Abby Johnson | Srivideo
Biography | Posted: Wednesday, 26th August
Abby Johnson (activist)
Born/Date of Birth: July 10, 1980
Place of Birth: United States
Occupation: Authorpublic speakerPresident/Founder of And Then There Were None
Known for: Anti-abortion activism
Spouse: Doug Johnson (m. 2005)
Residence: Texas, United States
Education: Texas A&M University, Sam Houston State University, Rockdale High School
Abby Johnson (born July 10, 1980) is an American anti-abortion activist who previously worked at Planned Parenthood as a clinic director, but resigned in October 2009. She states that she resigned after watching an abortion on ultrasound. The veracity of her account of the details and motivation for her conversion have been challenged by two investigative reporters.
Her memoir, Unplanned, was made into the 2019 movie of the same name.
Early life and work
Johnson grew up in Rockdale, Texas, and graduated from Rockdale High School. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in psychology from Texas A&M University and Master of Arts in counseling from Sam Houston State University. Although raised in a conservative family opposed to abortion, Johnson began volunteering for Planned Parenthood in 2001 after seeing their booth at a volunteer fair at her college.
Identifying as "extremely pro-choice," Johnson worked at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas for eight years, escorting women into the clinic from their cars and eventually working as director of the clinic. Johnson regularly encountered activists from Coalition for Life (now known as 40 Days for Life), a local anti-abortion group which demonstrated at the clinic's fence, and described extensive harassment of clinic staff by anti-abortion activists. Johnson described death threats from anti-abortion activists against her and her family, stating: "It's very scary, this group of people that claim to be these peaceful prayer warriors, or whatever they call themselves, it's kind of ironic that some of them would be sending death threats." The Planned Parenthood clinic named Johnson employee of the year in 2008.
Resignation from Planned Parenthood
Johnson, in her description of her resignation from Planned Parenthood, said that in September 2009 she was called to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion at thirteen weeks of gestation. She commented that she was disconcerted to see how similar the ultrasound image looked to her own daughter's, and said that she saw the fetus squirming and twisting to avoid the vacuum tube used for the abortion. Johnson continued working at the clinic for nine more days, but soon met with Shawn Carney, leader of the local anti-abortion group Coalition for Life, and told him she could no longer continue assisting women in getting abortions. She resigned on October 6, 2009. After her resignation, she said that her supervisors had pressured her to increase profits by performing more and more abortions at the clinic, but said that she could not produce any evidence to support her allegations,:1 and that abortions account for 3% of all health services provided by Planned Parenthood,:1 :1 whose spokesperson stated that Johnson's allegations were "completely false".:1 In a September 2009 interview, Johnson acknowledged the 3% number,:1 :1 but in May 2011 Johnson stated that the figure is closer to 12%, and that Planned Parenthood artificially inflates the number of "services".
In court filings, Planned Parenthood said that Johnson was put on a "performance improvement plan" four days before her resignation, and that she was then seen "removing items" from the clinic and copying "confidential files" and gave the home address and phone number of an abortion provider to Coalition for Life. Planned Parenthood was granted a temporary injunction against Johnson after her resignation, preventing her from speaking about her job, and the order was lifted by a court a week later. Johnson herself claimed that the performance improvement plan was due to her reluctance to increase the number of abortions performed at her facility. Johnson also denies the accusations that she removed, copied, or distributed any confidential information and claimed in her book that her attorney disproved them at the time that the temporary order was lifted.
