Only heaven knew why, back in 2009, Abby Johnson was called to the procedure room to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion. As director of a Planned Parenthood Clinic in her home state of Texas, this hadn’t been part of her regular duties.
Many women had asked and many had been told by Planned Parenthood personnel – no – the fetus feels no pain. The consensus is, “Only wanted babies are babies,” Abby said. “Unwanted babies are only tissue.”
As she gazed at the ultra sound, Abby was struck by how similar the image looked to her own baby daughter’s ultrasound. And then, the procedure began and in five short minutes, Abby’s belief system changed from pro-choice, to pro-life to pro-love.
“The baby I saw on the ultrasound was flailing like it was trying to move away from the abortion instrument,” Abby said. “The worse part was when I had the opportunity to do something, to intervene, I stood there like a coward. I did nothing. I stood and watched. The screen went black and the abortion was successful. I looked out the window and felt so numb. I eagerly believed this lie for so long. I began to pray asking God who should I go to? I was so confused.”
At that point, Abby had worked for Planned Parenthood for eight years. She had even been given the honor of “Employee of the Year.” After her ‘awakening-by-ultrasound’ she lasted just nine more days.
Every day, all those years, Abby saw people praying on the street outside the clinic. She spotted two women beyond the windows the day of her change of heart.
“I felt God telling me to go to these two women who were praying,” Abby said. “I ran out the back door and just wept. What do you say? Sorry, I helped take the lives of 20,000 babies? Sorry didn’t seem enough. There was nothing I could ever say or do that would be enough, but because of the scandalous mercy of Jesus, I didn’t have to. I’m standing here before you, the power of conversion.”
Abby told her story to an 800-count wall-to-wall crowd at the Grand Forks Women’s Pregnancy Center’s annual fundraising banquet Oct. 2, at the Alerus Center. She held her audience spellbound with her story and introduced levity when it was needed.
She and her stay-at-home husband have seven children, one of whom is adopted. “Yes, we do know how it happened,” Abby said. “We became pro-life and we couldn’t stop breeding. I haven’t slept in four years.”
Abby grew up in a pro-life Christian home. “We never talked about abortion,” she said. When she went off to college her views changed and she became pro-choice. “It’s what I didn’t know that led me into the doors of Planned Parenthood,” Abby continued. “It happened a little bit at a time. That’s how sin works in our lives.”
Statistics show that one in three women have abortions in the United States, Abby said. “Seventy percent of women who are considering abortion say they are church going women. The silence in our churches on abortion is deafening. We want to end this thing and it’s going to take every single one of us in this room. As Christians we are to be about God’s business and God’s business is to protect life. Every child born is truly a miracle.”
The Grand Forks Women’s Pregnancy Center, a Place of Hope, is celebrating 30 years of Life-Affirming Ministry in the Grand Forks area. Besides ultra sound, other free and 100 % confidential services provided are: pregnancy testing, options counseling, education on abortion, adoption and parenting, STD testing and treatment, post-abortion support, youth education services and more. You’ll find them on the web at: gfwpc.org. Call: (701) 746-8866.
At the banquet, Jill Chandler, executive director, said over the past three decades, the center has touched the lives of nearly 15,000 women and men. “Let this sink in,” she added. “As many lives as are in this room tonight, plus 100, have been saved through the work of WPC.”
This year’s event turned out to be “a record banquet both in terms of financial support and positive comments following our evening together,” Jill said. “Abby Johnson’s direct challenge to individuals and the church to stand for life was clear and compelling. I am so thankful for the many partnerships we already have with several churches and individuals in our community who are faithful monthly supporters.”
“We are good stewards of your gifts,” Jill continued. “This is God’s work through you. I am forever in awe at the generosity of this community and the commitment shown to help those who are facing difficult situations. The financial support given enables us to be here with an open door where clients will find warm and welcoming hearts, listening ears, and much encouragement.”
Yes, only heaven knew why Abby Johnson was called into that procedure room back in 2009 and now we know, too.
Let’s give her the last word:
“This is an issue for all of humanity,” Abby said. “My end goal is not to defund Planned Parenthood. My goal is to make abortion unthinkable and that will happen only one way, by conversion of the heart.”