Current Events

The Power of a Secret by Abby Johnson (Unplanned)

Had I never had an abortion—had I never personally bought into the thinking that if the “embryonic tissue” inside of me was simply removed, I could get on with my life and not be hindered by my “mistake”—how would I have responded to Jill’s well-crafted presentation designed to enlist college girls into the ranks of Planned Parenthood?

Excerpted from Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line by Abby Johnson

The act was done. The “problem” gone. The process had been physically painful, but I had no regrets. No sadness. No struggle over whether what I’d done was right or wrong. Just a definite sense of relief: Whew. That’s behind me. I can get on with my life now.

I slammed that experience into a box, nailed it shut, stashed it on a shelf in a dark corner of my soul, and pretended it wasn’t there. Three days later I resumed my normal activities. I told no one, not a single friend or confidante. It was a secret that only Mark and I knew, but we never spoke of it again. Not once. Several months later, we married.

Today, I wonder if one reason I was so quick, so eager to embrace Jill’s presentation about Planned Parenthood—which I heard just about twelve months after that abortion—is that it validated my own secret decision to abort. As Jill spoke, I saw myself as one of the wise and lucky ones who had control over my reproductive rights and utilized my access to safe medical procedures. Jill clearly didn’t look down on the decision to abort. She understood the crises women found themselves in. In my role at Planned Parenthood, I would be helping other women exercise their “rights” and protect their “access” as they faced their crises.

Had I never had an abortion—had I never personally bought into the thinking that if the “embryonic tissue” inside of me was simply removed, I could get on with my life and not be hindered by my “mistake”—how would I have responded to Jill’s well-crafted presentation designed to enlist college girls into the ranks of Planned Parenthood?

I’ll never know. That is one of the costs of my well-kept secret.

Once it had taken hold within me, my secret had the power to shape and influence my reasoning, my perspective, my conscience. Years later, I would discover that the box in my soul wasn’t sealed as well as I’d thought. It was releasing undetectable yet poisonous fumes that wafted through my soul in silence and contaminated my heart. Over time, this secret did to me the same thing I did in my relationship with the parents who’d given birth to me and nurtured, supported, and loved me with their whole hearts. It hid itself, just as I was now hiding my true self from my parents. The insidious power that my secret wielded in my soul was kept secret from me.
Now that my secrets are out, their power is broken, and my vision has cleared enough to see with new eyes the road that led me to this place. It is a road worth revisiting, for here I am discovering for the first time what parts are paved with regret, remorse, or brokenness. But to my surprise there are bright spots along the way as well. I’ve encountered deep friendship and loyalty, and people of true strength. In the women I met in the Planned Parenthood clinic where I worked in Bryan, Texas—both clients and staff— I’ve seen courage and resilience. And on both sides of the fence that encircles that clinic, I’ve found compassion and community. I have also faced death threats and known the murder of a friend. I’ve been dragged into court, turned away from some churches, welcomed by others. I’ve discovered that perceived enemies were friends, and I’ve had perceived friends declare me an enemy.

Above all, I’ve discovered that the road that led me here is being resurfaced now, with grace. I’ve been given new eyes—eyes now able to see grace doing its work.


Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line by Abby Johnson and Cindy Lambert

Bestseller & Retailers Choice Award winner, 2012
Abby Johnson quit her job in October 2009. That simple act became a national news story because Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who, after participating in an actual abortion procedure for the first time, walked down the street to join the Coalition for Life. Unplanned is a heart-stopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation that speaks hope and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue. Telling Abby’s story from both sides of the abortion clinic property line, this book is a must-read for anyone who cares about the life versus rights debate and helping women who face crisis pregnancies. Now updated with a new chapter covering the latest events in Abby’s journey, in the news, and in changing legislation . . . and revealing the impact Abby’s story has had in the most surprising places.

Learn More HERE>>

 

Raised in the rural Midwest, Bethany harbors a soft spot for animals, kids, and cornfields. Bethany has enjoyed working as the marketer for the C. S. Lewis Center at Taylor University and as a teacher at a Bible summer camp in Michigan prior to launching as Tyndale's Content Marketing Coordinator. A classic Millennial, she loves Christian nostalgia from her childhood, such as Relient K, AIO, and NEST Animated Bible Stories.

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