UNPLANNED by Abby Johnson, Ignatius Press edition, 2010, pp. 288. Hardback. ISBN 978-1-4143-4835-3. Available from www.ignatiuspress.com. Phone: 1-800-651-1531 (U.S. toll-free).
In July 1917, as the slaughter on the Western front still raged, Our Lady of Fatima reminded mortal men that war is God's punishment for sin. Futhermore, an even worse conflict together with the rise of poverty-stricken Christian Russia as a global atheistic scourge would follow, she told the children, if men did not return to God. They did not. And so it all came to pass.
If we fail to comprehend the ongoing dissolution of Western nations in this Heavenly light – as godless cause and effect writ large – then we understand nothing at all about abortion-on-demand and what is required to end it. For the war on children in the womb, like all the atheistic culture wars against truth, goodness and life in which we are presently engaged, is a profoundly spiritual conflict.
It doesn't seem that way, of course. The untold millions of pre-born babies annually done to death worldwide, 600 each and every day in Britain alone, are dismembered or poisoned in the womb out of sight of polite society. Numerically the holocaust to end all holocausts, it is also the most sophisticated production-line extermination of human beings that Satan has yet whispered in the ears of fallen men. Oceans of carnage, blood and death pour forth daily in abortuaries and suburban homes, by way of "surgery" or deadly chemical compounds ingested by mothers themselves. Yet there is barely a murmur from the press, politicians or pulpits. Hence the pervasive ignorance and indifference. Relatively few even know there is an unprecedented physical war being waged for human life, let alone perceive its spiritual essence: a struggle for the life of souls. These Satan detests, since they are made in the image and likeness of the Incarnate God he refused to acknowledge and adore.
Truly, when it comes to abortifacient contraception and abortion, a "mute and deaf spirit" has surely seized the entire world and is holding it hostage to the Devil. Ultimately, therefore, only prayer and prayerful action can set it free.
Jesus "rebuked the unclean spirit" that possessed the young boy, saying to it, "'Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!' Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out." When the disciples asked Him, "Why could we not drive it out?" He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer" [Mk 9:14-29].
It pained Jesus deeply that His own followers did not take Him at His word in this regard. Exasperated, He rebuked them rhetorically: "O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you?" And to the boy's father who said to Him, "if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us," Jesus responded just as indignantly: "'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith."
Living proof of this supernatural reality and the spiritual battle for hearts and minds can be found in Unplanned, the dramatic story of a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, Abby Johnson, whose pro-life conversion owed everything to the grace won by the unrelenting prayers of Texan pro-lifers with whom she had locked horns for years. Above and beyond its many fascinating insights, not least its compassionate portrayal of those caught up in the abortion industry, this powerful testimony confirms that faith and persevering prayer are the keys to all efforts aimed at exorcising that stubborn spirit of wickedness which blinds and deafens the advocates of abortion-on-demand.
As with so many women, that spirit had taken deep and unobtrusive root in the idealistic Abby Johnson a year before she happened across a Planned Parenthood recruitment stall at university. It was in the form of "a secret" – an abortion that she had "buried deep, so deep I never let it rise to conscious thought." In fact she was in denial and operating on autopilot from the moment her boyfriend picked her up after the abortion:
Thus, she was quickly won over by Jill, the attractive, smooth talking Planned Parenthood representative who filled her head with the usual pro-abort clichés about "dangerous back-alley butchers" vs. safe legal abortion, and judgemental pro-lifers endangering vulnerable women. "Well, that's just barbaric, I thought, shocked. ... I decided there on the spot. I'm getting involved in this. I can help make abortion rare... This is good for women, good for the community, and perfect for me. I'd like to volunteer, I announced. How do I sign up?" Reflecting on that fatal encounter, she writes:
The "War Zone"
Gathered outside the six-foot high iron fence encircling the building and parking lot, Abby observed an eclectic group: "college-age kids stood praying together with heads bowed"; "two young moms with strollers simply stood and looked on"; a middle-aged couple who walked the fence speaking to clients being escorted toward the clinic door; a man dressed up as the Grim Reaper "occasionally waving his scythe in the air"; another man "strolling back and forth carrying a big handmade sign crudely lettered 'MURDERERS' in red paint"; a woman "waving a huge placard with a picture of an aborted fetus on it "marching back and forth, raising and lowering it like she was on parade"; and "a young couple holding a simple sign that read "CHOOSE LIFE."
