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Books blog: A harrowing look inside the abortion industry

Protestors outside a Planned Parenthood clinic (AP)

I blogged on May 19 about a news item revealing that Professor Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, which represents almost 30,000 midwives and health staff, has given her College’s “full support” to a British Pregnancy Advisory Service campaign that wants legal limits to abortion – at present 24 weeks, except for medical reasons – to be completely scrapped.

The idea that midwives, whose task is to help mothers give birth, should at the same time become part of a campaign to promote abortion, still strikes me as appalling one month later. The reason this news item has come to mind is because I have been reading The Walls are Talking by Abby Johnson. Written by the former Planned Parenthood Employee of the Year in 2008, who left the abortion industry in 2009 to become a well-known pro-life advocate, the book is subtitled, “Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories” and is published by Ignatius Press.

To say it is a grim read would be an understatement. Johnson, with her assistant Kristin Detrow, have written up the accounts of many (anonymous) former workers in the American abortion industry, and what they describe is the stuff of nightmares. For instance, “It was of utmost importance that a piece of cloth [should] shroud the jar containing the “products of conception” from the patient after a suction abortion.” Why? Because if the unfortunate women actually saw the results of their choice to abort their babies – the awful truth that those tiny parts had been a living human being – the whole industry would surely collapse overnight.

This was illustrated graphically in the story of “Angie”, who came to the clinic to have her ninth abortion. Always chatty, cheerful and upbeat, she asked to see what “it” looked like for the first time. Reluctantly the clinic assistant arranged the parts of the 13-week-old foetus in a small dish. All Angie’s banter instantly stopped: “That’s a baby” she whispered; “That was my baby”. She was carried out of the clinic in a state of shock and never returned.

All the contributors repeat the obvious truth that the industry is about making money and it has nothing to do with being “of service to women in crisis” as the pro-choice propaganda puts it. One girl changed her mind, but was then pressured to go ahead with the abortion, with no question of a real “choice” being offered to her. If it had not been for a kindly clinic worker, who did an ultrasound, another girl, whose baby was found to have died of natural causes in the womb, would still have been given an “abortion”, simply so that she could be charged for it.

Another clinic worker, who was horrified when an affluent young married couple came to her clinic to have their healthy 16-week-old twins (their first babies) aborted “because they did not fit their lifestyle”, was forced to conclude that “as long as the business of profiting, there will never be a reason too heinous to end the life of a baby at the request of its mother.”

Many of the former clinic workers had had abortions themselves, often in the clinics where they worked. This made it harder to face the truth and many of them spoke of muffling their consciences, often for several years. One admitted that she couldn’t explain “why seeing that doomed and dismembered little one in the dish that day didn’t change me – or the many times before or after that I witnessed the same thing. God’s timing and ways are mysterious.”

The good news among all this horror is that by the grace of God and the prayers of pro-lifers – often outside the clinics where these women worked – they did have a change of heart. In her “Final Thoughts” at the end of the book, Abby Johnson appeals to readers, telling them to “show up” outside clinics just to pray. “When people show up…the no-show rate goes up to almost 75%. You want to help end abortion? Just show up.”

All those people, such as Professor Warwick of the Royal College of Midwives, who think they are assisting women “to make choices about their bodies”, should be given copies of this book.