Johnson's description of her conversion has been questioned by two separate investigative journalists in articles for the Texas Monthly and The Texas Observer. In the Texas Monthly account, reporter Nate Blakeslee reported that one day after the epiphany Johnson stated she had while watching an ultrasound guided abortion, she gave a radio interview on a feminist program in which she was enthusiastic about her clinic and critical of the 40 Days for Life protestors.:1 Additionally, Johnson stated to Blakeslee that the woman having the abortion she witnessed was black, and thirteen weeks pregnant;:1 yet according to the Induced Abortion Report Forms (which are required to be filed with the state of Texas), only one woman that day was black; she was in her sixth week of pregnancy, and no patient that day was more than ten weeks.:1 According to Planned Parenthood, their records do not show any ultrasound-guided abortions performed on the date when Johnson said she witnessed the procedure, and the physician at the Bryan clinic stated that Johnson had never been asked to assist in an abortion.:1 Johnson argued that this discrepancy was due to Planned Parenthood's poor recordkeeping and possible manipulation of records.[dubious – discuss]
Blakeslee also said that during the court hearing for Planned Parenthood's injuction, two former co-workers of Johnson testified that she was afraid she would be fired.:1 Co-workers also testified that Johnson told them that Coalition for Life could find jobs for them, all they had to do was say they had a "moral conflict" against working at Planned Parenthood.:1 Additionally, he states that her social media postings immediately prior to her resignation never suggested any morality qualms, only someone tired of their job and angry at their employer.:1
In The Texas Observer article, author Saul Elbein interviewed Johnson and two of her friends. According to Laura Kaminczak, a friend of Johnson's since graduate school who worked at a different Planned Parenthood clinic, Johnson's resignation from Planned Parenthood and conversion to anti-abortion was "completely opportunistic.":1 Kaminczak stated that Johnson was disciplined at work because Kaminczak and Johnson had been exchanging emails with "inappropriate discussion" of their employees, for which Johnson was placed on a "performance improvement plan," and Kaminczak was fired.:1 Kaminczak also said that Johnson was not upset after seeing the abortion on ultrasound, but was excited about it because it seemed more humane than the standard procedure.:1 Shelly Blair, another of Johnson's friends, and Kaminczak both stated that Johnson had financial problems, and was considering bankruptcy before she resigned from Planned Parenthood.:1 Kaminczak went on to say that Johnson confided that Shawn Carney of Coalition for Life had promised her money for speaking arrangements if she converted. The author concludes with: "Johnson can’t stop talking about the people who wronged her, about how hard she worked, about how little she was appreciated. She’ll talk about how nasty her boss was, how her co-workers sold her out, how no one cared for the women as much as she did. She’ll talk about how the progressives kicked her out of their club because she became pro-life, and how her friends dropped her, and how unfair it all is. The more she talks, the more Abby Johnson’s issue with Planned Parenthood seems to be its treatment of Abby Johnson."
Johnson's story received national coverage starting in November 2009, at which point she was embraced by the anti-abortion movement and compared to Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court case that legalized abortion in 1973. McCorvey joined the anti-abortion movement in 1995.
Soon after her resignation, Johnson began volunteering with the Coalition for Life, which regularly prayed outside her former clinic. Johnson is the author of two books. Unplanned, released in January 2011, details her work at Planned Parenthood and her conversion to abortion opposition; the book is the basis for a film which was released in March 2019. The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories, released in 2016, recounts stories of former abortion workers that have come through her ministry.
Johnson runs an anti-abortion ministry, And Then There Were None (ATTWN), which lobbies abortion-clinic workers to leave the industry and which provides money and counseling for those who do. Johnson attended the 2017 Women's March, a massive protest against newly inaugurated President Donald Trump, in January 2017.
Household Voting Controversy
Johnson made statements on Twitter indicating support for changes to the electoral system giving each household one vote. In response to a question about potential disagreement between husband and wife, she wrote that "in a Godly household, the husband would get the final say".
Johnson revealed in January 2011 that she had two abortions herself before the birth of her daughter. She lives in Texas with her husband Doug and seven children.
Johnson was raised as a Southern Baptist, but left the church because it objected to her work at Planned Parenthood. She and her husband Doug, who was raised Lutheran, stopped attending church altogether for two years before joining the Episcopal Church, which has one of the most liberal stances on abortion of any Mainline Protestant denomination. After she went public with her conversion to the anti-abortion position, Johnson said she felt unwelcome at this church. She and her husband converted to Catholicism in 2012.