Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Review- Unplanned by Abby Johnson

I've been reading a lot this summer. One of the best parts of teaching is that, while I am ridiculously busy during the school year, I have time in the summer to gear up for the next school year. I haven't gotten much actual school work done yet, but the summer is giving me time to think about issues I've been ignoring for awhile. In an effort to grow this summer, I'm trying to read at least one serious book every week. I have a number of books I want to post about, but this first one has had a profound impact on the way I am think about abortion. I didn't agree with everything the author wrote, but the book made me stop and think.

First, a little back story on my journey to becoming pro-life. I wasn't pro-life until I really started to do some research. It always made a lot of sense to me that a woman should be able to choose what to do with her body. But I forgot that, baring rape, the woman did make a choice- a choice to have sex when she wasn't ready to be a mother.

Over the last fifty years, we've decided as a culture that babies are not a consequence of sex. That's not something we get to choose. Pregnancy is a consequence of sex. That doesn't mean that every woman who gets pregnant should be a mother, which is why adoption is a wonderful choice, for the woman who recognizes that she is not in a good position to raise a child, the adoptive parents and, most importantly, the child. All children deserve to have parents who can love them without resentment. I've always thought this, which is part of the reason abortion, on some level, made sense to me. Not for myself, but that it should be available. I know that we care so much for the life of the baby that we don't want him or her to suffer in life.

Where my heart changed, however, is when I realized that abortion is far too late to be making that decision. The struggle over whether or not allow late term abortion and sex selective abortion point to the problems we have created for ourselves by deciding that the life growing inside the mother is a fetus rather than a child. When does it cease being a fetus? When it is born? (fullterm) When the pregnancy is viable? (24 weeks) When it can grip things? (21 weeks) When it has fingers? (9 weeks) When it has a heartbeat? (5-6 weeks) These questions are where we struggle. Where do we draw the lines. The only answer, for me, was to go back to the original understanding that the child's life begins at conception.

Unplanned was written by Abby Johnson. Johnson volunteered at, then worked at, and eventually directed a Planned Parenthood in Texas for eight years prior to witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion. Watching this  horrified her and launched a deep conversion in her heart. She left Planned Parenthood and over the course of the next few months joined the Coalition for Life, a pro-life group.

What struck me most about Johnson's story is that she seemed a lot like me. She was "pro-choice" because the rhetoric of the abortion industry made sense. It's not fair that children are born to parents that don't want them and abortion can "fix" this problem. It's not really a baby until it's born. Abortion can help woman who has been sexually abused or raped move on and recover. What the abortion industry neglects to tell us is that abortion doesn't fix any of these problems. It does nothing to help unwanted children, rather it silences these children before they can cry out for help. It doesn't help an abused woman to heal and recover, instead many of these women miss out on the healing that can come from an adoption and are instead left depressed, with physical pain and emotional scars.

Johnson's story of conversion is powerful and offers hope that we can change the future, if we can open our eyes to the damage caused by the abortion industry. The book contains a very graphic scene when describing the abortion Johnson witnessed. This event changed her life- and her account certainly has helped me to examine mine. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants the inside story or the human story of the Planned Parenthood operation. Johnson emphasizes that there are kind and caring people on both sides of the argument and that we can never lose faith that God is always working in people's hearts. Conversion is a radical experience- are you ready to dive in?

~Have a blessed day!

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