STEUBENVILLE, OH—"If you are
not working actively to end abortion, you are complicit in the act of
abortion," said former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson at
Franciscan University of Steubenville's "Night for Life."
not talking about praying at home, or going to the adoration chapel. Do you
think I'd be here on this stage without people witnessing and praying in front
of my abortion clinic in public?"
drew national attention in 2009 when she left Planned Parenthood and became a
pro-life advocate, only to face attempts to silence her through
litigation. Her story became the
best-selling book, unPLANNED, and led
Johnson into a new life as a pro-life advocate, speaking to audiences around
the world to rally support for the cause of life. Johnson came into the Catholic Church this Easter.
headlined the "Night for Life," bringing the crowd to a hushed
silence when she recalled the ultrasound-guided abortion that rocked the
foundations of her world.
don't do ultrasound-guided abortions inside Planned Parenthood. They say it's because it takes an extra
five minutes," Johnson told the crowd. "I think they don't do it because it exposes the
truth. I told people as an
abortion counselor that the fetus doesn't feel anything until 28 weeks. I had to believe that lie. I couldn't allow myself to know the
got involved in pro-choice activism in college after having two abortions
herself, followed by an eight-year stint working for Planned Parenthood. In 2009, working as director of an
abortion clinic in Bryan, Texas, she was called in by a visiting abortionist to
operate the ultrasound during an abortion. What she saw changed her mind, her career, and her life.
knew what I saw on that ultrasound was true. I knew that the movements of that child told me it knew its
life was in danger," Johnson said.
"We use the word 'choice' instead of using the word 'murder.' We use the word 'choice' instead of the
word 'killing.' It doesn't make
sense, but that's what we do in our society. I saw that ultrasound, and watched that child struggle and
fight to save his life. I watched
the child be dismembered inside his mother's womb. I saw those limbs tumble and turn and get sucked down that
tube. But he had no chance. He had no choice."
quit her job and "crossed the fence" to join the pro-lifers praying
and witnessing outside the very clinic she'd managed.
think the most important thing you'll do for the pro-life movement is be a
witness outside an abortion clinic," said Johnson. "It's scary, but you do it
anyway. My four-year-old daughter
goes with me and prays outside the abortion clinic where I used to work. If she can do it with me, everyone here
can do it."
Johnson explained, it's God who gets her through her life after her pro-life
conversion. "If he can
forgive a sinner like me, he can forgive anybody. Because of how much I've been forgiven, I know how much I
need him. I have to cling to him
and cling to his forgiveness and cling to his mercy or I'd just fall
challenged the enthusiastic crowd of students and area residents to pour
themselves out in the fight for life.
eight years of my life, I was ashamed to tell people where I worked. Now when people ask me what I do, I am
proud to tell them I stand up for life," Johnson said. "We have got to be proud to be
by Brother John Paoletti, MIC, president of the Franciscan University Students
for Life (SfL) club, the evening included musical performances by students and
members of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, as well as a video about
the efforts of SfL, showing the sort of abuse and intimidation pro-life
witnesses can expect outside Pittsburgh's abortion clinics.
you come back from working [for the cause of life] and you've got spit in your
face and curse words ringing in your ears, you know you're working for Jesus
Christ," said Brother Paoletti.
more on Johnson's story, see www.unplannedthebook.com.