Charged on this first morning with helping her "trainer" escort the women arriving for abortions into the clinic while diverting their attention from pro-life counsellors offering them alternatives to killing their baby, Abby was alarmed. "It was like a face-off through the fence. A war zone. The tension in the air was palpable."
The overreaction of her trainer to the pro-lifers merely engaging the "clients" in calm and quiet conversation and offering them literature immediately set her wondering. "If we are pro-choice, I thought, then we believe in women making their own choices, right? So why do we feel the need to protect clients from conversations about their choices? What does it hurt if they hear information and make the choice to leave? We want them to consider their alternatives and to make the decision that's right for them. Right?"
Yet these common sense ruminations, the beginning of wisdom, never took root. They were trumped by the sight of the Grim Reaper, the blood-red letters spelling out MURDERERS and "the marching woman with the horrid photo." To Abby, "these people hardly seemed balanced, helpful, or reasonable. Clearly they had an agenda of their own. They aren't here offering women choices, I thought. They just don't want them to choose abortion. I thought of the professional demeanor of the clinic director, Cheryl; the sparkling clean office inside with clinicians, a doctor, ultrasound equipment. all of the professionals able to offer cancer screening and STD testing. Surely we were on the right side, weren't we?"
Adding to this mix of conflicting thoughts and feelings, her first personal contact with the supposedly 'unbalanced' pro-lifers on the other side of the fence was a positive experience. As she was leaving after her first two-hour shift that morning, a young woman about Abby's age introduced herself. "Hi, I'm Marilisa. I don't think I've seen you here before." When she enquired if Abby knew they performed abortions at the clinic, Abby suddenly and unexpectedly let her guard down:
But that was all to come. At the outset, after weighing up all that she had experienced on her first day, and certain that she did not need help from Marilisa or anyone else, she convinced herself of the nobility of "defending and helping women": saving them from dangerous illegal abortions and "those hostile pro-lifers" on the other side of the fence. The young Abby had found a "cause."
By explaining the mindset of the pro-abortion advocate, Unplanned broadens and humanises our view of those who embrace this deadly "cause." Understandably, this goes against the pro-life grain. We tend to attribute all kinds of base motives to those involved in the baby-killing trade. Well documented ties between organised crime and the abortion industry confirm our worst fears. Beyond the myriad vested interests and the abortionists themselves, however, are idealistic staff, volunteers and supporters like Abby who do not start out as careerists in a lucrative franchise. They are well-meaning but completely won over by spurious pro-choice slogans. "In truth, nearly all of my colleagues worked in the clinic because of a sincere desire to help women," she says, "and many, like me, were drawn in spite of, not because of, abortion." Nonetheless, once caught in the Planned Parenthood net, its constantly reinforced mantras soon took their toll.
Abby recalls the high excitement of her first (2003) experience of Planned Parenthood's bi-annual lobbying of the state legislature in Austin, the Texas capital:
Given her "packet of talking points" to hammer home to legislators, Abby was soon spouting the all too familiar lines like an automaton:
Riding home from Austin that night in a bus filled with fellow supporters, Abby had "never before felt such a connection with others. It was a bond that would continue to grow" – fuelled and propelled by further personal traumas: a pending divorce and another abortion. Against the sadness of her failed marriage she felt "valuable and wanted at the clinic." While her work there and the insidious mantras she was "reinforcing in the minds of other young women" helped to rationalise her abortion. "What I saw... as part of the Planned Parenthood organization, was that I was in a condition of pregnancy, not that I was now the mother of a child already dependent upon my own body for sustenance. I am amazed at how semantics can shape thought." She further reflects:
Yet all this pain served only to further misdirect her youthful energy and enthusiasm, as she returned to school to complete a psychology major. "In the aftermath of my grief-filled spring, I'd determined to move forward and overcome my failures. I knew I wanted to give to others, perhaps as a counselor or therapist, or maybe through the Peace Corps or teaching. Whatever I chose, I decided, I was going to be a leader and would fight for those who needed advocates.... now that I had a sense of direction, I threw myself into my studies with a passion."
