Politely Rude: A Conversation with Abby Johnson – Part 1

​On Today’s episode, Mark speaks with Abby Johnson, who spent eight years as a clinic director with Planned Parenthood. On September 26, 2009, when Abby was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. She watched in horror as a 13-week baby fought for, and ultimately lost her life at the hands of the abortionist. At that moment, Abby fully realized what abortion was and what she had dedicated her life to.

Today, Abby travels across the globe sharing her story, educating the public on pro-life issues, advocating for the unborn, and reaching out to abortion clinic staff who still work in the industry. She is the founder of And Then There Were None, a ministry designed to assist abortion clinic workers in transitioning out of the industry.

In this first portion of the interview, Mark asks Abby for her views on equal protection; should women mothers be exempt from laws that criminalize abortion? Mark also asks about her views on the use of abortion victim videos and photos in outreach or at abortion centers.

To find out more about Abby and her work, go to: https://abbyj.com/

You can host a screening of Abby’s new movie entitled “Unthinkable” by going here: https://www.unthinkabledoc.com/

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*This is an AI generated transcript, and may contain errors*

Abby Johnson (00:00):

I think that victim imagery is a good example. We don’t show this because it hurts women. Over the past two to three years, I’ve kind of realized maybe I don’t believe those things. I’m kind of being told what to believe and what to say in the same way that I was being told what to believe and say when I worked at Planned Parenthood.

Mark Harrington (00:25):

Today is the first of two episodes where I interview Abby Johnson, who is a former Planned Parenthood director who left the pro-abortion industry and now is a strong pro-life advocate. You don’t want to miss this program, so stick around.


Well welcome everybody to the Mark Harrington show your radio activist and pro-life sage. That’s because I’ve been doing this for decades and hopefully been sharing with you some wisdom from the pro-life front lines in America. And we’re talking today with Abby Johnson. And Abby is well-known within the pro-life movement and the pro-abortion movement I would submit and we’ve privileged to have her on the program. Abby spent eight years as a clinic director at Planned Parenthood, and on September 26th, 2009, she was asked to assist in an ultrasound guided abortion. Now think about that. And she watched in horror as a 13 week baby, fought for and ultimately lost her life at the hands of the abortionist, and that changed her life forever and she left Planned Parenthood and ever since has been a strong pro-life advocate. And Abby, we appreciate you Brianna, the program and taking the time. I know you’re busy with the launch of this new documentary, but thanks for coming on the show today.

Abby Johnson (02:00):

Of course. Thank you for having me.

Mark Harrington (02:02):

So Abby, appreciate you being on. Let’s talk about just after you left Planned Parenthood and getting involved in the pro-life work, you founded a ministry called and then there were none. What is that? What are you doing there?

Abby Johnson (02:20):

Yeah, so we are basically a nationwide outreach to those who work inside of abortion centers. And our goal, our primary goal is to reach in, get these workers out and get them into a saving relationship with Christ. So it’s not just about getting them out. I mean that’s fine, but it’s about changing their life. I mean, that’s what it’s about. It’s about helping them to know the Lord. And a lot of people are like, oh, well you’re just creating a revolving door for the abortion industry and workers. I’m like, okay, well, I mean that’s fine.


We’ll just get the next one that comes in to replace them, right? That’ss, all we want to do is we just want to bring souls to the Lord. And what happens is ultimately is these workers part of their healing a lot of times is coming forward and talking about the things that they’ve seen and the things that they’ve been a part of. And when that happens, we get them in contact with state, local and federal officials. And so part of that has been actually closing down clinics that they once worked at, and that was kind of just a natural progression. So we have had 48 clinics close because of the work of these former workers and speaking out and working with officials. So that’s been really beautiful and was kind of unexpected, but that’s just kind of a natural progression of them speaking out and taking accountability for what they’ve done.

Mark Harrington (04:18):

My guess is Abby Johnson and Abby, the website that I should send people to, is it abby j abby j.com or should I send them to a different one?

