A biased article from a liberal publication has been used as the sole source to try and debunk my life story of being a Planned Parenthood director who became pro-life.
April 10, 2019 by Abby Johnson
I left Planned Parenthood nine years ago after assisting in an ultrasound-guided abortion of a 13-week-old fetus. I saw the unborn child struggle for its life against the abortion instruments. I saw the empty uterus on the screen where life had been just moments before.
This story is now a major motion picture released in theaters nationwide, called “Unplanned.” While the movie defied industry expectations at the box office, attention has also been drawn to an article written about my story soon after I left the abortion industry. I had never felt the need to respond to the false claims in this story until now.
The Texas Monthly published a story just a few months after I left Planned Parenthood entitled “The Convert.” It’s a biased article from a liberal publication that has been used as the sole source for every other abortion-supporting website to try and debunk my story, most of them outright claiming I never witnessed the ultrasound-guided abortion or that it simply never happened.
The article claims there were no 13-week abortions done that day, September 26, 2009. It claims the doctor didn’t use an ultrasound to guide his instruments. But that incorrect information comes only from a sheet of paper from Planned Parenthood, not from an official record from the Texas Department of Health, which would never, under any circumstances, release any reports regarding specific abortions performed at specific clinics, in order to protect patient privacy.
In fact, the only abortion data that the Texas Department of Health releases is general information about abortions performed by county, ethnicity, age, and type of abortion performed. Under no circumstance, even an open-records request, would the Texas Department of Health release the induced abortion report for any facility (Texas Health and Safety Code 245.011).
The Texas Monthly reporter sent me a form from Planned Parenthood that was used as the basis for the story, which looks like something akin to a bad Excel spreadsheet. Planned Parenthood said this is what was sent to the Texas Department of Health, yet that’s not the correct form at all. The actual form is called the Induced Abortion Reporting form and the state requires it for each abortion appointment, not an Excel document. I was the clinic director for this Planned Parenthood, so it was my job to know this information and how to report abortions.
The form Planned Parenthood claims they sent to the Texas Department of Health also has some glaring disparities. Firstly, it doesn’t even have all the information that must be reported to the state, such as any complications and what type of anesthesia was used. Secondly, the form states that the facility performed a surgical abortion on a four-week old fetus. There is no way that would happen until five weeks of gestation at the very earliest, preferably six weeks, because you have to be able to visibly identify the chorionic villi—“tiny parts of the placenta that are formed from the fertilized egg”—which are usually not visibly present until six weeks.
Both this random document and the official Induced Abortion Reporting document never state if an abortion is done with an ultrasound guide. What’s important to them is that the abortion is completed. Ultrasound-guided abortions aren’t common, but the doctor doing them that day at the clinic wanted to do it that way, which is how I ended up holding the probe and witnessing the death of a baby on the screen.
The document Planned Parenthood sent the Texas Monthly reporter also shows that it was completed on September 30, 2009. But I didn’t resign as clinic director until October 6, 2009, so this supposed “proof” of a document would have been filled out by me. If I had this big scheme to talk about an abortion that never took place, don’t you think that I would have made sure that this form had a 13-week abortion included? However, I had never seen a form like this in my life, because it didn’t exist. The only form that I was aware of was the Induced Abortion Form that is an official Texas Department of Health document.
Understand that Planned Parenthood isn’t great at keeping records and the records they do manage to keep are often not correct or are deceptively altered. Planned Parenthood has been successfully sued many times over for Medicaid fraud, paying millions of dollars back to the government for defrauding taxpayers. Undercover videos shot by Lila Rose and Live Action show Planned Parenthood employees on camera willfully acknowledging they have no problem fudging dates here and there. This isn’t a trustworthy organization.
Another argument that is supposed to prove that my conversion didn’t take place as I said it did was that I did an interview for Planned Parenthood on the Sunday after this ultrasound-guided abortion took place. It was a little show on a local station that was hosted by a pro-choice friend of mine. I had agreed to the interview weeks before, and I had not left Planned Parenthood by that time.
An important part of my story is that I didn’t walk out of Planned Parenthood immediately after witnessing the ultrasound-guided abortion. It is made to appear that way in the film, “Unplanned,” because they are trying to fit 10 years of my life into an hour-and-a-half-long movie. But as I explained in my book, after witnessing the abortion, it took me a full week to reach out to the Coalition for Life.
I didn’t watch the ultrasound-guided abortion and say to myself, “Well, now I am pro-life.” I didn’t want to be pro-life. I hated the pro-life movement. I had been taught to hate them. I thought they hated me.
In fact, for at least 72 hours after witnessing the abortion, I was trying desperately to justify what I had seen. My husband was a special education teacher and I didn’t want to give up my salary, my friends, or my identity. I didn’t know who I would be if I wasn’t an abortion-loving feminist. It was much easier for me, less than 24 hours after witnessing this shocking abortion, to continue on with my job. At that point, I didn’t know if I was going to leave Planned Parenthood. I certainly never thought I would find myself walking into a pro-life office, and I never thought that I would one day be pro-life.
If none of my reasons are sufficient responses, consider that I have already been to court against Planned Parenthood and won. They tried to put a gag order on me after I left to ensure I couldn’t tell my story. The judge not only threw out the case but reprimanded them for wasting his time.
Since then, I have written a best-selling book talking about my experiences. I have a nationally distributed film whose pivotal scene is the ultrasound-guided abortion. If Planned Parenthood actually had proof that this abortion I witnessed never took place, they would have brought it up when they took me to court. They would have already presented this evidence to the public and most certainly have taken further legal action.
But they haven’t, because they know they can’t. They can’t because my story is the truth.
Abby Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood manager who now runs And Then There Were None, which helps abortion workers leave their jobs. She is also the author of “Unplanned.”