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I first heard about Abby Johnson at a SEEK conference. Until that point, I had been somewhat indifferent about abortion. I had this vague opinion that it was wrong, but wasn’t sure that I should speak out about it. It is pretty impossible to continue to hold that opinion, or at least it was for me, after hearing Abby Johnson speak.
I ended up at her talk kind of randomly, but I was captivated as she spoke about what we should be doing in the pro-life movement. I was very impressed with her advocacy for both women and the unborn and for her condemnation of the inaccurate information that plagues the pro-life movement.
Despite my enthusiasm from that conference and my continued attention to her on social media, I didn’t actually read her memoir Unplanned until recently thanks to my awesome sister-in-law giving me the book for Christmas.
Unplanned is described as:
a heart-stopping personal drama of life-and-death encounters, a courtroom battle, and spiritual transformation that speaks hope and compassion into the political controversy that surrounds this issue. Telling Abby’s story from both sides of the abortion clinic property line, this book is a must-read for anyone who cares about the life versus rights debate and helping women who face crisis pregnancies.
Overall, I thought this was a fascinating book.
Johnson effectively acknowledges the good and bad found within both the pro-choice and pro-life movements. I was especially impressed that despite being a very prominent advocate for life now, she still documented some problems from within the pro-life movement: calling people murderers, wearing Grim Reaper costumes, using graphic signs, etc. I was very appreciative that Johnson was honest about her experiences, even if it put her in an unflattering light.
At points, the book did seem a little repetitive. I think that people who are pro-choice may have problems with some of the language used (for example, saying baby instead of fetus). I was also disappointed that Johnson referenced some broken links on her website.
Despite some of the flaws, I felt that this book was beautiful, heartfelt, vulnerable, and helpful. I would highly recommend it to people who want to get a better perspective of the motivations behind pro-choice advocates, get a glimpse into Planned Parenthood’s priorities, develop a new understanding of pro-life advocates, or read the powerful story of a pro-life feminist.
I do want to give the warning that a surgical abortion procedure is described in detail and there is a discussion of a chemical abortion. These descriptions are disturbing, and I wanted to warn any potential reader.