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IN AUSTIN CESAR CHAVEZ 31111 CESAR CRAM \(East of Pleasant Valley 247-2222 a violation of HIPAA [the federal act which protects patient privacy] by you and your publication, and I will have to take appropriate action.” In a later message, after I had pointed out that reporters are not bound by HIPAA, she amended her response. “Print it if you want,” she said. “It’ll just make me look even more credible, because people will know I’ve been there. I don’t even care.” WHAT MAKES A PERSON who goes on the record about how pro-life groups “lie to women” join a prolife group? How does a person go from criticizing pro-life language to using buzzwords like “the abortion industry” and “the culture of death,” or equating pro-choice women with atheism? Johnson’s answer is that she saw the light. True or not, that story is appealing to the pro-life movement because it fits something they have argued for decades: that if people understood the reality of abortion, they would, as Mike Huckabee said during his interview with Johnson, “be running out of those clinics.” In the political sphere, this line of thinking has been behind the decades-long campaign to require women to see ultrasounds before they get abortions. Currently, three statesAlabama, Louisiana, and Mississippirequire women to see ultrasounds of the fetuses immediately before abortions. For those in the pro-life movement, Johnson’s conversion is further proof that ultrasounds are a way to make women “choose life.” What happened to Johnson in the procedure room, the Coalition for Life’s Carney said, was that she “finally saw that what `abortion’ means is to kill a child.” More colorfully, Bryan doctor Haywood Robinson said that “God touched [Johnson] and opened her eyes. When she saw that image on the screen, when she saw that baby being destroyed, she saw through the veil, the deception of the enemy, and she came back to God.” Note the wording: “God opened her eyes.” “She finally saw.” As soon as Johnson “saw” abortion on the ultrasound screen, she “understood the reality.” As soon as she understood, she chose to fight it. This is essentially the narrative of every early Christian convert, from St. Paul to St. Augustine. A life of sin, a moment of truth, and suddenly everything changes. It’s a powerful, archetypal story that has moved people for centuries. But Johnson will also talk for hours about all the ways that Planned Parenthood compromised its \(and prevention, and caring for the patients, and showing them their options, and her colleagues weren’t. The problem is, when God reaches into the operating room and shows you that abortion is murder, there’s a bigger issue then these petty failings. If abortions are murder, then it doesn’t matter whether Planned Parenthood was performing them ethically. Murder with proper informed consent is still murder. By itself, this inconsistency in Johnson’s story is meaninglesspeople are capable of holding dissonant views, especially where religion is concerned. By themselves, Kaminczak and Blair’s stories are just hearsay. By itself, Johnson’s claim about the Texas Democratic Women could have been a careless error. JANUARY 22, 2010 Johnson’s claim that she was “never going to go to the media,” which contradicted what Carney told me, could have been a simple misunderstanding. Her boast about how good she was at lying for Planned Parenthood could be indicative of nothing more than how unethical that organization is. But these things add up. Johnson can’t stop talking about the people who wronged her, about how hard she worked, about how little she was appreciated. She’ll talk about how nasty her boss was, how her co-workers sold her out, how no one cared for the women as much as she did. She’ll talk about how the progressives kicked her out of their club because she became pro-life, and how her friends dropped her, and how unfair it all is. The more she talks, the more Abby Johnson’s issue with Planned Parenthood seems to be its treatment of Abby Johnson. In one sense, Johnson is surely right. It really doesn’t matter if I believe her, because she isn’t talking to me. To the people who already know that abortion is incompatible with spirituality, she has become a symbol of their truth. The inconsistencies in her story won’t matter to Johnson’s future listeners. She’s going to have a long, profitable career in the pro-life movement, telling cheering audiences about the day that God reached down and showed her the truth. LI Saul Elbein. a fornzer Observer intern. is a freelance writer living in Austin. SEE A LOCAL news report at