Audio: An evening with Abby Johnson

posted at 10:05 am on October 4, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Last night I took my wife to a dinner at Pro-Life Action Ministries’ annual banquet, where former Planned Parenthood manager-turned-prolife activist Abby Johnson spoke.  The evening had a number of speakers, including one young mother from West Africa who changed her mind about an abortion in January after talking with a PLAM sidewalk counselor (former TV reporter Kalley Yanta, who emceed the evening), and who brought her baby girl to meet the crowd.    Johnson and gave the keynote speech that touched on her own personal experiences in the abortion industry and then getting out of it.  I had thought to bring my camera but could not get close enough to take good video, so I settled for taking a number of still photos and recording the speech — almost an hour long, as it happened — on our digital recorder.

I’m not sure what I expected from Johnson, who only recently became an activist and author, but I was surprised by her talent at public speaking and by her natural charm — and her passion.  Johnson also shared some painfully personal recollections in her speech to underscore the nature of abortion, but also to emphasize the possibility for redemption for anyone touched by abortion.  I put together three short passages from the speech that touched me most, and set them to a slideshow of the photographs I took last night:

As a grandparent of two girls myself, the first revelation took my breath away, but the second was more instructive. Planned Parenthood wants to pose abortion as an antiseptic tissue removal service, but Johnson’s explanation of the “POC” (products of conception) work is just ghastly.  It’s an explanation that exposes the lie that abortions only expel a lump of tissue, and it should be heard more often in the discussion over abortion.  (Interestingly, it’s difficult to find links to “POC technician” in the US, but here’s a want ad in India that explains exactly what is involved.)

I wanted to introduce myself to Abby after the speech to thank her for her candor and activism, but understandably a crowd of hundreds had formed around her table, where she was signing copies of her book Unplanned.  Regardless, it is an evening that will stay with me for a very long time.

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Keep the change….where for art thou?

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Thank Ed. God bless you.

Texican Ben on October 4, 2011 at 10:10 AM

This audio is making me nauseous.

If there is a God he must be asleep. This is insanity. This world is INSANE.

I’m seriously nauseous.

This is why I cannot EVER respect a woman who finds abortion to be morally acceptable.

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Ed, a little warning might be appropriate. That was a sickening description of POC technician.

Mord on October 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM

That was a sickening description of POC technician.

Mord on October 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM

But absolutely necessary

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Thanks Ed, these posts and your reflection of your faith in your writing is the main reason I enjoy this site.

pb5000 on October 4, 2011 at 10:17 AM

The concept of abortion really wipes away the notion of “civilized” nations.

Every “civilized” nation has been wiping out its young for how many decades?

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Ed, a little warning might be appropriate. That was a sickening description of POC technician.

Mord on October 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM


Ghastly
was insufficient?

flyfisher on October 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:13 AM
Mord on October 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Appreciate the heads up, now I know not to listen. The last time I heard something like this it was about that abortion nurse who saw the baby moving inside the woman before the procedure was done…I flew into a rage and then into a depressive funk. I don’t do well with these narratives.

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Oh hell yes. I love Abby. Her book was nothing short of amazing. I cried like a baby at her humility during the different events during her transformation…such as the time she threw in the Planned Parenthood towel for good and then snuck into the Coalition for Life office from the back and then proceeded to cry uncontrollably in a joyful catharsis…it was incredible to read….

Looking forward to her speech, thanks for posting Ed

Schweggie on October 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Absolutely f*cking sickening.

Abortion is eradication. It is absolute eradication. What insanity. What an insane, mad, empty world we live in.

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM

I have been to war…

and I couldn’t make it past halfway into her explanation of what a POC technician is. I had to click away.

Youngs98 on October 4, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I can deal with a person who wants to soak the rich.

I can deal with a person who has reservations about the government banning abortion (in the general context of liberties, etc).

I CANNOT deal with someone who, at a basic level, thinks abortion is morally acceptable.

Makes me sick. Just makes me sick. I was not the first child, but I was the first born, and that will follow me the rest of my life.

