By Abby Johnson Ignatius Press, 304pp, £12.99/$16.99
The author, formerly working for Planned Parenthood as the director of an abortion clinic in Bryan, Texas, became famous when she left her job in 2009 after watching an abortion take place on ultrasound. She joined Coalition for Life, the organisation that had for years mounted prayer vigils outside her clinic, and published the first edition of her book in 2010. This revised and expanded edition is designed to coincide with a film of the same name to be released this spring.
Fr Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has written the foreword and makes the key point that abortion workers “are not our enemies. Rather, they are captive to the enemy. Our mission is not to condemn them, but to liberate them. We condemn what they do, but we embrace them as our brothers and sisters.” It was this attitude of Christian charity – not to be confused with false “compassion” – which helped to change Johnson’s mind.
She had been initially put off by the sight of posters of aborted babies on the other side of the picket fence, alongside a man who paraded as the Grim Reaper.
Gradually another viewpoint prevailed, that of David Bereit of the Coalition for Life. He helped start the campaign of 40 Days for Life in 2004, which meant that every hour, day and night for 40 days, the Coalition posted pro-life volunteers at the fence.
Johnson was struck by their dedication to their cause and their warmth and kindness towards her and her staff: “They had loved and accepted me even when I was doing something they found morally objectionable” she reflected. Considering that Planned Parenthood was motivated by money rather than by care for the women who came to them, and recognising that the ultrasound she had witnessed for the first time was a death, “not a medical procedure”, Johnson made the courageous decision to cross the road to the office of the Coalition for Life, and later became a Catholic. From then on her life has been dedicated to And Then There Were None, an organisation that helps former abortion staff to change their lives. Her story is inspirational.
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