CATHOLIC BUSINESS PROFILE & INSPIRATION: Learn what made Abby Johnson walk away from a lucrative career?

By Barbara McGuigan

Last week, along with 20,403 participants on the webcast, I “met” Abby Johnson, the young rising star at Planned Parenthood who made CNN headlines when she quit her job.  Here’s her story.

On October 6, 2009, Abby resigned from Planned Parenthood in Bryan College Station, Texas.  Keep in mind, Abby was being groomed to be the COO of the new and huge abortion fortress currently being built in Texas.  She was a rising star at Planned Parenthood and proud of it.

But when Abby resigned, the powers that be at Planned Parenthood feared this could be a dangerous situation for them.  Having been entrenched in the dirty abortion business as a long-time director of a Planned Parenthood clinic which in her tenure, had committed thousands of abortions, Abby had experienced first-hand how the mind of evil thinks and operates.  Planned Parenthood did not want this insider information made public!

In an effort to prevent their worst nightmare from coming true, Planned Parenthood  immediately filed a lawsuit and a restraining order against their former director, Abby Johnson.  Guess what?  They were defeated.  God will not be mocked.

In the beginning of her career with Planned Parenthood, when Abby first started as a volunteer, she was told that Planned Parenthood wanted to make abortion rare. But after becoming a full-time employee in management, her eyes were opened to Planned Parenthood’s real and ugly intention: to make as much money as possible by committing as many abortions as possible.

Abby quickly learned that Planned Parenthood actually wanted to increase abortion quotas by scheduling a pre-determined number of women for abortions each month!

She knew first-hand that Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization, received $350,000,000 ($350 million) dollars in 2009 from the federal government. The family planning budget was publicly lowered due to “mega-gains” (as Abby expressed it) from the abortion business, which would easily make-up for the decrease in the family planning budget funding.

On the webcast, Abby also revealed Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Consortium of Abortion Providers map, which had a green dot for all “non-abortion providing” Planned Parenthood facilities and a red dot for “abortion providing” Planned Parenthood facilities.  The goal was to turn every green dot to a red dot by expanding abortion. She said, “This all flew in the face of Planned Parenthood’s desire to make abortion rare.”



Most of us wanted to know what prompted her to walk away from the dark side.  In a strange twist of fate, Abbey actually was the person to schedule the abortion that ultimately changed her life forever.

Abby was told that they needed an extra person in the exam room that day, so she pitched in to help.  Rather than have me tell her story at this point, I would like to share a few excerpts of Abby’s very descriptive account  of that fateful event.  It is taken from the first chapter of Abby’s revealing new book entitled, unPlanned, which was released on January 11th.  Abby’s commentary is not for the faint-hearted, so be forewarned.

Of her life-turning moment, Abby Johnson writes:

“I’m going to perform an ultrasound-guided abortion on this patient. I need you to hold the ultrasound probe,” the doctor explained. As I took the ultrasound probe in hand and adjusted the settings on the machine, I argued with myself, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to take part in an abortion. No, wrong attitude — I needed to psych myself up for this task. I took a deep breath and tried to tune in to the music from the radio playing softly in the background. It’s a good learning experience — I’ve never seen an ultrasound-guided abortion before, I told myself. Maybe this will help me when I counsel women. I’ll learn firsthand about this safer procedure. Besides, it will be over in just a few minutes. I could not have imagined how the next 10 minutes would shake the foundation of my values and change the course of my life.

I was expecting to see what I had seen in past ultrasounds. Usually, depending on how far along the pregnancy was and how the fetus was turned, I’d first see a leg, or the head, or some partial image of the torso, and would need to maneuver a bit to get the best possible image. But this time, the image was complete. I could see the entire, perfect profile of a baby.  It looks just like Grace at 12 weeks, I thought, surprised, remembering my very first peek at my daughter, three years before, snuggled securely inside my womb. The image now before me looked the same, only clearer, sharper. The detail startled me. I could clearly see the profile of the head, both arms, legs, and even tiny fingers and toes. Perfect. And just that quickly, the flutter of the warm memory of Grace was replaced with a surge of anxiety. What am I about to see? My stomach tightened. I don’t want to watch what is about to happen…

“Thirteen weeks,” I heard the nurse say after taking measurements to determine the fetus’s age…

At first, the baby didn’t seem aware of the cannula. It gently probed the baby’s side, and for a quick second I felt relief. Of course, I thought. The fetus doesn’t feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I’d been taught by Planned Parenthood. The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed. Get a grip, Abby. This is a simple, quick medical procedure. My head was working hard to control my responses, but I couldn’t shake an inner disquiet that was quickly mounting to horror as I watched the screen.