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Ghastly was insufficient?

flyfisher on October 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Woops! That was my fault. I must have skipped that sentence, sorry Ed.

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM

I know what you mean. Every since that story about the abortionist in PA with the stacks of dead babies in the basement I’ve tried to steer clear of these posts for the most part. I have changed my mind on this issue, that is for sure.

Mord on October 4, 2011 at 10:25 AM

blatantblue: This is a sad truth, but abortion is almost the hallmark of an ‘advanced affluent civilization’.

Moloch must be sated.

Scott H on October 4, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Every “civilized” nation has been wiping out its young for how many decades?

It’s an ancient evil. The writings of both Aristotle and Plato reference abortion.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

flyfisher on October 4, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Years ago, James Dobson had a former PP employee on Focus on the Family. She told how PP marketed itself through sex education classes in kindergarten knowing that the way sex ed was presented in government schools would lead to pregnancy in the future and viola’- “customers”. It was a chilling hour.

Amendment X on October 4, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Liberalism is truly the Petrie dish for evil

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Woops! That was my fault. I must have skipped that sentence, sorry Ed….

Mord on October 4, 2011 at 10:25 AM

No worries. I think “ghastly” is insufficient, but I couldn’t think of a stronger word.

Ed Morrissey on October 4, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I’ve always wondered, in a dread sort of way, how those techs and doctors can just go home, wash their hands, plop a tv dinner in the microwave, and settle down to watch “Idol” after doing what they do all day long.

I have nightmares about not being able to track down an electrical fault on my skid-steer, how can those people not wake up screaming at what they’ve done.

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 10:32 AM

I attended a similar event a few years ago that featured a speaker who survived her mother’s abortion attempt. If every American sat down tonight and watched a video of the speech she gave that night, abortion would be illegal by this time next year.

flyfisher on October 4, 2011 at 10:33 AM

I should add that I once interned at the Minneapolis Police Dept. crime lab, I tagged along with the homicide detectives to see autopsies of people who had been murdered in truly awful ways. It took some serious concentration and measured breathing for me not to run from the room, I can’t imagine those surgical tools being used on a baby.

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Thanks for the warnings. I stopped it at 1:18.

gh on October 4, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Elizabeth McClung is the head of the Coalition for Life group that prayed outside the Bryan, TX PP clinic where Abby Johnson was a director. Elizabeth worked very hard to help Abby change her mind, praying patiently outside the clinic for weeks, and I believe was the first person Abby called when she began to have a change of heart. She’s now the director of our local Austin Coalition for Life and a lovely person.

People like Abby and Elizabeth are making a difference.

Missy on October 4, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Years ago a dear friend of mine had an abortion. No matter what they try to tell you it stays with you forever. She has never forgotten…

sandee on October 4, 2011 at 10:40 AM

In some ways, this is even worse:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/279085/her-name-mary-kathryn-jean-lopez

gh on October 4, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Kudos to all of u taking upon yourself to advocate peacefully for an issue u care about so deeply. Publicizing your issue in this fashion with the goal of turning a culture to your perspective is how advocates of limited government can affirm that government is not for everything.

I personally do not see the moral hazard of abortion nor do I see how in the first 3 months one can be said to be terminating anything other than a potential individual but, nevertheless your effor to exact change, whether thru cheap demogouery or contempt is a valid and much more mindful of a limited government perspective . Good luck.

beselfish on October 4, 2011 at 10:44 AM

No worries. I think “ghastly” is insufficient, but I couldn’t think of a stronger word.

Ed Morrissey on October 4, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Thanks for the video anyway. Like Blatantblue said above, it actually is something that needs to be spread around. It is a powerful argument that WILL change people’s minds if, like me, they were indifferent about abortion because they were completely ignorant of what actually goes on.

Mord on October 4, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Tiller the Killer hung out in a church. Totally clueless to his sin regarding his work on abortion.

seven on October 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM

“I didnt get voted out of Planned Parenthood, I got prayed out”

Powerful stuff.

Odie1941 on October 4, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I’ve always wondered, in a dread sort of way, how those techs and doctors can just go home, wash their hands, plop a tv dinner in the microwave, and settle down to watch “Idol” after doing what they do all day long.

