By Abby Johnson
Published March 30, 2019
I worked at Planned Parenthood for eight years, rising through the ranks from volunteer escort, to clinic counselor to clinic director. I was awarded the Employee of the Year prize in 2008 and was one of the youngest clinic directors in the country, setting an example of how to run a clinic to churn out as many abortions – the biggest money maker – as I could. Then it all changed when I was asked to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion.
Some images stick with you forever, images that you can’t unsee. The photo of the first responder carrying the limp child in his arms after the Oklahoma City bombing. The photos of the Twin Towers falling. These images burn in your mind, causing you to replay them over and over again. They are impactful.
That was what I saw on the ultrasound screen.
The fetus was 13-weeks-old and I could easily see it’s head, arms, and legs. The abortion instrument – a suction tube – was on the screen as well. The baby jumped away from it but it was all for naught. The abortionist turned on the suction and I saw that baby get sucked apart right in front of me on the screen and inches from the probe I was holding.
In mere seconds, that fetus’ life ended and the screen only showed a black, empty uterus. The life that was there just a couple minutes ago was gone. In that moment, I saw for myself what I was supporting for the last eight years and it broke me.
How do you deal with something so profound that completely turns your worldview upside down? Everything I knew to be true was flipped. The lies exposed. I cannot have just seen that. I’ve been told this isn’t a baby, that it’s just tissue. How could not have known?
My life was forever changed. I walked out of Planned Parenthood a week later, after failing to justify what I had seen. I couldn’t stop thinking about that baby I saw on the screen and what had happened.
In the age of #MeToo, where women are encouraged to tell their stories and be heard, where liberals are demanding the public trust women, I implore the nation to hear me out, to trust me.
There is such little tolerance for women on the national stage who don’t agree with the hosts of The View or celebrities who march with Planned Parenthood. No one wants to be silenced, especially women at this time in our history.
Two directors - both men - in Hollywood approached me five years ago about turning my book, “Unplanned,” into a film. It tells the story of what I saw that day on the ultrasound screen, how I started working at Planned Parenthood, and what happened when I walked away. This is my story, my voice and I was surprised that someone in Hollywood wanted to tell it. It’s not a mainstream story but it’s my story. And it’s the story of many, many abortion workers, those who have already left the industry and those who are still in it.
The movie comes out this weekend, smack in the middle of a raging national debate over abortion, in the middle of a presidency that has tackled the issue head on, and following on the heels of a women’s movement that has shunned this position and those of us who support it.
You won’t be able to unsee what I saw if you go see the movie, which I implore you to do. But you also won’t be able to say you didn’t know what abortion is or what happens when a woman walks into Planned Parenthood. If you are pro-life or pro-choice, you will know exactly what you are supporting.