Abby Johnson (04:27):

Yeah, they can go to abby j.com to find out about all the things that we do, but they can also go directly to abortion worker.com if they want to find out more about, and then there were none. We have testimonies from former workers and I mean, it’s pretty incredible. I mean, people ask me all the time, what’s it like to be on the phone with someone as they’re walking out of the clinic for the last time? And I tell people, it’s like listening to a miracle happen because that really is what it’s like. These women leave and they’re convicted by the Holy Spirit, and sometimes they don’t even realize that sometimes they don’t even realize that it is the Holy Spirit convicting them. And so it’s our job to point them to the Lord and that’s what we’re going

Mark Harrington (05:18):

To do. So let’s go back to real quick, and this is just going backwards a little bit to the day you left. You see the baby being killed by abortion on an ultrasound, and that was the thing that turned you around. I often wonder, you worked for Planned Parenthood for quite a while, but yet had never seen an ultrasound. It seems odd to me in a way that you had never witnessed an abortion in that way.

Abby Johnson (05:45):

So mark, the abortion industry, they typically do not, they use ultrasounds, but they only use ultrasounds before the abortion starts. So we used ultrasounds to date pregnancies to find out the gestational dating, to really find out how far along the woman was in her pregnancy, to know how much to charge her for the abortion. But then the ultrasound was rolled away and abortions are done in a blind manner. So the doctor has the suction tube or he has the instruments and he’s just blindly poking around in the woman’s uterus until he thinks he has all the parts removed from the woman’s body. And that’s why we see such a large percentage of uterine perforations and hemorrhages because the doctor literally does not see what he’s doing while he is performing this surgery on this woman. And so we had a visiting physician come in from out of town and he owned his own abortion clinic that was not in consortium with Planned Parenthood.


He said that at his own practice, he only used ultrasound guidance because lo and behold, that’s safest for women to be able to see what he’s doing to a woman while he’s performing surgery on her. And so when I went to my boss asking about this, she did confirm, yes, this is safest for women, but she said it takes extra time. It takes about an extra three to five minutes of time to use an ultrasound during the abortion. And if you’re trying to do, I mean our clinic was trying to do, I don’t know, anywhere from 30 to 50 abortions a day with one provider. If you’re trying to do that, you cannot add three to five minutes of time per abortion, and time is money in the abortion industry. So I really was called in to assist in this procedure. This type of procedure to my knowledge, had never been done at our facility before, but he wanted to do it as a learning experience for all of us. And I did learn something

Mark Harrington (08:08):

That I think it’s interesting as well that visuals if will, whether it’s an ultrasound or other pictures or the things that reach people or reached you and made you leave Planned Parenthood, I was wanting to get your take on this. There’s dispute as you well know within the pro-life movement as to where and when or if at all to use visuals, especially abortion victim photography, say outside an abortion center or for what we do, which is go to public colleges, high schools and so forth, and show them to stimulate debate because we believe that the pictures are necessary in order to set the foundation for discussion. Where do you stand on this? Let’s first talk about the abortion facility itself. I’m sure you had protesters when you were Planned Parenthood. They showed up probably with the same type of similar victim signs that we use. What was your experience as it relates to the young women that went inside to have an abortion and whether these were effective or not?

Abby Johnson (09:13):

So honestly, I didn’t find them to be super effective in front of the clinics on big signs. However, I will say that I personally use them in front of the clinics when I’m talking to people. So when I’m talking to people, and I will say I find them particularly useful with men for some reason when I’m talking to the men that are going in, I almost always pull that out with the men and talk to them. And it’s almost always a game changer for the men that I’m talking to. And I think that what I found, and I know this is not always true, what I found was the big signs, they seemed kind of scary to the women going in, and so they would run away from them. But I always have victim imagery in a book that I have outside of the clinics.


