Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reflection After Reading Unplanned

Abby Johnson is a former director of multiple Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas who became pro-life. After leaving her job at Planned Parenthood her story spread to the national news then published her story in the book Unplanned on January 11, 2011. My wife bought the book for us to read when it was released from a Berean Christian Store. We called Barnes and Noble and Borders but they were out-of-stock stating that the book was released at the end of December 2010. I have now read Unplanned in it's entirety. What do I think of the book in one word? Awesome.

Important Points Learned from the Book

There are good pro-choicers and good pro-lifers...
No matter what controversial topic may arise, there are always those who are in favor and those who are against. Also, with every topic there will always be good and bad people on both sides. Abortion is no different.

Abby Johnson helped me to understand the reasoning that she had in becoming involved in Planned Parenthood's mission. Her reasons were heartfelt and genuine. She wished to decrease the number of abortions in our country. Planned Parenthood has repeatedly stated in their talking points that this is one of their goals. Abby Johnson then explained that many people who were not in a leadership position at Planned Parenthood also believed the same. These people had good reasons to be involved at Planned Parenthood.

...but there is only one truth.
However well intentioned the volunteers and workers at Planned Parenthood are, Abby Johnson helped me to learn, will not change that there is a right and wrong. When Mrs. Johnson experienced first-hand an ultrasound guided abortion procedure her entire perspective changed. She also recently discovered that in the face of losing business Planned Parenthood was encouraging clinics to increase their abortion numbers rather than decrease it. Planned Parenthood had no intention to decrease the number of abortions although they publicly stated that they wanted to. They have deceived and continue to deceive many people regarding their true purpose: profit no matter how many babies are killed.

Prayer changes things
If it wasn't for the persistent, prayerful, and peaceful pro-lifers then the conversion of Abby Johnson would have never occurred. Her conversion was a miracle of answered prayers. 40 Days for Life started at Abby Johnson's Planned Parenthood in Texas and has now become an international pro-life movement. 40 Days for Life is an event that occurs twice a year that is organized by local pro-lifers to pray peacefully outside of an abortion clinic 24/7 for 40 days straight. These are the prayers that aided Abby Johnson in her journey. The power of prayer cannot and should not be underestimated.

Peaceful witness is powerful; aggressive witness is not
Mrs. Johnson illustrated in her book that the more aggressive pro-life protesters, although well intentioned, were less effective and possibly detrimental to the pro-life cause. Those who are pro-choice often will demonize pro-lifers by stating that all pro-lifers are violent and extreme when they protest. The small percentage of more aggressive protesters (who are ONLY verbally aggressive) help validate the false claim of Planned Parenthood that all pro-life protesters are violent. Mrs. Johnson illustrated that Planned Parenthood liked to be seen as the "victim" of pro-life protesters so that they could receive more donations from supporters.

Abortion is indeed the murder of babies
This might seem like a moot point, but it is indeed very important. Those of us who are pro-life understand that abortion is a horrendous evil yet many of us do not act accordingly to help stop it.

I am a prime example: I write a blog periodically about this topic and post links and statements on my facebook account yet I am not consistently active in the pro-life movement. I am doing everything to change this because abortion truly is a holocaust that should be opposed whenever possible. I prayed outside of a Planned Parenthood with my wife and son on Saturday and have committed myself to doing the same every single Saturday whenever possible. This is a start! All of us pro-lifers should be committed to saving as many babies from being killed and helping as many women in crisis as possible. God has called us all by name to help those who need the most help; let us act on that command!

Forgiveness from ourselves and from God is possible
Although Abby Johnson admits many things that she regrets that she has done, she has received forgiveness from herself and from God. Dwelling on our past, especially on our past mistakes, leads many to a large amount of depression and a lack in the ability to improve our lives. Every single day is another opportunity to positively affect the world. With a damaged soul there affecting the world in a positive way is nearly impossible. We must take care of ourselves so that we can then take care of others. My job in hospice has taught me this very straightforward yet hard lesson very frequently. It is a real lesson that we all must apply to our daily lives.

There were many points that I took away from the book Unplanned by Abby Johnson. I am very grateful that Mrs. Johnson converted to being pro-life and is now an advocate in the correct way for the unborn, mothers, and fathers. It is a blessing to see the works that she has accomplished through the grace of God. Abby Johnson is also a wonderful resource for those who work in the abortion industry but want out; she shows that it is possible to quit work that is life-destroying and then join work that is life-affirming. God bless you Abby Johnson.

Now, go buy and read your copy of Unplanned today!

Links relevant to the blog entry
Abby Johnson: URL
Berean Book Stores: URL
40 Days for Life: URL


Anonymous said...

Your review was impressive, however, as someone who has admitted that you have not been involved in pro-life work consistently, I feel the need to correct something. As someone involved for 30 years at clinics, let me say that we are not there to save the workers, we are there to rescue those being unjustly sentenced to death. That does not mean we are not compassionate to the workers, but, we go out there to speak truth and defend life. That does require more than silent prayer and it also requires the use of graphic picket signs. You may be new, but hundreds of abortion clinics closed well before Ms. Johnson or you ever opened your eyes to the slaughter of these children. I believe God can use many ways to win a battle and when one person who is new to pro-life work tries to pigeon hold that by claiming they know what does and does not work- it restricts God. I have personally seen lives change from the methods you Abby decried, and she is wrong about that claim. Many witnesses are out there and God uses all personalities because we are all different. I love what God is doing in Abby's life and yours in waking you all up, but for those veterans who stood in snow, rain, and heat years before you and Abby did- please be careful what and how you react to our methods. We have many saves as well, who have a different story !

SegaMon said...

Thank you very much for your thoughtful response.

I agree with you that our primary goal is not to save the workers at clinics. This is not the primary goal of Abby Johnson, 40 Days for Life, nor is it my own primary goal. All of us in the pro-life movement recognize that saving babies lives are paramount.

I may have phrased part of my reflection poorly. However, my use of the word "aggressive" is very purposeful. I have seen many pro-life protesters be very stern and forthcoming; this form of protesting has its place and can be effective in saving some babies. Just the same can peaceful (which does NOT mean silent) protesting be effective in saving some babies. What is NOT effective is aggressive protesting in which profanities and threatening language is used (I have personally seen this from a pro-life protester once).

On this blog I have links to Abort73, Here's the Blood, and The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR). All of those websites have graphic images on them. I believe that these images are best used as shock value and it can be effective in changing some people's minds but not in others. I have held graphic signs in front of clinics sometimes but not at other times. When I want to confront the women who are going into the clinics, I tend to think that informative fliers is a better tactic . When I want to bring attention from those who pass by then large signs (even graphic ones) is a good tactic.

I am still learning and I appreciate your perspective of 30 years. Continue sharing your experiences so that newly involved pro-lifers can benefit. Thank you so much. I will continue to think about what the most effective methods are so that the most babies can be saved.