I just finished reading a fascinating book entitled, unPLANNED. It tells the story of Abby Johnson, who was a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, where abortions were regularly performed, but now has joined the Coalition for Life, which fights for the rights of the unborn. I had first heard of the book while praying outside the abortion clinic in Rockford. I finally got my hands on the it this week. The story is compelling. I could hardly put it down.
It gives a good insight into the battles that rage across our land at abortion clinics. Outside the fence, you have pro-life protesters, praying and offering help to women who are choosing abortion. Inside the fence, you have pro-choice workers, seeking to assure scared women that abortion is a good thing.
Throughout the book, Abby Johnson’s care and compassion for the welfare of women comes through loud and clear. In fact, her heart for women is why she was working with Planned Parenthood in the first place. They say that their goal is to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions. However, over the eight years that she worked for Planned Parenthood, she came to see that since abortions pay the bills, they actually were working to increase abortions in their clinics.
Things for Abby came to a head when she witnessed an ultrasound-guided abortion of a thirteen week old fetus. She saw the physicians probe approach the fetus. As it poked and prodded, she witnessed the fetus kick and try to move away from the probing invader. Then, as the suction was turned on, she saw the tiny body violently twisting around and wrung like a dishcloth. Soon, the little body crumpled and was sucked into the tube (pp. 5-6).
There are many lessons to be learned from the book. Today, I’ll bring one. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). I believe that Abby was won to the other side by the love of her “enemies.” The overwhelming testimony of those who came to pray and to persuade abortion minded women from going through with the procedure was a testimony of love and kindness. The pro-life volunteers (from top to bottom) consistently greeted Abby with grace and offered to help her however they could. When Abby wanted out, she went straight to the Coalition for Life because she knew that they would help her.
Abby was impacted several of the pro-lifers personally. People like Mr. Orozco, who was always outside the clinic praying whenever abortions were being performed, was always gracious to her. She said, “He’s so sweet. He never bothers our clients at all, just takes his spot and greets everybody. … He must be in his seventies, but not matter what the weather, he’s out there, friendly as can be” (p. 52).
But, one particular pro-lifer was Elizabeth. One day, Elizabeth attempted to give Abby some flowers. Abby refused them. Eventually, Elizabeth left them on the driveway and left). Seeing that (and not wanting the flowers to be ruined), she made up an excuse to pick up the flowers. On them was attached a note which Elizabeth had written,
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY.”
I’m praying for you, Abby!
Abby kept the card for two years and was sure to grab it when she cleaned out her desk for the last time. This note was an expression of love from the pro-lifers to Abby, the arch-enemy of their cause. But, it made an impact. When she quit her job with Planned Parenthood, she desperately wanted to speak with Elizabeth and tell her the news.
When Mr. Orozco found out what Abby had done, he embraced her saying, “Oh Abby, I have been praying for you for so many years. It is so good to see you on this side of the fence! What an answer to prayer you are!” Abby comments, “This kind man had been praying for me for years. God had answered his prayers. I had no words sufficient to express my gratitude” (p. 210).
Many who are loved and prayed for never turn to the truth. But, this is no reason to stop loving our enemies as Christ called us to do. “The answer to prayer can take a very long time” (p. 246).