SEE A VIDEO of Abby Johnson on The Factor at http://video.foxnews.corn/v/ 3944457/change-of-heart Abby Johnson and her husband PHOTO COURTESY THE COALITION FOR LIFE That sounds straightforward, but it turns out to be, at best, misleading. In our interview, Johnson said the clinic still only did surgical abortions every other Saturday. But now, she said, theywould give out Ru-486, sometimes called “the abortion pill,” daily. \(Ru-486 can be taken until the ninth week of a pregnancy; after that, Johnson said, Planned Parenthood staff hoped to make more money by convincing more women to abort. “The other thing they do to increase abortions,” Johnson said, “is that they don’t give women any information on adoption, or prenatal care. If a woman goes in and asks about adoption, they’ll just be like, ‘Well, you can look on the Internet.’ I asked why. “Well, there’s no money in adoption or prenatal care, but abortions run from $300 to $600. It’s a lot of money. Anyway, the staff there just isn’t very knowledgeable. The staff there knows everything about abortion, but if you went in there and asked, ‘When does a baby’s heart start beating,’ they wouldn’t be able to tell you.” Johnson said that when she went to her boss, the regional director, to complain about the clinic’s new policy of “using abortions as birth control,” the meeting didn’t go well. “She yelled at me for ‘questioning abortion,” Johnson said, “and then she wrote me up for questioning her authority. But it was my clinic. I could ask whatever I wanted.” The Bryan Planned Parenthood clinic referred questions about these allegations to Rochelle Tafolla, the organization’s spokesperson for Southeast Texas. “It’s completely false,” she said. Planned Parenthood increased access to the pill, but that was five years ago, before the recession started. “The idea that it was any attempt to make money, that was completely false.” Tafolla said Planned Parenthood frequently refers women to adoption agencies and prenatal clinics; Johnson’s claim that they didn’t was, again, “completely false.” Johnson emphasized her discovery that Planned Parenthood was “an abortion mill” was not the “the main reason” she’d left. Everything changed when she saw the ultrasound-guided abortion that “showed me the reality of abortion: that it ends a child’s life. I had always denied that to myself,” she said, “but when I saw that baby fighting for its life, I couldn’t deny it anymore. I had a conversion in my heart … a spiritual conversion.” In the days after the abortion, she said, “I spent a lot of time praying, and I finally realized that abortion was wrong.” Johnson said she had started volunteering with Planned Parenthood eight years earlier after meeting some activists at a Planned Parenthood booth at a Texas A&M career fair. “I had always thought of myself as pro-life,” she said, “but they were pointing out to me that if we don’t provide safe abortions to women, they’ll just get back-alley ones, and no one will be better off. They linked abortion rights to women’s rights, and I was sold, so I started volunteering.” Johnson volunteered for two years before becoming a campus intern. She took that job, and a couple of years later she was working in the clinic; counseling patients and giving talks on safe sex at local high schools. She was hired in 2008 as executive director of the Bryan clinic. I asked how she had liked working there. “It was just brutal,” she said. “They demand 60-hour weeks from you for little pay, and it’s supposed to be compensation that you’re working for the cause. I gave them my all, and they just never appreciated it.” \(According to Planned Parenthood, someone in Johnson’s position would be making What made her put up with that? “I mean, I loved working with the women,” she said. “I loved being a counselor. No one cared about them as much as I did.” That is another thread in Johnson’s story: Planned Parenthood doesn’t care about the women who came in, but she did. She wanted to give the patients information on options, she said, to let them know about the potential hazards of birth-control methods. Everyone else just wanted to put in their time and go home. “They control their employees through fear,” she said. “They tell you that it doesn’t matter if you like it because you can never leave, because no one in Bryan would ever hire you.” Really? I asked. “Yeah,” she said. She thought a second. “I mean, I would say that to any employees who were thinking of leaving. I’d say, ‘Tough, because you know you’re never getting a job elsewhere in this town. Not with this place on your resume.’ That’s pretty manipulative, I said. “Yeah,” she shrugged, “but it was good for me, because it meant I got to keep my good employees.” All of which raised an obvious question: If the hours were so long, the pay so little, the supervisors so abusive, if you could never leave, why would anyone come to work for Planned Parenthood? “Oh,” Johnson shrugged again, “the money’s good.” “WHEN I SAW HER standing in my office,” said Carney, the Coalition for Life executive director, “I THE TEXAS OBSERVER WWW.TEXASOBSERVER.ORG
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