In this passage we glimpse the most powerful and destructive motivational force of our day: liberal guilt. Baby-killing franchises like Planned Parenthood and their affiliates are all powered by generations of women suppressing guilty secrets like those guarded by Abby Johnson. Their dedication to the Culture of Death, despite the constant flow of murderous evidence paraded before them, is a rationalisation of their own complicity. On her ability to hold "irreconcilable perspectives with no need to resolve them" (like "working for an abortion clinic while telling myself I was a champion of decreasing abortions") Abby herself comments that "self-deception is a powerful force." Michael Jones explains:
Accordingly, Abby had adjusted her Christian morality to suit her ungodly "cause." Rather than seek repentance, she sought to justify herself and salve her conscience by helping others, becoming ever more involved with Planned Parenthood both on campus and at the clinic. "Whenever the school held a health fair, I'd set up a table to equip students with health information. I talked to students about STD and HIV screening as well as contraception alternatives. I loved my new Planned Parenthood role, and it seemed to fit perfectly with my desire to counsel and teach." A classic pattern, as Jones points outs:
Effectively, Abby became a fellow traveller of the feminist sexual revolutionaries who destroyed their own babies and built a political empire by projecting their bad conscience onto everyone else in the name of "Liberation." Since leaving home for college her regular church attendance and prayer life had suffered. Unwittingly, she swapped her Christian faith for the religion of Liberalism. This corrosive creed allowed her to maintain conflicting and contradictory ideas: such as personally opposing abortion yet having two herself and fighting for the right of others to do likewise. And yet she clung to her religious roots, shopping around for a Protestant church sufficiently liberal to accommodate her schizophrenic worldview, while trying to convince her pro-life family "– or more likely myself – that the clinic was doing God's work."
Despite her Christian pretensions, Abby, like her Catholic colleagues at the clinic and all so-called Christian women who live according to liberal nostrums, had become a Christian In Name Only [CINO]. Choosing instead the rebellious "option of Antichrist," as Jones puts it, she attempted "to turn deliberately away from the truth and make wrong right." Thus, spiritually indistinguishable from those who do not recognise Christ and His atoning power at all, she became just another cog in the politics of "liberal guilt."
"The reality of man apart from Christ," writes Rousas J. Rushdoony, "is guilt and masochism. And guilt and masochism involve an unshakeable inner slavery which governs the total life of the non-Christian. The politics of the anti-Christian [or CINO] will thus inescapably be the politics of guilt." Perpetually drained by "his overriding sense of guilt and masochistic activity, he will progressively demand of the state a redemptive role. What he cannot do personally, i.e. to save himself, he demands that the state do for him. ... The politics of guilt, therefore, is not directed, as the Christian politics of liberty, to the creation of godly justice and order, but to the creation of a redeeming order, a saving state. Guilt must be projected, therefore, on all those who oppose this new order and new age" [The Politics of Guilt and Pity, 1970].
Abby's euphoric mood during Planned Parenthood's "Lobby Day" at the state legislature in Austin, her embrace of their "cause" and hostile reaction to the pro-lifers who opposed and exposed it with their graphic placards, all speak to the truth of this underlying reality and her complicity in a murderous mass movement. "Guilt has not only become endemic; it has become a powerful political tool," wrote Michael Jones twenty years ago. "Guilt is the engine engine that pulls the liberal train. ... All the liberal causes are orchestrations, in one way or another, of the pool of guilt that has been building throughout this century."
It continues to accumulate.
"40 Days for Life"
She particularly liked the gentle Mr Orozco. A retired policeman who never missed a Wednesday or Saturday morning of pro-life witness, he stood at precisely the same spot for an hour and would always greet her warmly, saying: "Hi, Abby, how are you today? I hope you have a wonderful day," or "Beautiful day today, isn't it, Abby? Isn't the sunshine wonderful?"
Those who have borne pro-life witness at the sharp end, enduring the nasty and sometimes physically violent reactions of abortuary staff to peaceful protest, might question the point of Mr Orozco's undemanding outreach. But this human touch enabled Abby to view "the enemy" in a civil and even friendly light that other clinic staff, who routinely misrepresented the Coalition and called the police for no good reason, could not countenance. "I'd watched them at the fence for a long time. I was convinced they cared about these women, just like we did," she concluded, despite confrontations and caustic exchanges with "the enemy" and even receiving death threats from unknown rogue elements.
