Must Read Testimony of a Former Pro-Choice Advocate
Abby Johnson is a former executive from Planned Parenthood. Recently, she renounced working for the company and has become a pro-life advocate.
When asked why she switched sides in the debate, she said something very touching and powerful. I almost cried. Here is her account of why she had to leave Planned Parenthood:
I had never seen an ultrasound-guided abortion before. They’re not standard procedure because they take a few extra minutes. To the best of my knowledgeit [sic] was the first time it had happened at our facility.
I was called in to help. My job was to hold the ultrasound probe on the woman’s abdomen so that the physician could get a view inside the uterus. I got everything ready. When I looked at the screen and heard them say that she was 13 weeks pregnant, on the screen I saw the profile of a 13-week-old baby in the womb. I had seen thousands of ultrasounds before, including ultrasounds of my own daughter Grace, who is now four. In that instant, I had a flashback to my own ultrasound of my daughter when I was 12 weeks pregnant. In that instant, I realized what was about to happen and what I was about to witness. . . .
When the abortion procedure started, I saw the child begin to move away from the abortion instrument and recoil. The child knew that it’s life was in danger. Before that moment, I had never even considered that the child in the womb felt pain or felt anything for that matter. Planned Parenthood had always told us that the fetus had no sensory development until 28 weeks.
So, something that isn’t “technically alive” and has no sensory apparatuses recoils at a medical instrument? Interesting. My question is this: does the child really not have any sensory apparatuses? Let’s look at what Pregnancy.org tells us this happens for the first 13 weeks of pregnancy:
Neural tube forms – It will develop into the nervous system (Brain, spinal cord, hair, and skin). Already your baby has the foundation for thought, senses, feeling, and more!
Moving on to week 5, the heartbeat begins, blood flows in the veins, and most of the organs take shape. The brain, center of the nervous system and the arbiter of sensory input, develops and grows in week 6. Elbows, fingers, and feet grow in week 7. By week 8 cartilage and bones form, as well as the tongue and the eyes. Independent movement begins in week 9, and at this stage the baby is capable of grabbing an object placed into its hand! By week 10, all critical development is finished, the “embryo” is now officially termed a “fetus,” and this is the point where the baby just solidly grows.
Take note of this. The aborted baby in Johnson’s story was 13 weeks. Pregnancy.org tells us that at 11 weeks, the major organs start to function. That would include the brain, which would interpret all the sensory information from the nervous system. Is there any reason to assume that the baby is incapable of feeling pain? I’m no scientist, but it seems likely that the baby would feel pain, as he or she has all the necessary organs to.
At the 12 week mark, the fingers and toes separate and dexterity improves, but as we’ve just learned, a little one of only 9 weeks is capable of grasping an object. Since the eyes aren’t functional, the only way that the little one would know to grasp something in his or her hand would be to feel the object being placed there. Are we to believe that the baby is only capable of feeling pressure changes?
At week 13 is when the hands are fully functional, and the little one might start playing with his or her fist for comfort. Further, the baby begins to practice inhaling and exhaling. It is here that the little one that was the catalyst behind Johnson’s conversion was aborted.
I needed to believe that [they baby can’t feel pain until it’s 28 weeks] to continue to justify abortion. I was surprised, shocked, appalled and disgusted at what I was watching. I felt betrayed because I couldn’t believe that this company that I had believed and trusted in had lied. I didn’t want to believe it, but was looking at it so clearly. The evidence was in front of my face. The abortion started and in just a few moments, the screen was black, and the abortion was complete. In that moment, I knew that my life was going to have to change. I knew that I couldn’t walk out of there the same way that I had walked in.
Her book is Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-opening Journey Across the Life Line. It sounds excellent.
Posted on January 18, 2011, in Pro-Life Issues and tagged Abby Johnson, abortion, Planned Parenthood. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
In what sense did it “know that its life was in danger”?
When the neutrophil approached, the bacterium began to move away from the predator. Do we say that the bacterium “knew that its life was in danger”? No. That would be unwarranted projection of our own feelings.
I don’t know anyone informed about the issue who would say a 13-week-old fetus is “incapable of feeling pain”.
If you insist on seeing it as a binary state, instead of the continuum from zygote through blastocyst through embryo through dozens of gradual developments in the fetus, then you’ll always be tripped up by the arbitrariness of where you decide to draw the line.
As I’ve explained in the comments to this post, I do see life as a continuum. However, a continuum supports my argument, not a pro-choice argument.
If it’s a human at the birth stage, then it is a human at the zygote stage, too. The life is within it, and it’s basic humanity is present at all stages of the continuum. After all, we have laws protecting corpses–bereft of life–which means we still recognize a basic humanity even in death. A zygote, which is alive, however, is not recognized as a human under the law even for all its potentiality. That’s the real problem here.
By that statement, you don’t see personhood as a continuum. The continuum run from “is not a person” at the zygote, to “is a person” at the baby once born. There’s no clear bright line between is-not-a-person to is-a-person; that’s what continuum means.
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