By Sarah Goff
Union University news office
JACKSON — The Union University Auxiliary hosted “An Evening with Abby Johnson” in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Johnson is a pro-life advocate and author of the award-winning book, “Unplanned,” which has been adapted into a movie of the same title.
“Unplanned” chronicles both Johnson’s experiences during her eight-year career at Planned Parenthood and her dramatic exit in 2009 after assisting with an ultrasound-guided abortion and witnessing a 13-week baby fight for and lose its life.
Johnson recounted the story of how she got involved in Planned Parenthood during college because she believed the lie told to her by a woman with the organization that Planned Parenthood was the only place where low-income women could go to receive health care. She told Johnson that without access to safe and legal abortion, women would be forced to get “back alley abortions” and would die from these unsafe procedures.
Johnson said the reality is that today in the U.S., there are about 600 Planned Parenthood facilities, but there are over 12,000 federally qualified health centers that provide comprehensive medical care for low-income individuals at low or no cost, in addition to tens of thousands of other providers. Johnson said that inside of legal abortion facilities women still die, get infections and are physically maimed because of negligent medical treatment.
“Abortion on its face can never actually be safe,” Johnson said. “Why? Because in order for abortion to be deemed ‘successful,’ a unique and individual human being must be killed. You see, that is the antithesis of safety, and friends, that’s why abortion can never be considered ‘health care.’”
However, at the time Johnson did not know that. She thinks for that the majority of women today, it is what they do not know — about their bodies, fertility, their unborn child, the abortion procedure itself and the radical, scandalous mercy of Jesus Christ — that leads them to the doors of the abortion clinics.
People often ask Johnson how she went from being a “good, Christian kid” to someone who ran an abortion clinic and had two abortions herself. Although she doesn’t have a simple answer, it happened a little bit at a time, the way that sin creeps into all people’s lives.
Johnson said the church has convinced Christians that abortion is the unpardonable sin and have treated babies conceived outside of marriage as a sin and not a blessing, so women will do anything they can to hide that pregnancy, including taking the life of that child.
“I’m here to tell you there is nothing that God won’t forgive,” Johnson said. “There’s nothing too big to bring to God. And if the doors of the church aren’t open wide enough, then the doors of the abortion clinic will be.”
Almost a million abortions are performed every year in the United States, Johnson said, and almost 60 percent of those women claim to be Christians. Christians could blame this on everybody else, she said, but “no, church, this is on us.” Johnson said she is committed to speaking the one and only truth — the truth of Jesus Christ.
“[God] put you here for one reason and one reason alone, and that was to evangelize his gospel, and part of his gospel is the gospel of life,” she said.
Johnson talked about that day she helped with the ultrasound-guided abortion that changed her life. She remembers looking down at her hands and realizing how powerful the works of a person’s hands can be. Christians can use their hands for good or evil, and Johnson said she has done both. She swore that day she would never use her hands for evil again. A Christian’s commitment to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ could save a life, Johnson said — not just a physical life, but an eternal life.
“Don’t take that responsibility lightly — embrace it, use it, serve, act, sacrifice,” she said. “Be assured that we’re not speaking from a place where one day we hope to see victory. No, we are speaking from a place where we are assured of that victory. But let us commit that until that day of victory comes, we will work to save each and every one.”
The Union Auxiliary’s purpose is to provide support to Union students through the provision of scholarships and service to those students. Union Auxiliary President and First Lady Susie Oliver said that 236 students have received Auxiliary scholarships over the past 22 years, and the Auxiliary has given $240,101 to those students.
“Your gift is making a difference, it’s making a kingdom difference, and I can’t think of a better investment than that,” Oliver said. B&R