The Beginning of the End of the Abortion Industry? | Tim Drake | Catholic World Report
Over the past five years, growing numbers of US abortion workers have left the industry.
For former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, the turning point came when she was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion.
“Abortions are typically performed blind,” explained Johnson, who served as health director for Planned Parenthood in College Station, Texas. “The doctor takes the suction instrument and probes until he thinks he’s gotten everything.”
On this particular day in the fall of 2009, “the visiting physician wanted to use an ultrasound as a teaching tool to show us what an abortion looked like,” recalled Johnson. “I was excited about the prospect of learning something new. My job, during the procedure, was to hold the ultrasound probe on the patient’s abdomen.”
What Johnson saw on-screen would forever change her life.
“I saw a 13-week-old child struggle and fight for its life during the procedure,” said Johnson. “It was shocking for me because the most common question we were asked in the counseling room was, ‘Will my baby feel this?’”
“Planned Parenthood had come up with a scripted answer that we were to give women,” said Johnson.
“Our answer: No, the fetus has no sensory development until 28 weeks,” said Johnson. “I wholeheartedly believed that.”
So Johnson was stunned when she saw the child on the ultrasound screen trying to get away from the intrusive instruments bent on its destruction.
“I went back to my office, and for the first time during my eight years at Planned Parenthood, I wondered if this was where I wanted to be for the rest of my life,” said Johnson. “I sat down and prayed for the first time in many years. All I knew was that I couldn’t do this anymore.”
On October 6, 2009, one week and two days after participating in the abortion, Johnson left Planned Parenthood and approached those gathered outside the business who were in the midst of a 40 Days for Life campaign—volunteers devoted to a prayerful, peaceful presence outside abortion businesses.
“I broke down and told them, ‘I know what I’ve been doing is wrong, and I want out,’” said Johnson.
Johnson isn’t the first to have experienced a Saul-to-Paul-like moment leading to a departure from the abortion industry. In the decades since abortion’s legalization, abortionists and abortion workers such as Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Carol Everett, Anthony Levatino, and others were convicted by what they were doing and experienced profound conversions. Some went on to publicly share their testimony, such as Nathanson did in his 2001 book The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind.Johnson’s story is eerily similar to that of the late Joan Appleton’s 1989 departure as head nurse of the Commonwealth Women’s Clinic in Washington, DC. Appleton, too, had witnessed an ultrasound-guided abortion.