry. 

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