Abby Johnson, the former director of a Texas family planning clinic turned anti-abortion campaigner, will be stopping in Albury tomorrow as part of her Australian book tour.
Abby Johnson briefly rose to prominance in the American abortion debate when in late 2009 she resigned her position as the director of a family planning clinic in Bryan, Texas, and publically joined the anti-abortion campaign at her former workplace.
She has claimed in numerous media interviews and in her book Unplanned that she had an epiphany after she had witnessed an ultrasound guided abortion at her clinic on the 26th of November 2009. She further claimed she had been pressured by management to have her clinic perform more abortions in order to boost the clinic’s profitability.
Abby Johnson’s story was closely examined in the United States media at the time. When evaluating Abby Johnson’s credibility as a commentator on the issue of abortion, it is worth noting that:
Johnson was a publically enthusiastic defender of a woman’s right to choose an abortion during her supposed conversion:
the day after Johnson says she witnessed the ultrasound-guided abortion and had her epiphany, she appeared as a guest on the Bryan public radio program Fair and Feminist to discuss her work at the clinic. In the hour-long interview, Johnson gives an enthusiastic defense of the clinic and ridicules the 40 Days for Life protest. – Texas Monthly
There is significant doubt that the ultra-sound guided procedure that Johnson claims led to her sudden change of heart ever took place:
Johnson’s account is so plausible and rich in detail that even Planned Parenthood seems not to have investigated whether this event ever took place. At my request, the staff at the Bryan clinic examined patient records from September 26, the day Johnson claims to have had her conversion experience, and spoke with the physician who performed abortions on that date. According to Planned Parenthood, there is no record of an ultrasound-guided abortion performed on September 26. The physician on duty told the organization that he did not use an ultrasound that day, nor did Johnson assist on any abortion procedure. – Texas Monthly
As the director of a family planning clinic Johnson recieved abuse, harassment and death threats from anti-abortion campaigners. In interviews after her change in ideological position, she denied “that there had never been any threats of violence against the Bryan clinic” (Texas Monthly), even though:
And in a later interview, Salon reports:
on Sept. 27 — a mere eight days before her resignation — she raised the issue of death threats: “They involve my daughter and my husband, so it’s ironic that these people who call themselves pro-life are sending death threats.”
At the time of her resignation, Abby Johnson’s employer was moving to dismiss her:
At one time, Johnson, who was named the regional Planned Parenthood affiliate’s employee of the year in 2008, seemed to have a promising future with the organization. By mid-2009, however, her relationship with her employer had begun to deteriorate. Salon reported that on October 2, Johnson was summoned to Houston to meet with her supervisors to discuss problems with her job performance. She was placed on what Planned Parenthood calls a “performance improvement plan.” It was just three days later, on Monday, that Johnson made her tearful appearance at the Coalition for Life. – Texas Monthly
And she had this to say about it on her Facebook page:
Alright. Here’s the deal. I have been doing the work of two full time people for two years. Then, after I have been working my whole big butt off for them and prioritizing that company over my family, my friends and pretty much everything else in my life, they have the nerve to tell me that my job performance is “slipping.” WHAT???!!! That is crazy. Anyone that knows me knows how committed I was to that job. They obviously do not value me at all. So, I’m out and I feel really great about it! – Texas Monthly
Johnson’s claim that her employers dissatisfaction with her was due to their demand for more abortions, has in fact been debunked by Johnson herself, from Salon:
Then there is the issue of her claim of pressure to increase the number of abortions performed at the clinic as a way of raking in more dough. That allegation contradicts Planned Parenthood’s guiding mission, which is pregnancy prevention — but more important, it contradicts the fact of the organization’s business: Only 3 percent of all health services provided by Planned Parenthood are abortion. Of course, Johnson knows this as well as anybody. In fact, she cited this very statistic in one of her radio interviews in September. In response, the host asked: “So, it’s really not that much.” She responded: “No … we think 3 percent is a very small amount.”
For these reasons and more, Abby Johnson is no longer taken seriously in the United States media. She should not be taken seriously here.