Ex-Planned Parenthood exec turns pro-life after seeing what happens in an abortion

Here's the story told by the executive director of a Planned Parenthood clinic who quit her job the day after she had to assist in an abortion, instead of just working in the front office.

It was a surgical abortion of a 12- to 13-week-old fetus, in which she held an ultra-sound over the mother's abdomen so the doctor could better see what he was doing. She describes how she got a good side view of the fetus and its face. As the doctor stuck the probe into the uterus, she could see the fetus actually trying to avoid it, as it was "fighting for its life."

Here is the video of an interview of Abby Johnson describing what she saw:

I have been angrily condemned as being hateful and ignorant for a previous post describing the details of an abortion. I have no compassion for the woman who has to have one, I'm told.

Actually, I do. But having compassion for the woman who has to make such a difficult decision and for the victim of an abortion are not mutually exclusive. The media regularly report in detail many horrendous details--from an award-winning picture of a naked young girl fleeing in pain from a napalm bombing in Vietnam to bodies piled up in Nazi death camps. It is considered to be important information for the public to have.

Saying displays of a fetus in its death agony should never be shown is intentional ignorance. It presumes that there is only one life involved. And, in some cases when it is done for the fetus's "own good" displays an incredible degree of arrogance.

I will continue to tell the facts that the abortion industry doesn't want discussed.

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  • Thank you Dennis. God bless you!

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    Yes, Dennis, please do continue to discuss this issue. But also please realize that for whatever reasons you may oppose abortion, it is still the law of the land that it is legal and is ultimately the choice of the woman.

    Johnson says she was disturbed by seeing one abortion because of how she interpreted what she saw. I'm a little concerned that the practitioners would invite someone from the front office to assist with a medical procedure...you don't state whether she had any medical training. Assuming this is true, she's still dealing with limited experience. Did she really see what she thought she saw...a 14-week-old fetus "fighting for its life"? She only saw this once...does she know whether this happened every time or if this was just one case where fluid movement inside the womb made it appear that way?

    She makes a lot of assumptions and states a lot of opinions...but not a lot of facts. She says she saw a "baby," but did she know it was about 3 inches long and could never survive outside the womb? Only women who plan to give birth would call that a "baby."

    And did she talk to the mother at any point? Did she learn why she had made this choice? Maybe she was unemployed and concerned about feeding the kids she already had? Maybe she was in an abusive relationship? Maybe she had an illness that would be severely complicated by pregnancy? Or maybe it doesn't matter because it was her right?

    Maybe you're reading this and saying yes but what about the rights of the fetus? In this country, the life of an adult mother is valued over the rights of a first-trimester fetus, and no one can force a woman to breed against her will.

    And maybe none of this matters to you. And you know what? I'm okay with that. Because whatever your reasons for not agreeing with a woman's right to an abortion, they are your opinions and your beliefs...and that's ALL they are. You don't get to decide for anybody but yourself.

    I've been called a murderer. I've been accused of eating babies. I've been compared with Nazis. I don't care. Because what I believe has nothing to do with what other women do with their bodies. I would never DREAM of preventing a woman from getting an abortion, OR advising a woman to GET an abortion, because it's not my call. So why do people like you believe you can tell women what to do either way? It doesn't matter what you think constitutes "life" or "humanity" or "consciousness" or a "soul."

    It is not your call.

  • In reply to Amanda Cohen:

    Killing innocent persons was also the law of the land in nazi germany Amanda. Murder is murder no matter how you look at it Amanda. I also murdered my poor child because of your law of the land. I regret it everyday that I am allowed to live. It is God's call and I am 100% sure we will be called to answer for what we have done.

  • In reply to operafan:

    I assume no one forced you to get an abortion. You took advantage of your constitutional right to do so. Take responsibility. That you now regret your decision is unfortunate for you, but you are not entitled to make decisions for other women. Abortion is not murder no matter how many times you say it is.

  • In reply to windyjammer:

    Oh yes it is. And that is something that no one can change. Even Kermit Gosnell would contradict your statement.