Abby appreciated the way in which the Coalition leaders like the Carneys and David Bereit had gently banished the Grim Reaper and other confrontational figures who angered her, gradually transforming the ragtag bunch of pro-lifers into an organised, peaceful, prayer-centred force. "I still thought they were dead wrong ideologically, but I respected their good intentions."
In August 2004, as part of this transformation, the Coalition for Life had knocked on the doors of 25,000 homes in the city of Bryan, saying to each householder: "We're doing a simple campaign. We're asking people to pray for an end to abortion." Soon after, on 1 September, the Coalition launched the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign. Its impact was dramatic. Abby recounts:
The media soon showed up and, per usual, the worried Planned Parenthood leadership, both at the clinic and Houston headquarters, began painting themselves as under siege from "antiabortion protesters converging in demonstrations to harass our volunteers and clients." Police were called to "protect the workers and staff."
Still just a part-time volunteer, this perplexed Abby. "I didn't like the feeling that we were surrounded by a 24/7 campaign either, but after all, it's not like they were firing guns or bombs at us – they were praying, for goodness' sake. How could that hurt? But the tension inside the clinic mounted."
On the other hand, she appreciated the stress it might be causing the full-time workers. "After all, forty days and forty nights – those are biblical proportions! That's a long time to be surrounded nonstop by a large group of people who disagree with you but are so persistently... well... nice about it. It created an atmosphere I couldn't quite articulate."
As a believer, she also wondered: "how could I be unhappy about people praying?" The campaign made her question her own prayer life, which "had been steadily drying up. I argued to myself that I should welcome these prayers. Many of the pro-lifers said things like 'I'm praying for you today,' and 'I hope you have a peace-filled day' as I walked to and from my car."
On the other hand, she resented the implication that God was on their side and not hers:
The Power of Perfect Charity
Even at the best of times, "Love your enemies" is easier said than done. To observe it while treading water in a wild and fathomless sea of wickedness, face-to-face with the baby-killers, is more difficult still. The urge to pay lip service to the command while actually treating it as an inconvenience – an obstacle to our urgent awakening of the soporific masses to the workaday genocide, at any cost – is perfectly understandable. Yet Forty Days for Life campaigners resisted this pragmatic temptation to reduce the divine injunction to an empty slogan: a mere "ideal." Far from obstructive or impossible, they viewed Our Lord's exhortation as both the Christian norm and foundation of pro-life success. In following His example they assumed His spirit, further underlined by St Aelred:
The Power of Catholic Witness
Yet nothing made her and the staff of the Bryan clinic more uncomfortable than the relentless prayerfulness outside, as revealed in the following extract. For this Catholic reader the most moving and profound passage in a book filled with dramatic and uplifting moments, it serves as a clarion call to our religious communities to return to their primary role in the Church – which is not about social justice or even running hospitals and schools but, rather, presenting a uniquely public witness to the Faith for the benefit of both the Church and the world (cf. canon 673; Vita consecrata, 20).
One afternoon, a colleague standing by one of the front windows facing the fence suddenly gasped: "Oh my word! A nun. There is a nun in full habit standing in the driveway." Abby recounts the nuclear impact of this other-worldly persona; this Bride of Christ:
The Power of Confrontation
The Christian charity, prayerfulness and courage of pro-life rescuers, for instance, goes without saying. "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends"[Jn 15:13]; "Rescue the poor; and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner"[Ps. 81:4]. Manifesting their conscientious objection to unjust laws through passive civil disobedience, as sanctioned by John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, rescuers have lived such scriptural verses. Expressing Christian solidarity and spiritual union with their unborn brothers and sisters at the very place of execution, and inspired by the example of Joan Andrews, Randall Terry, Maurice Lewis and other heroic leaders, they have put their bodies and livelihoods on the line. While blocking entry to abortion mills, passively and in silence, they have suffered serious injuries during brutal police interventions, accepted arrest without murmur and borne the fearful weight of the pro-abortion judicial establishment, resulting in huge fines and/or incarceration (ranging from days to years). In the process, they have saved countless unborn children from certain death – and their mothers from physical damage and/or a lifetime of emotional and psychological distress.
