Intertitle: On October 5, 2009, the director of the Bryan, TX Planned Parenthood took steps that would change her life.
Intertitle: What I Believed
Abby Johnson: If places like Planned Parenthood weren't around, then -- abortion would be really unsafe, and we would just be sending women to places that would be unsafe, and they would be dying -- by the thousands. And Planned Parenthood's goal is about preventing abortion, and it's about making abortion safe, and making it rare. And that really -- sounded -- about what I believed in.
Intertitle: What I Saw
Abby Johnson: I looked at the ultrasound screen, and I saw the whole profile of a baby on the screen. And, I was pretty excited when I went in the room, and as soon as I saw that baby on the screen, that excitement kind of left. I suddenly felt pretty anxious and was thinking that this could be a really horrible -- image.
The canula made its way to the baby and, started poking the baby in the side and, you know, the baby wasn't moving. And I thought, "Okay, well, of course not. Of course it's not moving because -- babies at this stage don't feel anything." That's what I tell women all the time. When they'd ask me if my baby's gonna feel pain or gonna feel anything, I tell them, "No."
All of a sudden, the baby woke up. It seemed to just wake up. And the baby started moving and the arms and legs started -- moving, and it appeared that the baby was trying to move away -- from the canula. And I just -- I couldn't believe what I was watching. And -- then the doctor had to keep moving the canula closer to the baby because it was making progress, moving away.
The last thing that I saw on the screen was -- this perfect little backbone of the baby. And, on an ultrasound the backbone is really bright white. And that was the -- the very last thing that I saw, twist and then -- and go into the tube.
We finished up the day, I went home. I called my friend -- Laura, who had also worked at the Bryan clinic with me, and was no longer working at Planned Parenthood anymore, and told about her what I had witnessed. And -- she -- when I started describing it, she'd never seen anything like that either, and she made me stop. And she just said, "I can't -- I can't listen to any more. To any more."
And then I started thinking about all the women that I'd lied to -- unintentionally, but, you know, Planned Parenthood had told me, that their baby's not gonna feel any of that, and their baby's not gonna feel any pain. And so -- and so when the women asked me that, and they asked me that all the time. I mean, women asked me that probably hundreds of times. And every time I would just immediately answer, "No! Absolutely not!" Because that's what Planned Parenthood had told me to say, and that's what I believed. And I just thought, "What if these women had known the truth? You know -- Would they have made that choice?" They asked the question because it mattered to them -- and I had just given them a lie.
Intertitle: What I Did
Abby Johnson: Monday I went back to work and I was just -- hating it. I was just dreading it. And they were doing medication abortions that day. And I was sitting in my office, and I was looking at these women coming in and out of the clinic, and they were walking to their car, and they were holding these brown bags, and knew that in the bag was the medication abortion -- pills, the regimen. And I just sat there and I was thinking, "I'm still doing it." I started to cry, and I -- I just thought, "Where am I gonna go?" Because all of my so-called friends were either working at Planned Parenthood or affiliated with Planned Parenthood in some way.
I looked out the window and I saw these two women -- praying outside of the clinic, and I -- I felt like God was telling me to go.
You know, the day that I saw the abortion procedure, I didn't know that I would one day be here. I didn't know that I would be working in the pro-life movement. Because I wasn't angry. I wasn't disgruntled. I just -- didn't want to work at Planned Parenthood any more. I just didn't want to -- take part in any more abortions. I didn't want my hands to be involved in that work any more. And, you know, God had different plans. And, you know, I heard somebody say one time, "You want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans." And -- and that's definitely been the situation for me through all of this.
I was never sure that I would feel comfortable going and praying out in front of the clinic that I ran. I didn't know how uncomfortable that would feel.
I know it works. And, you know, I didn't leave because I wanted attention. I left because I was following God's will. And, you know, every time you're out there in front of the clinic it is stirring up the conscience of the men and women going in, and it's stirring up the conscience of the clinic workers who are there. Every time you're out there, people are watching what you're doing. People are watching you pray.
I've gotten several calls from other Planned Parenthood directors, and other Planned Parenthood workers, who have left the abortion industry, because they felt like God was calling them out, and-- you know, they haven't gone public like I have, but they left, and now they're reaching out to me, because they want to talk to somebody about it. They want to talk to -- you know, about the things that they witnessed. And so -- You never know how much impact the work that you're doing will have on another person. And so that's why we have to keep up what we're doing. And we have to be willing to say to Planned Parenthood, and those that support Planned Parenthood, "As long as you're there, as long as your doors are open, as long as you are continuing to provide abortions, we will be there. And not that we're gonna be there fighting you. But we're going to be there bringing hope, to the people that work in that center. And we're going to be there to bring hope to the men and women going in there, who feel like they have no hope. We're going to be there to bring them hope."