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    In reply to operafan:

    You have your opinion confused with fact. You can't expect other people to bow to your opinion. And I'm sorry you regretted your abortion, but your case is not the same as every other woman's. You can't assume that every abortion is 100% regretted based on your sample size of one.

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    In reply to operafan:

    Saying it don't make it so. Hundreds of generations of God-fearing Christians believed abortion was just fine, including the founding fathers of the US and Evangelical Christians of nearly every stripe until the early '80s. The only organization that has been consistently and uniformly opposed to abortion for longer than [deleted] has been a thing is the Catholic Church, and even they wouldn't have called it murder.

    Abortion isn't murder, a fetus isn't a person, a woman has a Constitutional right to make the private medical decision with her doctor to terminate a pregnancy according to the Supreme Court of the United States, and you have a right to regret your abortion.

    I'm terribly sorry you do, as I am everyone who has to make that decision when they'd rather not. However, it's not for you or anyone else to equate abortion -- which, again, is a legal medical procedure -- with murder. If you can't be at peace with your decision, at the very least stop trying to drag everyone else down with you.

  • I didn't say it was my call. I don't think you're a Nazi, or call you a baby eater. I don't condone that language, and neither do most pro-life folks.

    I also recognize that it is the law of the land, and that Roe v Wade, with its companion decision Doe v. Bolton makes abortion make abortion legal at any time during pregnancy. I don't think that's right. I would think that people of compassion would at least believe that the fetus has some rights at viability, rights to be weighed and balanced with the rights of the woman.

    By the way, does it disturb you that it was possible that someone not trained in health care participated in an abortion? Is that standard procedure at PP?

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    You are obviously not familiar with Roe v. Wade. A woman does not have an unqualified right to an abortion when the fetus is viable.

  • In reply to windyjammer:

    You obviously haven't read the companion SCOTUS case, Doe v. Bolton, issued on the same day as Roe. It says: "Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, 'an abortion is necessary' is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health."

    "All factors." Where Roe and ensuing decisions say that abortions can be restricted in the state's interests, it opens the door wide for a broad interpretation for the exceptions. Abortions CANNOT be restricted for any factor, including emotion, psychological, etc. reasons. All you need is a doctor (Gosnell?) who will agree that you can't emotionally handle a pregnancy or having a kid.

    In other words, you can "terminate" a viable fetus for any of the above reasons. I am aways amazed that Planned Parenthood, NARAL (and all those other sources you echo) never discuss the impact of Doe, as if it never existed.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    The person who had condemned you was obviously me. You even renamed the post after having a change of heart that name-calling grieving parents who lose a child they desperately WANT, "barbarians" was wrong.

    You showed no compassion for parents carrying children with horrendous lethal defects, defects that even if they allowed for a small survival would require numerous painful (million-dollar) surgeries and treatments.

    In my case, I was told one that my twins had a 50% chance of such a lethal diagnosis and a "wait and see" approach would jeopardize the life of the other twin. Can you imagine having to face the choice of allowing a fatally-flawed fetus to continue growing and sacrifice the lives of both babies v. go through this horrendous procedure? Have you ever had to make a choice to preserve as much life as possible means you have to end the life of your own child?

    The parents choosing late-term abortion don't do so because they change their minds on being parents. I'm sure you'll delete this comment as you have done in the past because it doesn't fit with your "insensitive barbarian aborter" narrative. The truth is, abortion can be very painful on the part of the parent BECAUSE they have such compassion for their child. Your rubbing their nose in it is highly inappropriate and cruel.

    If you're going to reference me in your post, at least be honest.

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    In reply to Jenna Karvunidis:

    Another excellent point, Jenna, is that everybody has a different story. I've never heard one like yours before and I'm deeply sorry for what you had to go through.

    I've heard a hundred reasons for choosing abortion, and not a single good reason to compel a woman not to have one if she has decided she needs one.

    And Kermit Gosnell only did what he did because abortion opponents have made it so difficult to find and/or afford a completely legal health service, not to mention the stigma they've attached to it that makes assumptions about every single woman.