And so when I’m talking to the women, I do present that to the women when I’m talking to them. And it’s pretty amazing how these are things that they’ve never seen before and it can change minds. Now as far as what you guys do going out into the public, I think that is completely necessary. I think we live in a culture that has been completely desensitized to not only abortion, but everything. I mean, if you look at video games out there, I mean the realism of video games, you can blow somebody’s head off with a gun and it looks real. And so I think we need to show people that what they’re looking at, this is real, this is real life. This isn’t fake, this isn’t fake blood. This is very real. These are real human beings that are being killed, and we need to almost resensitize people to the fact that these are real human beings. And so I will say this, so Mark and I know we want to talk about criminalization of abortion and keeping abortion consistently is murder. And I do want to say this. So when I came into the pro-life movement, I had left Planned Parenthood and had done so many regrettable things and had come out of this industry and had been welcomed into this movement, surprisingly, actually had been kind of welcomed into this movement by most people.


And so when you are someone like me who’s come out of the industry and is now suddenly kind of being welcomed into this movement, you’re kind of told, this is what we believe here. This is what you believe now and we welcome you into this movement, but this is how you believe. This is what we believe. We believe that you do this and you say this, and we believe these things. And so I think that victim imagery is a good example. We believe that we don’t show this because it hurts women and we believe that we don’t criminalize women for abortion, people that participate in abortion because that hurts women. And so you’re kind of told, these are the things that you say and these are the things that you don’t say, and these are the things you believe and these are the things that you don’t believe. And I think in an attempt to do and say the right things, because I had done and said completely the wrong things for so long, you’re just kind of like, okay, yeah, I’ll do and say those things, right? Because I want to be accepted because I’ve done all these terrible things before. And it kind of, I guess over the past two to three years I’ve kind of realized, but maybe I don’t believe those things that I’ve been told that I believe.

Mark Harrington (14:06):

So you kind of adopted the mainstream position of the pro-life movement basically, right? Early on

Abby Johnson (14:12):

Kind of makes sense. And so I kind of realized I’m kind of being told what to believe and what to say in the same way that I was being told what to believe and say when I worked at Planned Parenthood, and I want to have my own mind, right? Good for you. I kind of want to just say the things that I actually believe and the things that I believe are consistent. And I do kind of want to use these images out in front of clinics in the way that I believe them to be most effective. And I do kind of believe that we need to show these images publicly in places. I do think we need to do that. And that’s very contrary to the mainstream.

Mark Harrington (15:06):

It is

Abby Johnson (15:07):

Pro-life movement. It is. And so I wanted to say that because I realize there’s going to be people watching. They’re like, but I’ve heard her say this for a long time, and you’re right. I have said these things that are kind of contradictory to what I’m saying right now. I just kind of wanted to put that out there.

Mark Harrington (15:32):

Well, we appreciate it. We’ve always believed in them only because they work. I usually don’t follow the common, whatever conventional wisdom there is. I just do what I think works. And we’ve seen it anecdotally. We have actually polling that’s been done statistically, I think it shows that it can move the needle in public opinion. There are places and times, maybe it’s not most effective. We just got done with issue one here in Ohio, and we didn’t use ’em all that often because we felt like we had to just move ’em at the people at the margins. And trying to convince everybody to be anti-abortion in six months was probably not. It was too big of a task. So we didn’t have the time necessarily. I would ask you this though. I’ve always held to the position, the bigger signs, what have you at a clinic, this nine out of 10 of the women, the parents are going to go inside without talking to a sidewalk counselor. My idea is we’ll give ’em something to think about when they see the photo, whether it’s a prenatal photo, and we have both prenatal and abortion victim photos for those who don’t go inside, because the ones that come to the sidewalk, you get to have that personal interaction and you have the opportunity to actually show them the pictures. But for those who won’t come to the sidewalk, that’s where I think the signs might be helpful and that’s why we use them. What are your thoughts on that?