The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if it were trying to move away from the probing invader. As the cannula pressed its side, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that it could feel the cannula, and it did not like what it was feeling. And then the doctor’s voice broke through, startling me.

“Beam me up, Scotty,” he said lightheartedly to the nurse. He was telling her to turn on the suction — in an abortion the suction isn’t turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place.

I had a sudden urge to yell, “Stop!” To shake the woman and say, “Look at what is happening to your baby! Wake up! Hurry! Stop them!”

But even as I thought those words, I looked at my own hand holding the probe. I was one of “them” performing this act. My eyes shot back to the screen again. The cannula was already being rotated by the doctor, and now I could see the tiny body violently twisting with it. For the briefest moment the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone. And the uterus was empty. Totally empty.

I was frozen in disbelief… I could feel my heart pounding — pounding so hard my neck throbbed. I tried to get a deep breath but couldn’t seem to breathe in or out. I still stared at the screen, even though it was black now because I’d lost the image. But nothing was registering to me. I felt too stunned and shaken to move. I was aware of the doctor and nurse casually chatting as they worked, but it sounded distant, like vague background noise, hard to hear over the pounding of my own blood in my ears…

How had it come to this? How had I let this happen? I had invested myself, my heart, my career in Planned Parenthood because I cared about women in crisis. And now I faced a crisis of my own.

Looking back now on that late September day of 2009, I realize how wise God is for not revealing our future to us. Had I known then the firestorm I was about to endure, I might not have had the courage to move forward. As it was, since I didn’t know, I wasn’t yet looking for courage. I was, however, looking to understand how I found myself in this place — living a lie, spreading a lie, and hurting the very women I so wanted to help.

And I desperately needed to know what to do next.

This is my story.

If we ever needed any more reason to devote ourselves to the baby-saving pro-life movement, accounts like this, of the brutal taking of a pre-born baby’s life, should move our hearts and souls and consciences.

So, if it is at all possible for you to take part in the March for Life in Washington (Monday, January 24), or the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco (Saturday, January 22) in the coming days, or a prayer vigil or ceremony of any kind, anywhere, on behalf of all the victims of abortion, I encourage you to do so.

In a Respect Life Mass homily in 2003 (a time when 10 million less abortions had been performed in the U.S. than have been performed to date in 2011), Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver gave us great encouragement that still rings true today.  He said:

The word of God gives light; it cuts away the darkness in our lives like a sword, it penetrates our hearts and separates what’s true from what’s false. It becomes flesh in the choices we make and the people we touch through our witness. That’s our mission to the world. That’s why you’re here today. God wants to speak again, now, through you, through us, through our faith and courage.

Let there be light! He means you – the light of His truth shining through your lives, and as long as it does, the world has hope; the world is not dark.

Whenever I begin to think that 30 years is a long time to struggle about an issue, I remember a fresco of the Eucharist painted on the wall of a catacomb beneath the streets of Rome. It’s one of the earliest examples of Christian art we have, and it was done in secret nearly 200 years before the persecution of the Gospel ended.

The early Christians trusted in God despite generations of persecution. They kept the faith, despite the cost of their own suffering, and their confidence wasn’t in vain because as our Psalm today reminds us, “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple.” That’s why Paul urges us to “hold fast to our confession.” The Word of the Lord is trustworthy. If God can convert the heart of Rome, He can convert the heart of the Supreme Court, and He can light the darkness in the American soul.

Blessed be God and may the Lord and Giver of Life bless you with ever more courage.


Barbara McGuigan is the popular radio host of The Good Fight on EWTN, a host of  EWTN’s Open Line, founder of the nonprofit Voice of Virtue, a speaker at many events and functions, and a popular and effective pro-life, pro-chastity speaker who has reached and inspired hundreds of thousands of teens over the years.