Abby Johnson: Abortion Isn't Funny


Laughter is good for the soul, and oftentimes, making a joke about a serious subject can help lighten the mood.

I talk about abortion a lot because I travel the world telling my story of conversion from a Planned Parenthood director to a pro-life warrior. While I always open my talks with a joke, usually about the number of kids my husband and I have, when it comes to the meat of the speech, the nature of what abortion is and what I did in that clinic, no one is laughing and jokes cease to exist.

Why? Because abortion — the taking of innocent life — is never funny.

People deal with hard situations differently, and humor is certainly appropriate at times. But abortion is never an appropriate subject. Hollywood has been trying for years to use humor to normalize abortion through movies and comedy routines, which always fall flat, because abortion is never funny.

Mainstream media were falling over themselves this weekend praising Cecily Strong’s performance as Goober the Clown on “Saturday Night Live.”

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Goober was on the skit, “Weekend Update,” talking about her abortion just before she turned 23 years old, and she was a clown because, “People keep bringing [abortion] up, so I’ve got to keep talking about freaking abortion, but it’s a rough subject, so we’re gonna do fun clown stuff to make it more palatable.”

She talked about abortion while attempting to make a balloon animal, spinning her bowtie and trying to blow a small horn that thankfully refused to make a sound.

It was cringeworthy for many reasons, not least of all because she, and the writers of SNL, made an awful attempt to make an incredibly serious thing out to be funny just to move forward their talking points of making abortion totally normal. It was gross. But it wasn’t the first time Hollywood and their friends tried to make abortion humorous.

WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers will find offensive.

Last fall, the film “Unpregnant” was released on HBO Max, a story about a girl who took a “hilarious road trip” to get an abortion.

One of the screenwriters said she wanted to write an abortion road trip story to “bring some humor and make people more comfortable with the subject of abortion.” Glamour magazine actually said “abortion comedy” is “indeed, an emerging genre.” Abortion comedy? Those words do not belong together.

Critics loved the film, to no one’s surprise, but audiences gave it a thumbs down, according to Rotten Tomatoes.

And remember the movie “Obvious Child” back in 2014 that was billed as a romantic comedy-drama? Planned Parenthood promoted that film endlessly because it made an attempt to normalize abortion. It was well-received by critics, of course, but flopped at the box office.

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One of the worst abortion jokes happened at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2018, when comedian Michelle Wolf quipped: “Mike Pence is very anti-choice. He thinks abortion is murder, which, first of all, don’t knock it ’til you try it. And when you do try it, really knock it. You’ve got to get that baby out of there.” The audience groaned.

Even former Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards, though defending Wolf as just doing her job as a comedian, said that abortion “isn’t a topic that I make jokes about, because, of course, I see what women face in this country just to access this care, and how much stigma and shame there already is in America.”

Cecile and I have very different reasons for not joking about abortion. What I saw inside the abortion clinic where I worked was never funny.

Are abortion jokes ever acceptable?

I was putting together the body parts of aborted babies to make sure nothing was left inside the woman that could cause a life-threatening infection.

I watched women sob after their abortions, coming to the realization of what just happened. I watched in horror as a woman nearly bled to death on the table during her abortion and the doctor warned me not to call an ambulance.

The pro-abortion movement is desperate to normalize the taking of innocent life, to normalize the pain and depression and distress women (and many men) go through because of abortion.

Clowns, movies, comedians, celebrities — none of that is going to get them toward their goal, because I think women know all too well the realities of abortion and that it is the furthest thing from being funny that they can imagine.

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Abby Johnson is the CEO and founder of And Then There Were None.
Abby Johnson worked for Planned Parenthood for eight years, working her way up through the ranks to become the clinic director in Bryan, Texas. She was Planned Parenthood's employee of the year in 2008 but she walked away from her job after witnessing the abortion of a 13-week-old fetus during an ultrasound-guided abortion. She left Planned Parenthood and instantly became a national news headline for her defection, which led to a pro-life speaking career. In 2012, she founded And Then There Were None, the only ministry in the nation that helps abortion workers leave their jobs and find new ones out of the industry. To date, she has helped over 550 abortion workers quit. She also founded ProLove Ministries and LoveLine in the fall of 2019. Her bestselling book, "Unplanned," was made into a feature film that debuted in theaters nationwide March 2019 under the same name, and she is the host of the podcast "Politely Rude." She and her husband, Doug, have eight children.