Abby Johnson (16:57):

Yeah, I mean, I think that’s definitely an argument to made, and I wish there was a way to gather data on that. I wish there was a way to talk to women in the clinics

Mark Harrington (17:16):

To see how they react and

Abby Johnson (17:18):

Just to see how they react. I do think that, and I will say, mark, I haven’t been in the clinic in 15 years, so our culture is different than it was 15 years ago. And so our culture is different and women are different. And I say that all the time. We didn’t really have women when I worked at the clinic. We didn’t have women that were coming in to have abortions that were having abortions because they didn’t want to get stretch marks on their body. We didn’t have women coming in that were getting abortions because they had plans on spring break and they wanted to drink and do drugs, and a baby was messing up that plan. But we hear that a lot actually now on our hotline. Women have become so calloused to their own unborn child in the womb in a way that I didn’t experience that in the clinic when I worked there.


And actually, and then there were none. We’re seeing that change in the workers too. So it used to be that workers contacted us for one of two reasons. Primarily it was because something had happened to a baby in the clinic, like a baby had been born alive and killed, or we had one worker where quadruplets had been aborted and that affected the whole staff or something like that. There had been an instance with a baby or there had been an instance with a mom, like a woman had almost died on the table or a woman did die on the table or something had happened. There was some kind of traumatic event with a woman or a baby. Now we’re seeing a third group of women coming to us, and these are women who are so disgusted with the women coming in to have abortions. And they’re like, I got in this thinking I was helping women, and now I’m seeing patients that have been here 12 times in the past two years, and they’re like, this is not helping women.


This is not what I thought it was going to be. These are women that are so calloused about their babies. This is not about being pro-choice. This is about being pro-abortion. And we’re also seeing women who, there’s a fourth category. We’re also seeing women who are coming to us from the clinics that are coming because of this whole transgender thing, and they’re like, I did not get into this to see 12 and 13 year olds be put on hormone blockers, puberty blockers. So we’re also seeing some trickle in from that. So I think that the environment is different, our culture is different. And so I think there is a case to be made that maybe they do need to be shocked out of this callousness that is in their hearts. And maybe the imagery would do that.

Mark Harrington (20:31):

Yeah, well, it does on campus, as I know that. My guess is Abby Johnson, you can go to the website, abby j.com, you can find out all about her work with the ministry and then there were none. Plus she has a podcast called Politely Rude. I love the title by the way. It’s pretty good.

Abby Johnson (20:52):

My husband always said, I’m Southern. So my husband always said, you have a way of being politely rude. So when we started, when I said, I’m going to start the podcast, I was like, I don’t know what to call it. He’s like, that’s

Mark Harrington (21:01):

What you call. I like it. I think it fits. I think it fits you. So what I want to do, and I know we’ve got limited time here, I want to talk about the documentary. Of course, a lot of people know you, Abby, because of the movie Unplanned, which was powerful. In fact, by the way, the scene where the woman is having in the abortion in the bathroom is probably the most powerful scene. And we actually use that clip and some of our presentations, we’ve actually taken basically a still shot of that and put it on our signs for college campuses when it comes to pill abortions. But now that you’ve got this new documentary that’s going to be released and you’re asking people to have screenings, if you would tell us about it, it’s called Unthinkable Friends, and you can go to unthinkable doc.com, unthinkable, unthinkable doc DO c.com. Tell us about that.

Abby Johnson (21:55):

So we basically, we’ve got over 700 workers that have left the abortion industry and have come through our ministry, and we have a really robust healing program for them. And we were at one of our healing retreats, our annual healing retreats, and we were just kind of sharing it would be cool to do a documentary to kind of talk about all of these really terrible things that have happened in the clinics, because I think a lot of the pro-life movement doesn’t really understand what’s really happening in these clinics, the worst of the worst things. And so we were kind of talking about it. One of our workers, one of our clients, our quitters as we call them, she went to prison for almost three years working with Kermit Gosnell, and she went to prison for murder.

Mark Harrington (22:53):

And she’s out.

