Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Unplanned by Abby Johnson

            This book was thrust upon me by a friend of my mom’s (yeah, strange…). And I want to thank this friend of my mom’s right now. Because I would probably have never read this book if it hadn’t been for her. Why?
1) I had never heard of it…ever.
2) I don’t usually read biographies. Ever. I’m a fiction girl at heart.
3) Well…I don’t have a third reason. But maybe if I had heard of it and liked biographies, I still might not have read it, because abortion isn’t something I love to go reading about. It’s sick and perverted.
But man oh man. This book was GREAT. AMAZING. FANTASTIC. I flew through it (well, I had no choice…I had to fly through it. It was due the next day and it was checked out on my mom’s friend’s card. Yeah, bummer. But I called her and she most graciously allowed me to keep it for a couple more days if I paid the fine (something I don’t suggest you do often, kids). But I digress.
Abby Johnson never knew where her journey with Planned Parenthood would lead her, but she certainly wasn’t expecting it to turn into an eight year career. But that’s what it did. One day she was just a naïve Texas college girl, and the next thing she knew she was director of one of the fastest growing abortion clinics in the country. And she loved it. Until one day.
That one day changed Abby’s life and countless others. It was the day that she actually participated in an abortion herself. She saw the baby in the womb, and she saw it die. And she’ll never forget it. That was the day she switched sides. She crossed the fence.
I’m so psyched about this book that I want to tell you every little detail of it! But that wouldn’t be much of a book review, would it? It would be a…a book spoiler. J I loved the way Abby wrote this book. She didn’t condemn. She didn’t favor one side to another. She had her views, then they changed. But she didn’t shun pro-lifers or pro-choicers. One thing she did do was give us a peek at both sides and what it’s really like on the other side of the fence (by the “fence” I mean the iron barrier that encircles every clinic). She showed us that clinic workers want to help women just like pro-lifers do. They are filled with compassion and love just like we are for these desperate women. They aren’t blood thirsty murders- most clinic works don’t even like the idea of abortion- they abhor it, just like we do. She showed us that most every woman that walks into the door of a clinic is scared, confused, and anxious. They’re in need of a lot of love.
I also loved how Abby used the fence as a symbol of the tension between the two “warring sides.” She made us think of it as a battle ground, as a wall that marked the end of one side and the beginning of the other. It separated the two groups, the abortionists (I don’t like calling them that, but I have to for lack of a better word…bear with me) and the pro-lifers. It was meant to keep people out, but instead of serving its purpose, it kept people in (such as the clinic workers who loved serving women in this way but didn’t like the idea of having a hand in abortions).  
One other thing that touched my heart was the dedication and sincere love that the Coalition for Life volunteers showed by praying at the fence. It must be such a scene to see something so genuine. Sincere love for people you don’t even know is very rare these days, but these people literally radiate love from their smiles, their kind words, and their fervent prayers for these despairing women.   
In conclusion, I loved Abby’s book and grew to love her and all the Coalition for Life people that she featured in her story. This is not a light read in the least, but it is a story of hidden guilt, buried sorrows, redemption, forgiveness, love and compassion. It will make you look at abortionist, pro-choicers, pro-lifers, and abortion in general in a whole different light. It will make you want to reach out to those on the other side of the fence. It will touch your heart. I guarantee it.  J

Note: The first chapter of this book features a real abortion. It goes into detail of the abortion and how it was done. It’s not something that’s pleasant to read, and it bothered me emotionally. I don’t suggest just anyone to read this- only the most mature teens and adults. I don’t want this to make you shy away from the book, though. Sometimes it’s a good thing to be bothered by things like this, but this is just a warning for the squeamish.

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