"I Feel So Pure In Heart:" Planned Parenthood Director Becomes Anti-Abortion Activist

Illustration for article titled I Feel So Pure In Heart: Planned Parenthood Director Becomes Anti-Abortion Activist

Abby Johnson, former director of a Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas has left the organization because she claims it was pressuring her to increase revenue through more abortions. Now she prays outside her former workplace with an anti-abortion group.

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Johnson says she changed her mind about abortion after watching an ultrasound of the procedure. "I just thought I can't do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that's it," she told KBTX's Ashlea Sigman. However, she also says she was disturbed by a change in Planned Parenthood's business model. She claims she was pressed to get more "abortions in the door" because "the money wasn't in family planning, the money wasn't in prevention, the money was in abortion." She's now a supporter of the anti-abortion group Coalition for Life, and Planned Parenthood has filed a restraining order against both Johnson and the Coalition. The order doesn't forbid Johnson from praying or protesting on the premises, but it does say that "Planned Parenthood would be irreparably harmed by the disclosure of certain information."

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Opponents of abortion — at least, those who comment on Breitbart.tv — see the restraining order as "cultish" behavior and evidence that Planned Parenthood is guilty of malfeasance. One says, "It's going to hurt their reputation if she talks? Well, isn't that a damning statement in & of itself?" The allegation that Planned Parenthood was trying to do more abortions just for the money is disturbing, and I hope it isn't true. But Planned Parenthood wouldn't have to be guilty of anything so mercenary for Johnson to be able to harm it — she could, for instance, disclose details about patients or donors that would enable anti-abortion activists to harass them, not only causing Planned Parenthood's donation base to shrink but also scaring women away from exercising their reproductive rights. If I was a patient at Planned Parenthood, I would want to know that, should the director of the facility have a "change of heart," my confidentiality would still be protected.

Johnson says that since leaving Planned Parenthood, "I feel so pure in heart. I don't have this guilt, I don't have this burden on me anymore that's how I know this conversion was a spiritual conversion." She's entitled to her opinion, and to live her life as she sees fit. But she's one person, and her story doesn't prove, as one conservative blog claims, that the country is turning against abortion because "improved imaging techniques have verified the humanity of gestating life." Nor does everyone who does what she once did live with a constant sense of guilt or "burden." Many people feel "pure in heart" through supporting reproductive freedom, not protesting against it, and while Johnson deserves the right to speak for herself, she doesn't speak for everybody.

Planned Parenthood Leader Resigns After Watching Ultrasound Of Abortion Procedure [Breitbart.tv]
Planned Parenthood Director Leaves, Has Change Of Heart [KBTX]

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DISCUSSION

While Planned Parenthood does good work, and I have used their services multiple times, they leave me with an icky taste in my mouth for a couple of reasons.

1. They sell t-shirts that advertise " I had an abortion." Thinking that is is nothing to hide is one thing, being proud and advertising is another. It is tactless and I think speaks volumes about what they as an organization believe.

2. They discriminate against women who have men to support them, under the guise of other women's safety. I went to PP for an appointment, which included my needing to have an ultrasound and blood work done. I am terrified of needles. My boyfriend was in the lobby and I wanted to have him come back and hold my hand. They refused and cited patient confidentiality. I asked what they were talking about, it is my appointment and I am able to have whoever I want with me. They then said it was for the safety of other clients, "excuse me" I asked, " are you telling me that you think my boyfriend is a security risk?"

Their answer was "Yes, he's a man." We went round and round and by the time they finally allowed him in (about 45 minutes later after I kept screaming and demanding to talk to their supervisors) I was so upset that I puked up the pill and had to go back the next day - they let him in with me that time, imagine that? He suddenly became not dangerous?

Now, I have no doubt that Planned Parenthood has serious issues with threats, they are all secure locations, but to insult a women seeking an abortion that her significant other might harm her or someone else is just beyond the pale.

I have never had a worse experience in my life. I have never felt more like a "number" and not a person. Planned Parenthood will never receive another positive nod from me. Ever.