As an Evangelical Protestant, Randall Terry launched Operation Rescue and led the rescues that swept America, especially in the late 1980s.(2) In 1995, Mother Teresa wrote to him in Federal Prison: "I am praying for you while you are in jail to stop you from rescuing babies from abortion. Christ also was innocent and yet He was put to death." She urged him to offer his prison sufferings to God "for those who are destroying the lives of the most innocent." Persecuted by the State and criticised by the lukewarm Christian majority (from the safety of their armchairs), we cannot overstate the heavenly impact of the sacrificial offerings of this brave minority. They doubtless contributed to Randall Terry's own conversion. Now a Catholic, he continues passionately to advocate the value and necessity of direct action and the creation of deliberate tension along the liberating lines of the American Civil Rights Movement. In his 2008 booklet, A Humble Plea to Bishops, Clergy, and Laymen: Ending the Abortion Holocaust, he quotes Martin Luther King's Letter from the Birmingham Jail:
"This," says Terry, "is part of the very core of the American process of self-government." He reels off a list of legitimate historical movements that "testify to the central role that civil unrest plays before political change is reached." What, for example, preceded the changing of the unjust segregation laws? "Tension. Massive social tension. The Civil Rights Leaders and activists – led by the clergy – deliberately created a crisis. Like the early Apostles, they became disturbers of an unjust peace."
As we know, the vast majority of today's apostolic successors in the West, in cahoots with the clergy formed in their own faithless image and likeness, avoid disturbing the unjust status quo at all costs – demonising instead those who do! Yet it was the cumulative effect of scores of confrontational events, images, words and deeds that brought institutionalised racism and segregation to an end, argues Terry. The clergy and other leaders and activists met the injustice and oppression "with actions and rhetoric equal to the crime. That is why they prevailed." Apropos the deafening episcopal silence and inaction (despite 4,000 U.S. abortions a day), he writes:
Lambasting the lack of urgencyin most dioceses and the episcopal desire for an easy life – the preference for establishing pro-life offices, financial appeals and Respect Life Sundays instead of bearing public witness outside the abortion mills, leading walks and processions, exorcisms and peaceful "civil disobedience" – Terry asks the hierarchy, "How can you expect the Church Militant to be militant if you are passive?" At the very least, he says, these scandalous faint hearts should not obstruct the efforts of the committed by succouring our enemies (allowing pro-abort politicians to receive Holy Communion, for instance):
And make no mistake, the youthful potential is always there, waiting to be tapped. The silent complicity of prelates and priests can restrain but never entirely suppress the idealism, compassion and thirst for justice felt by all young people. Although stripped of their Catholic birthright by the neo-Modernist takeover, the current post-conciliar generation is still "ready and willing" to endure "sacrifice and suffering and hardships" for a righteous cause. The ecclesiastical indifference and lukewarmness keeps a wicked lid on this latent pool of energy and enthusiasm. Nevertheless, encouraged by their parents and inspired by heroic laymen and women, the young continue to challenge the death merchants on their own turf. Lila Rose, the 22-year-old founder of Live Action, to name just one.
Live Action collects intelligence on Planned Parenthood and brings it to world attention through the internet-new media. In early February, it released undercover video footage of Planned Parenthood employees in multiple American states willing to help an actor posing as a human trafficker and a woman posing as a prostitute to force their victims, some as young as 13, to obtain abortions and birth control: coaching them, for example, in how to lie about the age of the girls. It caused worldwide headlines and sparked investigations into Planned Parenthood in several states.
"People who were supportive of Planned Parenthood have become disgusted," says Lila, who has the enemy on the run. Pro-abort billionaire George Soros is even said to have held a conference call with Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, about how to counter the videos. Completely rattled, they issued the usual disingenuous statements about making "changes" and addressing the "issues." Lila countered by telling the New York Times that the announced changes were mere “window dressing,” then upped the ante: “Live Action’s investigation has uncovered a serious, institutional crisis in which Planned Parenthood is willing to aid and abet sex trafficking and exploitation of minors and young women,” she said, promising to release more films this year providing an inside view of abortion clinics.
