I Once was Lost, but Now I'm Pro-LifeBy Abby Johnson
Sometimes I wonder what I would have named them. Would I have had two girls, or maybe a girl and a boy? I wonder if my daughter would have had my round cheeks or dark hair. Maybe my son would have had his dad's dark brown eyes or maybe been a good athlete. I'll never know. I killed two of my children by abortion. I utilized my choice to take their lives. I bought what the abortion industry was selling. I then turned around and sold those same lies for eight years. I ran a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. I sold abortion to women at their most vulnerable time. I coerced them. I helped them kill their children.
Thankfully, I am also redeemed. I don't have to live with that shame and guilt anymore. I can use those terrible experiences to help save the lives of others.
For 40 years, we as pro-life advocates have treated clinic workers as lepers, those that we can't touch. But times are changing. We are now reaching out to clinic workers, just like people reached out to me. We are reaching them with compassion and the mercy and love of Christ. They are turning to the pro-life movement for help and we are answering their call.
When I left the pro-choice movement, I was certain that there must be a national organization out there to specifically reach out to clinic workers. I was shocked to find out there was none. I decided it was time to change that. In June 2012, I launched a ministry to reach out to clinic workers called, "And Then There Were None." Our goal is to help clinic workers to know Christ as their Savior and convert to the pro-life movement. When that happens, we will help them financially, spiritually, emotionally and legally. Since last June, we have had more than 40 workers turn to our ministry. These workers are the piece of the puzzle that has been missing all of these years. In fact, one of our former workers has already helped to shut down the clinic where she once worked.
As pro-life advocates, we have been working for 40 years, trying to figure out what goes on inside the abortion industry. Now we know, because of these former workers.
My goal in the pro-life movement has always been conversion: conversion of clinic workers, pro-choice politicians, pro-choice activists, churches that support abortion, and mothers in crisis. And yes, sometimes, we have to convert the hearts of our own pro-life activists. We must ask ourselves what it really means to be pro-life. Does it mean that we just don't like abortion? Or does it mean that we are willing to go that extra step? Are we willing to take a young pregnant woman into our home to care for her when she has no one else? Are we willing to give sacrificially to those who have nothing? Are we willing to set our superficial judgments aside and truly be Christ-like? Are we willing to show mercy when others condemn? Are we willing to develop a genuine relationship with a clinician who works in the abortion industry? Are we willing to get our hands dirty?
Being pro-life isn't always pretty. And it's not just about "saving babies." It is about saving persons: the woman, the baby, the man involved, the family, and the clinic worker. It is sometimes about putting someone else's needs above our own. It is about stepping out of the comfortable and moving into a place that is unfamiliar.
We can set the example as individual advocates. But I believe this care must start in our churches. It is time for a revolution that will begin with Christians. It is time to start talking about the sanctity of human life as much as possible. Is it comfortable to talk about abortion? Not always. Do people always want to hear about it? Not usually. But silence breeds apathy, and that is what we are soaked in-apathy. The greatest breeding ground for apathy seems to be in our churches. Why is that? God makes it pretty clear throughout Scripture that life is sacred. We aren't scared to talk about a slew of other "hot button" issues, but we tend to be silent on the number oneissue that has invaded our churches. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 72% of women seeking abortions come from churches. Actually, I think that number is low. As a Planned Parenthood employee, my colleagues and I performed very few abortions on women who claimed to be atheists or agnostic. No, many of them brought their Bibles and/or rosaries to their abortion appointments. Many would ask if we would pray with them before the abortion procedure began.
Many of my pro-life friends are surprised to hear that I sat in church every Sunday even while I worked in the abortion industry. I never heard anyone speak about abortion. I never heard my preacher speak about the sin of abortion or about the healing that can come through Christ. Members of the church knew where I worked, but nothing was ever said. Apathy keeps these church-going women coming to the abortion clinics over and over again. Apathy keeps abortion clinic workers sitting in the pews feeling comfortable with their work. The churches are silent. The majority of clergy are silent. And their silence is deafening. By not speaking up, these clergy are telling silent sufferers in their congregations that the sin of abortion is too big for God. That is a lie. Clergy who are silent on this issue are doing their congregation an incredible disservice. With 72% of abortions coming from the church, a sermon once a year during the Sanctity of Human Life month is not enough! People are hurting. They are in desperate need of healing and they have no idea where to go because the church is silent. We have become so concerned about offending others that we have forgotten how much our apathy offends God.
If you are in a church where your pastor or priest actively speaks on the sanctity of human life, I encourage you to thank him, and thank him often. It is not easy, but it is right. If you are not hearing a message about abortion and healing from the pulpit, I strongly urge you to go to your pastor and ask why. Share why this is important to you. Share relevant statistics with them. Share your heart. Just because your pastor is silent does not mean you have to be. If you are not praying outside of abortion clinics, start now. If you are not16trying to reach out to women in crisis and abortion clinic workers, now is your time. No one is beyond the mercy of Christ. Everyone's heart can change. Stand up for life. Stand up and speak up. Lives are depending on it.