Abby Johnson (22:55):

She’s out now. She went to prison for almost three years and she turned state’s evidence. And so she got a

Mark Harrington (23:03):


Abby Johnson (23:04):

Time good for her. And so it was like, God, what if they knew? What if the American public knew what was really happening in these clinics? Would it change minds? What if they knew just the grotesque nature of what’s happening in these clinics? What if they knew that? One of our clients, Kara, she talks about a woman getting Cytotec and delivering a 20 week baby in the waiting room in front of all these other clients, and the workers have to rush in with a blue chuck pad and pick up the baby and take it to the back and clean up the blood in the waiting room. And the clients are just in there in shock that this 20 week old baby is just plopped on the floor.


So many other stories like that, babies being born alive, and the workers listening to this baby paddle in the toilet until it drowns. And there’s so many stories like that, babies being born alive and then their neck slit and all these things and women dying, and then the doctors making these workers accomplices to murder and they get away with it. And so it was kind of like, what if we told these stories just to get it out there? I mean, it’s almost like the victim imagery. Let’s put this in their minds. Let’s put this in the minds of the American public. Let’s give them some stories that would put images in their head to really show people how terrible these clinics actually are. And so that’s really what we did. We got about three dozen workers together and just told these stories and showed the emotional turmoil that these workers are still living with, and we’re not victims. We chose to work there, but also showing that they chose to leave and that there is forgiveness and there is mercy, but we also have earthly consequences for what we have participated in. And part of it is guilt.

Mark Harrington (25:34):

My guess is Abby Johnson, you can go to abby j.com. We’re talking about this new documentary called Unthinkable, and you can go to unthinkable.dot com. Abby, what can people do to set up a screening and what’s involved in that, by the way?

Abby Johnson (25:52):

So they just need to go online to the website and type in your information, and one of the producers will get ahold of you, and if you want to screen at your church, your pro-life group or whatever, they’ll reach out, get you the link. And we want people to watch this film. I mean, almost everybody that’s watched it has said, this is even more powerful than unplanned because this is, you’re hearing it from the real life voices of people that have participated in this, and nobody’s face is covered. Nobody’s names are covered up. I mean, you see their face, their first and last name is there, the clinic they worked at. So nobody’s hiding anything. I mean, these are their real life stories just right out there for everybody to see. And I think there’s something very powerful about that.

Mark Harrington (26:42):

No doubt it won’t cost anything. They download it for free and they just ask people to come. I assume you’re raising money for it too, right?

Abby Johnson (26:49):

Yeah, there is a, I honestly, mark, don’t even know the cost. There is a cost attached to it, but if you’re like a pro-life leader, if you’re a leader of a group or something, they’ll send you the screener. We want people to watch it. We want people to talk about it. We’re going to be putting it out in theaters eventually, but we are still working on the plan for when that rollout is going to be.

Mark Harrington (27:11):

Okay. And after theaters would be available streaming, I imagine for

Abby Johnson (27:15):

Others and stuff like that? Yeah, it’ll be on a streaming

Mark Harrington (27:16):

Platform. Okay. Well, excellent. So folks, you can go to Unthinkable doc, that’s do c.com to set up a screening of Abby’s new documentary. Well, friends, I hope you enjoyed the interview with Abby Johnson and her story, leaving the abortion industry and how she witnessed that baby being killed guided by ultrasound. What a powerful witness. And now she’s turned around and is making the case for life all across America. So we really thank Abby for taking the time and friends. You can find out more about her work by going to abby j.com. That’s abby j.com. And also you can donate to Created Equal and also support the Mark Harrington show by going to created equal.org/donate. That’s created equal.org/donate. We’ll see next time. God bless you. God bless America, and remember America to bless God.

Outro (28:17):

You’ve been listening to Mark Harrington, your radio activist. For more information on how to make a difference for the cause of life, liberty and justice, go to created equal.org.org. To follow mark, go to Mark Harrington show.com. Be sure to tune in next time for your marching orders in the Culture War.