'Hallelujah! Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!' was the reaction of pro-lifers everywhere. They immediately sought to capitalise on Lila's bold and brave operation. Students for Life of America, with whom Lila Rose had once served as an intern, immediately organized a 14 February Vigil for Victims, calling on members "to gather your friends, family, and neighbors at your local Planned Parenthood facility from 12pm-1pm in each time zone to unite the nation in prayer for the victims of human trafficking and abortion. Now is the time to strike. We must call on our Congress and President to de-fund Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, and finally protect women and children across the nation."
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, the “Expose Planned Parenthood Coalition” did precisely that. Citing Live Action's exposé and overwhelming evidence already available from lawsuits, criminal charges, and undercover stings proving that Planned Parenthood has also accepted racially motivated donations, covered up statutory rape, promoted infanticide and performed illegal late term abortions, members of Congress and national pro-life leaders called on Congress to strip Planned Parenthood of the whopping $360 million taxpayer dollars it receives each year to fund its empire of abortion clinics.(3)
Subsequently, in late February, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming majority to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal taxpayer funding. Panic-stricken, the filthy rich pro-aborts are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads to kill the Pence Amendment in the Democrat-controlled Senate. As I write they look like succeeding. And of course the veto-wielding "Abortion President" is ever present. But whatever happens, the fight goes on. "We need disciplined tactics, and we need to manage our expectations," declared the veteran Catholic Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, who has also introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, to comprehensively and permanently end public funding of abortion in every federal programme and under all federal government authority. "We can't let huge challenges inhibit our pushing the envelope in order to protect life."
Having set this latest counter-attack against Planned Parenthood in train, Lila Rose looked forward to climbing those pro-abort mountains. She waved away foolish fears about Live Action pro-lifers being seen as attention-seeking rabble-rousers (much as timid Christians have always feared adverse reaction to Rescues). It is worth the risk, she said. “Public opinion of pro-lifers comes and goes. But it’s our job as pro-lifers to be strong and sincere, kind but unwavering in our defence of the truth. When you educate young people you will see a cultural shift.”
Following the Marie Stopes advertisements on Channel 4 last May, when British viewers saw abortion promoted on television for the first time, recent draft guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists [RCOG] have gone so far as to laud abortion as a safer option than giving birth!
With two abortion clinics being among contributors to these guidelines, but no psychiatrists, critics likened it to allowing a tobacco company to review the health consequences of smoking.
Women "should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term," states the RCOG, while proclaiming categorically that "the great majority" of women who have abortions do not experience adverse pyschological effects. This blithely ignored one of the most authoritative studies into the psychiatric effects of abortion. "When they can't refute the evidence, they have just ignored it. This is an absolutely disgraceful stitch-up," said Trevor Stammers, a lecturer in medical ethics at St Mary's University College, London.
The RCOG's misguidance is aimed at doctors, nurses and abortion counsellors. But schools and universities are the main targets of pro-abort propaganda, as Abby's own rapid capitulation on campus testifies.
Typically, in mid-February, representatives of the Irish branch of Marie Stopes International, along with other pro-abortion groups, visited the campuses of Irish colleges to promote their “services.” They were participating in the “Sexual Health Awareness Guidance” (SHAG) week organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and sponsored by thinkcontraception.ie, the Irish Family Planning Association and condom manufacturer Durex (who recently promoted Archbishop Nichols' homosexual Masses in Soho). Over the course of the week, the USI distributed 40,000 packages, each containing a condom and information on contraception.
Mr Stephenson explains their charitable intention and recounts similar positive outcomes at abortuaries:
In sum: confronted with the gruesome reality, the ignorance sustaining public support for abortion (or indifference towards it) dissolves. Volunteer Kathryn Sloane reports that their persistence outside Wiston's abortuary is paying off:
One undecided 25-year-old from Newcastle explained why the Abort67 website changed her thinking: “The pictures are disturbing," she wrote, "especially as my unborn baby is 11 weeks and I didn’t realise how developed the foetus actually is at this stage." Committed pro-lifers are also strengthened. A 19 year-old-from Dublin wrote: "I’ve always been Pro-Life, but if it is even possible I am even MORE Pro-Life. I have seen a few photos of abortion before on the internet, but the opening video left me gaping."
