Book Review: Unplanned by Abby Johnson
By Abby Johnson (author) with Cindy Johnson (contributor) release date: January 11, 2011 Salt River Publishing, pages 288, Amazon: hardcover – $12.01, paperback -$9.87
Reviewed by JEAN M. HEIMANN, freelance writer, wife and mother, prayer warrior and sidewalk counselor, former crisis pregnancy counselor, graduate student in theology, retired educator, psychologist, and oblate with the Community of St. John.
I recently had the wonderful opportunity of hearing Abby Johnson speak and of meeting her at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference here in Wichita just a few weeks ago. At that conference, she gave me her signed copy of Unplanned for review.
I thought I had a pretty good idea of what happened with Abby Johnson when she resigned as Planned Parenthood director in Texas in 2009 and walked across the road to join the Coalition for Life – after all, it had been in all the national news reports, the blogs – even my own. I knew some of the basic facts, yes, but that was all I knew. Unplanned is Abby Johnson’s dramatic personal and eye-opening story of all that happened to her before, during, and after the event that led her to cross the line from death to life.
Enrolled as a student at Texas A&M, Abby Johnson, a psychology major, sincerely desired to help women in crisis, and was recruited by Planned Parenthood to become a volunteer for an organization that she thought shared her goal. As she rose through the ranks from volunteer to part-time employee, to full time employee, and eventually achieving the role of clinic director, Abby began to see things in a different light. Planned Parenthood seemed to be more concerned with finances than with helping women, more concerned with making money for their business and with pushing abortions rather than “reducing them”, which she had perceived to be their goal. She became more unsettled about her role as clinic director, but it wasn’t until she was asked to take part in an abortion ultrasound that she learned the truth of what she had been a part of for eight years. She shares in Unplanned what I had hoped to learn more about and that is an insider’s look at Planned Parenthood’s business practices.
What I did not expect to learn about in Unplanned was: the personal secret Abby had been carrying around for years which had influenced her behavior, exactly why she had been so attracted to Planned Parenthood in the first place, the information she shared with her patients, which she herself believed to be true, but later learned was false, and her relationship with the Coalition for Life and what a strong impact their prayers and witness had in her discovery of the truth.
What was most appealing to me about Abby’s beautifully written story is how God’s love was working in her life to transform her — how He spoke to her in the silence of her heart, through the ordinary people in her daily life, and how He planned and arranged things in such a way that she would be a voice for life. This is a stunning story of heartfelt conversion which will open up the eyes and hearts of those who read it. I highly recommend it. Unplanned is a must-read for all who care about life and women who are facing crisis pregnancies.
~ © Jean M. Heimann August, 2011