I have nightmares about not being able to track down an electrical fault on my skid-steer, how can those people not wake up screaming at what they’ve done.

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 10:32 AM

I know what you mean. Bottomline, their participation in this ghastly “work” just desensitizes their conscience and hardens their hearts.

Psalm 139:
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand — when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

Proverbs 1:
10 My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them.
11 If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”—
15 my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood.

Tangentially: I looked at the India ad and am struck by the name of the person doing the hiring: Nandini Chakraborty Chakra-aborty?

AH_C on October 4, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Tiller the Killer hung out in a church. Totally clueless to his sin regarding his work on abortion.

seven on October 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Some of the pastors in the mainline denominations are now so lost that they advocate for abortion. Large swaths of evangelicals now preach an essentially Christ-less gospel and are trending liberal, so they won’t be far behind.

flyfisher on October 4, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Tiller the Killer hung out in a church. Totally clueless to his sin regarding his work on abortion.

seven on October 4, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Sounds like some other commentors here….beselfish @ 10:44 AM.

rhbandsp on October 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM

AH_C on October 4, 2011 at 10:57 AM

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:16)

flyfisher on October 4, 2011 at 11:06 AM

My first wife knew an abortion technician in San Francisco back in the ’80s. The fact that she had to identify all of the body parts (arms, legs, torso, head) to make sure they removed all of the fetus – that tells you something. We would always get into heated arguments over her work – but she had her own rationalizations (which, frankly, didn’t make much sense) which allowed her to continue. But when someone was facing the death penalty? THE HORROR! Screwed up priorities.

Timothy S. Carlson on October 4, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Don’t have the courage to listen to the audio. Thank you for the post. I can’t take more than that.

antisocial on October 4, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Keep the change….where for art thou?

Bishop on October 4, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Do I owe you rent money? I seem to live in your head. But I’m not paying a cent. I was just dropping by, and I made such an impression on you, you wouldn’t let me go. And quite frankly, I don’t like it in here. It’s drafty and there’s no natural light. And there’s a funny smell.

keep the change on October 4, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Nope, not going to listen, can’t do it.

Bob's Kid on October 4, 2011 at 11:43 AM

“I don’t wanna talk about it.”

-Neil Boortz

mankai on October 4, 2011 at 11:43 AM

One of the most upsetting things I’ve heard since the Gosnell stuff. Simply murder.

Dino64 on October 4, 2011 at 11:44 AM

It’s drafty and there’s no natural light. And there’s a funny smell.

keep the change on October 4, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Sorry to hear that your living conditions are so bad.

Timothy S. Carlson on October 4, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Referring to that precious baby as a specimin. Bagging it. Identifying parts. Good God!!! I think you have to be inhuman, or have chromosome damage to be a part of such barbarism.

capejasmine on October 4, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Referring to that precious baby as a specimin. Bagging it. Identifying parts. Good God!!! I think you have to be inhuman, or have chromosome damage to be a part of such barbarism.

capejasmine on October 4, 2011 at 11:50 AM

What was Hank Williams, Jr. saying about Hitler again?

Planned parenthood and the abortionist Left: Monsters in the making.

mankai on October 4, 2011 at 12:21 PM

What an insane, mad, empty world we live in.

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM

I hope you don’t mean to imply that this world wasn’t insane, mad, and empty before the advent of abortion.

ernesto on October 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM

No one can deny that this country sanctions the wholesale slaughter of unborn human flesh. If this is your bag then so be it . . . but don’t try to sell it as an acceptable, sane act of free will that is conducted by caring compassionate human beings.

rplat on October 4, 2011 at 12:29 PM

I hope you don’t mean to imply that this world wasn’t insane, mad, and empty before the advent of abortion.

ernesto on October 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Didn’t imply that, but it’s worth discussing.

We’re no better than the past peoples we claim to be above. We’re worse.