Abort67 are convinced that these and many similar responses are "a sure sign that this is a winnable battle. The other encouraging news is the number of people around the country who would like to join us in exposing abortion in their own towns and cities. These include Exeter, Bournemouth, Ipswich, Nottingham, London, Leeds to name just a few."
Covering All Fronts
No one strategy, whether focused on praying, educating, exposing, rescuing or picking up the spiritual and emotional pieces after the heinous act, has a monopoly on ultimate victory. They are all fuelled by faith, hope and charity, and since "faith without works is dead" [James 2:26], each is worthy of our personal and financial support. And none, including the Forty Days killing-with-kindness option, can avoid the risk of alienating some, winning over others, or failing to make any noticeable impression. By covering all fronts, however, they can and will triumph. The cumulative effect of their combined impact is the key.
This plays out in a 'good-cop bad-cop' kind of way. For some, the shock of a confrontational method not only makes a gentler approach seem more appealing, subconsciously it can leave an indelible imprint.
Abby Johnson was repelled by the sight of aborted babies and accusatory slogans on the placards at the perimeter fence of the Bryan abortuary on her first morning. And yet, paradoxically, it was only when she confronted the same murderous reality while assisting at an actual abortion that her awakening and path to redemption commenced. Perhaps the dreaded Grim Reaper and the crazy woman "with the horrid photo" had their part to play in God's inscrutable plan after all? Who is to say that the deep impact of their images and accusations did not contribute at that moment to her receptivity and openness to the healing grace won by the prayers of the Coalition and Forty Days for Life?
The Moment of Truth
"Frozen in disbelief," Abby recalled arguments with her husband about abortion:
The Moment of Conversion
Providentially, this rude awakening in the abortion room occurred at the very time that Planned Parenthood began laying off staff and cutting budgets while increasing its money-spinning capacity to butcher babies, including late-term abortions. Abby knew that abortions earned "a lot of money" for her own clinic and that "clinics that didn't perform abortions had little means of providing revenue." But she had always told herself she would draw the line at aborting late-term ("viable") babies.
Throughout the subsequent budget discussions with her bosses she questioned herself: "Wasn't our stated goal to decrease the number of abortions? Hadn't that talking point been drummed into me from the day I was recruited, to Lobby Day, to my media training? There was nothing preventative about aborting viable babies."
As her ears opened to discern the empty rhetoric, the scales fell from her eyes. Planned Parenthood's "caring" mask slipped and she suddenly perceived the principal motivation of the cold, calculating, unsmiling face behind it. "I couldn't help but do the math. The later the abortion, the higher the cost. A late-term abortion, I knew, could cost between $3,000 and $4,000. There was big money to be made. Could this be driving Planned Parenthood."
This repulsive development added to the enormous burden she felt immediately after participating in "The death of a helpless baby, a baby violently ripped away from the safety of the womb, sucked away to be discarded as biohazard waste." Sitting alone in her office, "the guilt of countless abortions, including my own two, came crashing down on my shoulders."
And so she resolved to leave Planned Parenthood. It did not happen overnight, however. Dependent on her income and still wedded to her career, she clung to the sacred mantras of "choice" and "safety." Surely therein lay "the greater good"? "Isn't it better to have an ugly but safe abortion than an ugly but dangerous one?" Such was her "self-doubt and inner confusion" that there was only one certainty in her mind: "I sure wasn't 'switching sides' to join those pro-lifers."
Indeed she "slammed" the Coalition for Life and Forty Days for Life campaigners in a radio interview right after her decision to leave the clinic. This, too, made her question herself, since she had, as usual, mocked and completely misrepresented them; accusing them of harassing her clients and painting Planned Parenthood as the victim of "anti-abortion zealots," despite knowing full well that the Coalition volunteers were "respectful, gentle, and pleasant."
All the while her relationship with the money-fixated Planned Parenthood hierarchy was quickly deteriorating as they rammed home their ruthless message: This is a business Abby. Get your priorities straight. Revenue per patient must increase. You've got to find a way to get your abortion figures up. We're building the largest Planned Parenthood center in the country, where we'll be able to perform late-term abortions. Increase the number of days each week for medication abortions and direct women toward that option.