    Every woman has different reasons, any combination of physical, emotional, psychological, financial, or medical. You can't know every circumstance, so you can't tell every woman NO and you shouldn't attach a stigma. You shouldn't use fear and shame to bend women to your will. But you do, and it's why you will never change the law.

  • In reply to Amanda Cohen:

    Thank you. We're actually waiting on the full results of the amniocentisis right now, but the preliminary results are in our favor (you get a general outlook two days after the test and a full picture in two weeks - we're waiting in the latter).

    I write the blog High Gloss & Sauce linked at the right, if you're curious about the rest of the tale.

    I've always taken an "it's fine for other people but never for me" abortion stance. It's been a real lesson in humility and self-discovery to go through this. So far, so good though!

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    In reply to Jenna Karvunidis:

    This seems to be a frequent theme...people who never would have chosen abortion until some horrible circumstance forces the question. I think it's a fair assumption that Dennis Byrne has never had to agonize over getting an abortion.

  • In reply to Amanda Cohen:

    Agreed. It's called "choice" for a reason.

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    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Yes, it does disturb me that it was possible that someone not trained in health care participated in an abortion, which is why I brought it up. Either PP made a very bad call, or the woman is lying about it. Either way it's bad.

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    I know just how this woman feels. I am an ex liberal homosexual turned straight republican who now is anti-abortion but have no problem killing criminals (of the ethnic type) and large game like tigers, rhinos and polar bears.

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    In reply to Deke Rivers:

    Don't forget the gays, Deke. A lot of people still think it's okay to kill them too.

  • In reply to Amanda Cohen:

    Talk about not being able to stick with the topic. Well Amanda, you are the first person I have heard of who even defended what Kermit did. Time to sign off.

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    In reply to operafan:

    Please show me where I defended Kermit Gosnell. I only offered my belief about the reasons he did what he did. He did horrible things. But he was able to do them because of an atmosphere in which women felt they had no other alternatives, and the reason they felt they had no other alternatives was partially because of the difficulty of getting an abortion, for reasons including social stigma and lack of funding, which are both direct results of the anti-choice movement. You see, it's not a simple issue, and it's dismissive attitudes like yours that prevent rational discussion.

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    In reply to Amanda Cohen:

    On second reading, I can see how someone might interpret what you said that way. Let me offer a correction: instead of "And Kermit Gosnell only did what he did because..." I suggest "And the only reason Kermit Gosness was able to do what he did is because..."

    I interpret that as your reason, as you go on not to defend Gosnell's motivation but to decry the environment in which he operated.

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    In reply to Michael Albright:

    Thank you, Michael. That was my intended meaning.

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    In reply to operafan:

    Also, my previous response was to Deke, not to you. I'm capable of holding more than one conversation at a time without going off topic on either.

  • Once again--as always with pro-choicers--the pro-choice posters here have nothing to say about Doe v. Bolton.

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    In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    What do you want us to say? On what point are you expecting a discussion? The fact that it defines some factors that would allow a third-trimester abortion? Or that the woman on whose behalf the suit was filed said 30 years later that she didn't know she was part of it and said her attorney lied to her to get her involved? I find Doe v. Bolton to be reasonable, but it has no bearing on the legal standing of first-trimester abortions.

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    In reply to Amanda Cohen:

    Okay, I brought up Doe v. Bolton and had something to say about it despite your blanket statement about "pro-choice posters." Did you not want to discuss it after all? If you're going to issue a challenge on your own blog, the least you could do is follow through. I'm open to discussion.

  • Sorry, I missed your post. I brought up Doe v. Bolton in relation to this comment (above):

    "You are obviously not familiar with Roe v. Wade. A woman does not have an unqualified right to an abortion when the fetus is viable."

    My point is that Doe v. Bolton in practical terms does bestow a right to have an abortion for any reason at any time. Do you dispute that?

    BTW: Sandra Cano didn't want to be part of the suit because the position didn't represent her pro-life view. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/22/sandra-cano-doe-v-bolton_n_2527521.html

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