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.