It all came to a head on 5 October 2010, a week after the ultra-sound abortion horror. Reflecting on the fact that the clinic was dispensing RU-486 every day, and that the surgical abortions were just a part of her total complicity, she felt a compulsion to grab her belongings and flee. As she scanned her desk, her eyes fell upon a small card bearing a hand-written note that a "fence" volunteer, Elizabeth, had tucked inside a bouquet of beautiful lilies she once laid down and left for Abby in the middle of the clinic driveway. Fittingly, this persevering charity now tipped the scales of her fluctuating conscience definitively in God's favour:
"The LORD has done great things for us and
I am praying for you, Abby!
Her bottled-up thoughts and feelings over eight years at the clinic then flooded out as the volunteers sat her down and listened.
Events unfolded quickly thereafter. Yet despite the anxiety of walking away from her career, a relieved Abby felt light-hearted:
It was indeed. But He required nothing less than persevering prayer from his human instruments to achieve His purpose. Souls like Mr Orozco, the gracious ex-policeman who never missed his stand-and-pray hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Finally sighting the fruit of his heavenly petitions heading for the Coalition house about a month after her conversion, he rushed over:
As Abby was to learn, however, those years of apparently fruitless prayers had pushed the faith and hope of petitioners to the very edge. Shawn Carney, the head of Coalition for Life, later confided how close he had come to calling it a day:
Perseverance: Love: Goodwill
Of the many lessons to be learned from this wonderfully instructive book, Shawn's frank admission is perhaps the most important of all. It should serve to increase our own prayerful resolve and patience as we await God's response to our petitions for a Pope Saint to head up the purification and reform of His Modernist-infested, scandal-ridden Church. A petition and goal as seemingly vain and unachieveable as a resounding pro-life victory.
Yet did He not say to them: "The things that are impossible with men, are possible with God" [Lk 18:27]. This includes not only the eventual healing of His Mystical Body, but also the slaying of the Planned Parenthood Goliath whose self-serving lies currently rule the world. Indeed, the former precedes and expedites the latter. In other words, the quicker the Church is restored and we return en masse to the Faith of our Fathers, the sooner the prince of this world and his demons will be put to flight and his Culture of Death brought undone – as foreshadowed by Sister Marie Bernadette's profound impact at the Bryan clinic.
In the meantime, the pro-life conversion of Abby Johnson is another small yet exhilarating step towards Planned Parenthood's demise. Once the personification of its demonic "pro-choice" propaganda, she was unreachable, until she observed the selfless dedication and love of pro-lifers, and felt the imperceptible touch of their prayers. This slowly excised the mute and deaf spirit that bound and blinded her. Consequently, since "faith comes through hearing" [Rom 10:17], all the divisions in her heart, mind, soul and daily life came crashing down. In a beautiful passage, she confesses:
Deo gratias! Abby's redemption, like that of the late ex-abortionist and Catholic convert Bernard Nathanson, is one more timely, encouraging confirmation that our apparently unwinnable war against the death-dealers can in fact be won. But all in God's good time – or, as Mother Teresa used to say, one soul at a time. It is a painstaking process and Abby's grudging response to divine grace is representative. She mirrors untold millions of similarly fenced-off, guilt-ridden, post-abortive women, "adrift and confused in shadowy places," all of whom long for the peace Abby found in the infinitely merciful arms of Her Lord and Saviour; a peace the world cannot give. To win the culture war, therefore, each and every one of these conflicted and restless souls must also be won for Jesus. Primarily, Abby's testimony is intended for them.
For the rest of us, whatever our pro-life outreach, Unplanned reaffirms the counsel of Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), the hermit and martyr who spent himself in missionary labour among the nomadic Berbers of the Sahara for such little visible reward, yet never lost heart:
(1) Unused to formal (liturgical) worship, the Evangelical Abby had started attending a "pro-choice" Episcopal church. Its liturgy included a quasi-Confiteor – "a confession of sin" – which she found moving, yet troubling.
(2) The largest mass civil disobedience campaign in America since the Civil Rights Movement, the mainstream media largely blacked out coverage of the epochal Operation Rescue, when it wasn't wickedly misreporting and misrepesenting it.