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What if things had been different? What if my pastor had spoken up? What if people had been outside that clinic where I had my first abortion? What if that church hadn’t given me the boot? What if…

I wrote in my book, “unPlanned,” about a church that kicked me out when they found out that I worked for Planned Parenthood. I often get questioned about that, whether I still think they made the wrong decision. My answer is a resounding YES.

I try not to go down the “what if” road very often. It isn’t fruitful and just makes you feel crummy. But, just for the sake of this article, let’s go there.

What if I had been ministered to instead of shunned by that church? How could my life be different? Well, maybe I would have realized that abortion was actually going against God’s Word. Maybe I would have sat down with my parents and had an honest discussion about their beliefs. Maybe I would have really connected with a group of pro-life women who could have mentored me during that time. Maybe I would have left. Maybe I would never have been an abortion clinic director. Maybe I wouldn’t be responsible for the deaths of more than 20,000 babies. What if…

If the church doesn’t minister to sinners, then who will? And guess what? Every church across this planet is full of sinners…every single one of them. Shocking, I know. We all sin. We all can change. We all can be reborn in Christ. But the church has fallen down on the job.

If the church doesn’t stand up against this evil, then who will? Enough with worrying about “who we will offend.” Somehow our Christian churches have become more worried about offending their congregation than they are about offending God. Shame on us.

Let’s do some more “what ifs.”

What if people of faith had been standing outside that abortion clinic that I went for my first abortion in 2000? You see, I walked in alone. My boyfriend dropped me off at the curb. Not a soul was outside…but the waiting area inside was standing-room only. What if someone had been there to reach out to me at that time of confusion in my life? Maybe I would have turned to them instead of the abortion clinic. Maybe I would have had the courage to talk to my parents about my situation. Maybe I wouldn’t have killed my first child.

The day of my first abortion was when the evil of abortion entered my life. If I had chosen life that day, maybe I would have never have signed up to volunteer for Planned Parenthood…

What if I had grown up in a church where abortion was talked about frequently from the pulpit? Maybe I would never have even chosen to have sex before marriage. But if I did, maybe I would have known that abortion was not an option when I had my first unplanned pregnancy. What if the sin of abortion had never entered my life…

The first day that I drove into Planned Parenthood to volunteer is a scene that I will never forget. A guy dressed up like the grim reaper. A man standing with a HUGE sign that said “There is blood on your hands if you kill your baby.” A group of people yelling at me as I got out of my car…saying that I was a baby killer. A man holding a 5-foot tall graphic sign of a baby’s head after an abortion. And a tiny voice that I couldn’t even hear over the yelling, offering help to women walking in. What if those aggressive protestors had not been there? I remember pulling up, listening to their cruel words and seeing their crazy behavior and thinking, “Wow. If this is the Christian pro-life movement, then I don’t want ANY part of that.” What if there had only been loving voices, like that tiny voice I heard, out there on that sidewalk, offering help and hope? Maybe I would have realized that Planned Parenthood had not been honest with me…that we weren’t “saving” these women…that the pro-lifers weren’t the enemy. Maybe if things had been different that very first day…

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At one of our recent healing retreats for former abortion worker, I heard a story from a woman there that made me disgusted and heartbroken.

This woman had gotten involved with the abortion industry when she was 16. She didn’t like abortion, but her mom had severe mental illness and couldn’t work. Her dad was out of the picture. She had to work to support herself, her younger siblings and her mother. They were living in squalor. The only thing keeping them out of a homeless shelter and off the street was this girl’s small paycheck from the abortion clinic.

She had been a long time member of a Christian church in her area. Her pastor and other members of her church knew the poverty they lived in. The pastor had personally visited their home. When the church leaders found out that she was working at the abortion clinic, they sat her down and told her that she was no longer welcome there. There was no, “Hey listen, I know things are tough for you. How can we help you get a better job? How can we help you support your family? How can we help with your mother and your siblings? How can we minister to you? How can we get you out of that job and into something better?” Nope. Just a quick kick out the door. No ministry. No witness. Just dismissal.

Wow. I wonder how different her life would have been if her church would have done the right thing? We will never know. But as it is now, this woman has terrible flashbacks, nightmares and PTSD because of her work in the abortion industry. I am just so thankful that she is connected with our ministry so she can finally get the help that she needed…help that should have come when she was a 16-year-old child.

Churches, it’s time to stand up. It’s time to speak up. It’s time to minister to the hurting, to the wounded and YES, to the sinner. Do you have to vote them in as a deacon or the choir director? No. But you should be willing to minister to those who need it…without judgment and without condemnation.

What if our churches actually spoke on the truth of abortion? Maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today…

– 1.2 million abortions per year
– 3,300 abortions per day
– 1 in 3 women having abortions in this country
– 50% of African American pregnancies ending in abortion
– Almost 70% of women seeking abortions coming from our churches

What if?

I remember speaking for a Catholic conference one time. I had spoken some really hard truth to the priests in the audience. A few of them didn’t like that too much and one came up to me after the event to express his aggravation. Here was our conversation.

Priest: “I just think you are blowing things out of proportion. I mean, how much do we REALLLLLY need to talk about abortion in our churches?” *sarcastic tone*
Me: “Well Father, I don’t know the answer to that. But I remember women lying on the abortion clinic table with a blood pressure cuff on one arm and a rosary in their other hand. I remember women reading their Bibles as they sat waiting for us to call them for their abortion appointment. I remember women asking us to pray with them before we started the abortion procedure. So, why don’t you tell me how much this needs to be talked about in our churches?”
Priest: “Oh, I didn’t know.”
Me: “Well, now you do. No more excuses.”
Priest: *silence*

If the church doesn’t stand up against this evil, then who will? Enough with worrying about “who we will offend.” Somehow our Christian churches have become more worried about offending their congregation than they are about offending God. Shame on us.

Pastors, you are the shepherds of your flock…lead them. They are waiting for you to lead them. They are desperate for you to lead them. If you have an abortion clinic in your town, you better be out there praying at it. If there are pregnancy centers in your area, your church better be supporting them. You are accountable, as a clergy member, more than anyone else. LEAD YOUR FLOCK. If you lead, they will follow.

And everyone else, stop with the apathy. Stop with the excuses. Get out there at your local abortion clinic and pray. There is nothing to be scared of. And fear doesn’t come from God anyway. Don’t let satan keep you from doing God’s work. BE the hands and feet of Christ. BE pro-life…don’t just say it.

What if things had been different? What if my pastor had spoken up? What if people had been outside that clinic where I had my first abortion? What if that church hadn’t given me the boot? What if…

Don’t live your life with those questions. What if you had gone out to that clinic? What if you worked to start a pro-life group in your church? What if you volunteered at that pregnancy center? Maybe you could have saved a life…or many lives. Don’t live a life of “what ifs.” Strive to live a life of action.

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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.