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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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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