When Abby Johnson resigned as director of a Texas Planned Parenthood clinic in 2009, she had no idea it would lead anywhere but to unemployment.
But major news media outlets grabbed on to her story of resigning after watching a 12-week-old unborn baby fight for life during an ultrasound-guided abortion. When Planned Parenthood tried to get a gag order to silence her, news networks asked the obvious question, “What don’t they want you to tell us?”
Johnson told of abortion quotas, profits, the agony of watching the baby die and the incredible weight of knowing she had helped facilitate some 22,000 abortions.
And in a few days, she went from the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic director in the nation to standing up for unborn babies. Her parents had been praying for years for that to happen.
She told her story in her best-selling book “Unplanned,” which was released as a film March 29.
“Unplanned” met roadblocks. Media outlets refused to run ads, and the Motion Picture Association of America gave it an R-rating. There are no bloody images, but there is a computer-generated reenactment of the scene that changed Johnson’s life.
“We don’t have nudity. We don’t have sex. We don’t have language, so the only thing they could give us an R for is violence. So that means they agree that abortion is a violent and disturbing act,” Johnson said.
That rating limited advertising and restricted audiences. In some states, young women can get an abortion without parental consent, but they cannot see the movie without consent.
“Unplanned” debuted at No. 4 at the box office despite being shown in just 1,059 theaters. (“Dumbo,” that weekend’s top film, debuted in 4,259 theaters.)
The book and the movie have upended Johnson’s life.
“Every day, I get a mile of Twitter feeds from people who tell of taking pro-abortion friends to the movie who walked out pro-life. That’s amazing,” Johnson said.
Johnson has come a long way.
After growing up in a Christian, pro-life home, Johnson began volunteering at Planned Parenthood during college to “help women.”
In eight years, she rose through the ranks to the youngest clinic director in the nation.
But she was troubled when Planned Parenthood unveiled plans to build the largest abortion facility in the nation. It included plans to facilitate abortions up to three months before birth. They also doubled abortion quotas to increase revenue.
“I thought they were going too far,” Johnson said. “For so long I believed the abortion catchphrase ‘legal and rare.’ This was not that.”
In eight years of working at Planned Parenthood, Johnson never saw or assisted in an abortion. But the day she watched a baby fight for life, she was horrified.
She talked with staff at the Coalition for Life, who prayed in front of the clinic. They had always been kind and encouraged her to resign.
The weight of what happened behind the walls of the clinic almost crushed her.
“I know reparation for my past is not required,” she said. “For my healing journey, sharing my story helps heal my soul and my heart.”
Johnson is now mom to eight children.
Her goal is to make abortion “unthinkable.”
In addition to speaking around the nation, Johnson founded And Then There Were None to reach out to abortion clinic workers. She wants people who work in the abortion industry to be loved and understood—not attacked and destroyed.
Since And Then There Were None began, 500 workers and seven abortion doctors have left the industry. Twenty-one abortion clinics have closed.
“I want everyone who sees the film to see how God’s love and mercy can change lives,” she said. “And I want people to understand that love is the only way we are going to win the war against abortion.”
“Unplanned” is showing at Regal Cinemas New Albany, AMC Stonybrook and Cinemark Tinseltown.