I held the ultrasound probe on the mother’s stomach and her 13-week-old baby popped up on the screen. The doctor told me to move the probe exactly he wanted so he could properly place his instruments where they needed to be in order to quickly do the job and move onto the next woman. The baby jumped, tried to move away from the instrument.
Then the vacuum turned on and I watched in horror as the baby tried to fight for its life against the instrument but failed. It was torn apart right in front of me, just mere inches from my hand that held the probe on the mother’s abdomen. Then it was over, the screen a blank, black space where a life no longer existed. It was empty. I felt the same.
I ran out of Planned Parenthood and into the Coalition for Life office next door, where they were more than a little shocked to see me, the clinic director, one they had prayed for for many years. I was in tears as I described what I had just seen on the ultrasound screen. Even though I was the clinic director and had worked at an abortion clinic for eight years, I had never seen an abortion performed. And it was not standard procedure to do ultrasound-guided abortions at my clinic either so seeing what I saw that day was unusual - but it was pivotal in my breakthrough moment.
Even though I was a Christian when I worked at Planned Parenthood, I thought I was doing God’s work by helping women facing crisis situations. I was helping them further their education and careers. I was helping them get out of a poorly-timed pregnancy. I was empowering women. But in the end, I realized I was doing none of those things. In fact, I was telling women the best thing they could do for their baby was to end its life.
I tell my story in the book Unplanned, which has been made into a feature film by the same name, which is coming out in theaters on March 29th. My breakthrough moment is one I hope millions of people come and watch or read about. God’s mercy is infinite, his love all encompassing.
My breakthrough moment encompassed more than myself. All of those peaceful and prayerful sidewalk advocates that prayed for me for years had their prayers answers. My parents were instrumental in praying that I would see abortion for what it truly is and quit the industry. My wonderful husband, Doug, was a solid rock for me all during the time I worked at Planned Parenthood. He didn’t agree with what I was doing but he showed me unconditional love and continues to be a man of great courage and strength for our family.
Breaking through the deception of the abortion industry was no small feat, but with prayer, all things are possible. In 2012, I had another breakthrough moment as I realized there were no ministries that served former abortions or tried to reach into clinics and get them out. I asked God to send someone to start that ministry. You can guess what happened.
I began And Then There Were None in 2012 with the vision of helping abortion workers to leave their jobs, help them find new ones, offer counseling and financial assistance, and help them to heal. So far, we have helped 487 workers, including seven doctors, leave the industry. Twenty-one abortion clinics have shut down in part due to our efforts in removing their staff - if there are no more abortion clinic workers, abortion clinics can’t open.
Prayer: My favorite prayer is Psalm 30. Read it and meditate on the mercy and love of God.
Abby Johnson is founder and director of And Then There Were None and author of “Unplanned” and “The Walls Are Talking.” Her story told in Unplanned is now a major motion film of the same name, opening in theaters nationwide March 29, 2019.