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 12:31 PM

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 12:31 PM

I don’t think you can honestly say that we’re worse. It’s not the most heartening discussion to have, but there are fundamental differences between women choosing to abort their own child and the sort of coerced violence that dominates humanity’s past.

ernesto on October 4, 2011 at 12:35 PM

ernesto on October 4, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Read what you wrote again.

hawkdriver on October 4, 2011 at 12:42 PM

AH_C on October 4, 2011 at 10:57 AM

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:16)

flyfisher on October 4, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Exactly. Their minds are debased and no longer know right from wrong; instead they call evil good and good evil.

AH_C on October 4, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I hope you don’t mean to imply that this world wasn’t insane, mad, and empty before the advent of abortion.

ernesto on October 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Abortifacts have been available since ancient times, although abortion has never been practiced on the scale it is now.

Perhaps you should learn a little bit about history before trying to discuss it. Infanticide and abortion are not anything new–only the magnitude at which they are performed. And perhaps you can explain that remark of yours about “coerced violence” of the past while you’re at it.

zoyclem on October 4, 2011 at 1:36 PM

If there is a God he must be asleep.

2 Peter 3:9 ~ The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

6 Galatians 6:7-8 ~ 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

God is not asleep. He is patient and merciful. However, He is also just, and though His mercy endures for ever, His patience does not. He will execute justice. Count on it.

OscarSchneegans on October 4, 2011 at 2:23 PM

2 Peter 3:9 ~ The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

6 Galatians 6:7-8 ~ 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

God is not asleep. He is patient and merciful. However, He is also just, and though His mercy endures for ever, His patience does not. He will execute justice. Count on it.

OscarSchneegans on October 4, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Thanks, Oscar. Your comment is so good, it bears repeating.

Blessings to you.

GrannyDee on October 4, 2011 at 2:39 PM

That was a sickening description of POC technician.

Mord on October 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM

The truth is sometimes very hard. It took my breath away.

kringeesmom on October 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

This audio is making me nauseous.

If there is a God he must be asleep. This is insanity. This world is INSANE.

I’m seriously nauseous.

This is why I cannot EVER respect a woman who finds abortion to be morally acceptable.

blatantblue on October 4, 2011 at 10:13 AM

I have a Christian believing cousin who would never have an abortion herself, would not counsel anyone else to, but does not want abortion to be outlawed because that would take away an individual womans’s control over her own body.
Yeah, we get into it occasionally, but up till now it hasn’t done any good.

What Abbey Johnson said about being ‘prayed out’ is the key. But then that leaves all of you conservative atheists frustrated because you genuinely want to do something. But what?
To what higher authority are you going to address your very real grievences about this situation?

God IS (exists), and he’s not asleep. I am well able to explain to my own satisfaction exactly how and why bad things happen to good people, incuding those who are the epitome of all innocence; those in the womb.
But trying to convince atheists by discussion (maybe argument is a better word) to believe in God is no more productive than me arguing abortion with my cousin who already is a christian believer.
So . . . I guess I’ll just have to go back to praying.

Hey Ed, does this post constitute a “hijack” of the thread?
My apologies if it does.

listens2glenn on October 4, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Did she say why she no longer thinks Planned Parenthood is an important part of the thin blue line. Think of the crime which could have occurred if all those black babies had been brought to term. Like Bullworth said We must mix our genes until we are all the same color , and no one can claim superiority or victimhood. A universal Halle Berry shade would be a welcome improvement over the sunburning, freckle faced pasty white hides my poor posterity must endure. Darwin predicted that same whitey gene limits the numbers of the suitable breeding partners carrying the more survivable pigment gene because of the collapse of our ability to perform a mating dance that arouses females of any species, let alone the prized dark skinned specimens.
Herb Cain is a racist. He almost fooled us.

borntoraisehogs on October 4, 2011 at 7:25 PM

A universal Halle Berry shade would be a welcome improvement over the sunburning, freckle faced pasty white hides my poor posterity must endure.

borntoraisehogs on October 4, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Oh man . . . . . I am sooo with you on that.

I think you could put Vanessa Williams in that category as well.

listens2glenn on October 4, 2011 at 8:29 PM