Leaving a job isn’t always easy. But for those working at abortion clinics, leaving the industry can seem like an impossible feat.
Issues such as not being able to find work due to their controversial past, or fear of legal action taken by their former employer, are just some of the problems abortion workers wishing to leave may encounter, as cited by a former employee of Planned Parenthood.
What’s more, is that the pro-life movement is rife with ministries and groups fighting to defend the unborn by changing the minds of women in crisis, but very few organizations are ready to help a clinic worker in their time of need.
Abby Johnson, founder of the group “And Then There Were None,” a pro-life ministry aimed at helping clinic workers transition out of the abortion industry, released a statement exclusively to The Western Journal recounting the startling experiences she had as an employee of Planned Parenthood.
“They had done to the abortion clinic worker, what they had accused the abortion clinic worker of doing to the unborn child. And that was dehumanization,” Johnson said in the statement.
Johnson was previously employed at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. She said that although the pro-life activists who prayed outside of her clinic were kind to her, and helped her through the transition process when she decided to leave, not everyone involved in the pro-life cause has always been so understanding.
“I think for a long time the pro-life movement believed that those who worked in a clinic were beyond redemption. That they were too far gone,” Johnson added.
“And I just never believed that because I was one of those people and I knew the women that I worked with, and I knew they were good people.”
“And they were involved in the abortion industry because they believed that they were helping. I just thought, there’s goodness inside of all of them, because God created all of them, God is good and so are you. That there was goodness inside of them. We just had to be able to tap into that, and show them that they have greater potential than what they’re doing,” she continued.
Johnson told The Journal that she had been raised in a pro-life, Christian household. But that growing up, she wouldn’t have been able to defend her pro-life stance.
“I remember my parents talking about how we were pro-life, but not going any further than that. We never talked about abortion specifically, I remember saying I was pro-life in high school but if you were to put me in a debate, asking why I was pro-life, I would have flopped.”
While in college, Johnson attended a volunteer fair and visited a booth for Planned Parenthood. She said the woman at the booth expressed that “pro-lifers” are good people, albeit, misguided. Explaining to Johnson that abortion needed to be legal and safe, otherwise vulnerable women would be subject to unsafe abortion procedures.
“She asked me what I thought about abortion, and I told her that I was raised pro-life. She started telling me that you know, pro-lifers are good people, but … they just don’t understand … they just don’t see the big picture when it comes to women that are choosing abortion. And that you know, you need safe and legal access to abortion or women are going to die in the streets with back alley abortions.”
From there, Johnson went to work at the local Planned Parenthood facility, at first as a volunteer escort, assisting women coming into the clinic seeking an abortion, shielding them from pro-life activists outside.
Johnson told The Journal that after college she was offered a job at Planned Parenthood, and quickly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming director of her clinic.
Several years after embarking on her career with Planned Parenthood, Johnson said she began to have doubts about her employer, and whether or not this was the job she would retire from.
She said it started with the organization introducing an “abortion quota.”
“Honestly, I got involved with Planned Parenthood believing that our goal was to reduce the number of abortions,” she said. “That’s what they had told me, that’s what I had told the media.”
According to Johnson, that “quota” then doubled.
The final straw came after witnessing an abortion procedure.
Johnson asserts that she was asked to participate in an ultrasound-guided abortion, at 13 weeks gestation and that what she witnessed changed her views on abortion.
“I was asked to participate in an ultrasound-guided abortion, which is not common. Usually, abortion procedures are performed in a blind manner, so they don’t use an ultrasound while performing the procedure. They use an ultrasound beforehand to verify how long a woman is in her pregnancy so that we knew how much to charge her for the abortion.But they didn’t use one during the abortion.”
“And so we had a new visiting doctor come in and he wanted to show me what this type of abortion procedure looked like. He thought it would be a good learning experience for me, the woman that I went in to assist, she was 13 weeks pregnant, and I was there and I watched her 13-week old baby struggle for his life, against the abortion instrument,” stated Johnson.
“I knew then that I had been lied to by the abortion industry when they told me, you know, fetuses don’t feel pain, or don’t feel anything in the womb.”
Shortly thereafter Johnson wished to leave. She told The Journal that the people she had seen for years praying outside of her clinic helped her through the process.
However, Johnson’s transition out of the abortion industry wasn’t easy. Johnson has been open with her testimony regarding her time working for the non-profit, which she said attracted the attention of her former employer.
A 2009 report from Fox News confirms that Planned Parenthood did issue a restraining order against Johnson, along with the Coalition for Life, a pro-life group.
However, Johnson said she is free to speak about her experience within the organization.
In 2015, Johnson spoke with conservative commentator Steven Crowder about her experiences as an employee with Planned Parenthood.
When asked if it is typical for abortion facilities to take legal action against former employees, Johnson told The Journal that the practice isn’t unusual.
“It can be, particularly if they were high up in the clinic. It’s not uncommon, we have seen that happen before, even with the workers that we have helped.”
“Sometimes they get a cease and desist order, sometimes they get different legal action against them. So, you know, I wouldn’t say it’s common, but it absolutely does happen. And particularly if they find out that the worker has gone to a pro-life group. Then they especially become threatening,” Johnson stated.
After leaving Planned Parenthood Johnson became active in the pro-life movement and attended speaking engagements.
She told The Journal that it was at one such speech, when an employee from Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles came up to her and said she wanted to leave.
Johnson then realized that there was tremendous need within the pro-life movement for organizations to minister to clinic workers.
She said that she and her husband starting offering financial help to people seeking to leave abortion clinics, but soon realized that they needed a to be able to offer comprehensive help.
Johnson said that her non-profit, And Then There Were None, received their first client soon after their launch. She said that she and her husband would have been pleased if they could help around 10-12 workers a year.
But by the end of their first year of operation, And Then There Were None had aided almost 60 former abortion workers.
That number has since climbed to 420.
“It just shows the power of God, and shows the power of conversion,” said Johnson.
“And shows that people do not want to be working in this industry. It is not a normal place to work. You’re not doing normal things. If we can provide an opportunity to help get them out and bring them into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and help them heal from what they have been a part of then that’s what we want to do.”
And Then There Were None offers comprehensive services for those leaving the abortion industry, including resume guidance, help finding new employment, financial assistance, legal services, as well as emotional and spiritual support.
When asked what pro-life advocates can do to change the minds of abortion workers, Johnson told The Journal that it has to come from a place of love.
For those that choose to pray outside of abortion clinics, she says that unlike trying to reach a woman in crisis, where there may be only seconds to get the patient to change her mind, pro-lifers have the opportunity to develop a relationship with the clinic employees.
Johnson advocates for constant outreach, being kind, and offering to pray for workers and their families, instead of the yelling and picketing often portrayed in the media.
“What we tried to do was re-humanize everyone involved in this issue,” she said. “And show that there is humanity for everyone and that no one is beyond conversion. Including those who work in the clinics.
“Somebody has to be their advocate, because God wants them to come back to him.”
Caterine DeCicco is The Western Journal’s Washington, D.C., video producer.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.