A friend of mine, a mother and teacher, has spent the last 40 years caring for young people: her hundreds of grade-school students, her children, and her many grandchildren. She’s spent those same 40 years volunteering in the cause of life. Over the decades she’s helped open 11 prolife clinics; led and served on the boards of prolife organizations; marched and picketed; given public talks; and spent hundreds of hours on the phone and in person listening to and trying to help women faced with the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy.
She once told me that, in her view, the two biggest rackets in American culture are the mob, whose profits are fat but its activities criminal, and Planned Parenthood, whose funding is fat but its activities praised. She has her own personal memory of the latter. As a young woman early in her marriage, and before the direction of her life changed, she sought out birth control counseling and pills from a Planned Parenthood clinic in Manhattan. She got what she came for — and left feeling processed “like a piece of meat.”
She’s never forgotten the experience. Planned Parenthood has worked earnestly to improve its customer service and public relations in the years since, but the essence of what it does hasn’t changed any more than the mob’s has. In practice, the business of Planned Parenthood is to prevent new life, and to help kill developing life if it becomes inconvenient. And too many women to count have been damaged or repelled by it.
One of those women, one who has not remained silent, is Abby Johnson. As director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, and committed to the ideals of reproductive choice and a woman’s “right to choose,” Johnson oversaw a site that conducted thousands of abortions during her tenure. It was only when she took part personally in one of the procedures that the reality of killing a living, developing, unborn human child imprinted itself on her conscience full force. She left Planned Parenthood and joined the Coalition for Life.
Johnson’s journey from one side of the abortion struggle to the other is told powerfully in her compelling book Unplanned, available from Ignatius Press and other booksellers. It’s well worth reading and sharing. And her story is now an equally powerful motion picture, Unplanned, opening in theaters around the metro Philadelphia area on March 29.
Don’t expect to see positive reviews in mainstream media outlets; miracles do happen, but this one would be a stretch. Ignore that. See this movie, and bring as many friends and acquaintances with you as you can (it’s rated R for the nature of its content). It’s that important.
Note that Generation Life is hosting an advance screening of the film in South Philadelphia on March 28, with details here.
Against all predictions and odds, the prolife movement has endured and gained ground over the past four decades because the humanity of the unborn child can’t finally be hidden or denied. The right to life is the fundamental human right; without it, no other rights are secure. Abby Johnson discovered that in a hard but deeply moving way. In supporting the film that tells her story, we join in the task of communicating the sanctity of life.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Share this story