Thursday, June 14, 2012
An Interview With Aggie Catholic Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson was hired at the Bryan, TX Planned Parenthood in 2005, and progressed to the position of community services director and health educator, where she served as liaison between the community and Planned Parenthood as media correspondent. She was then promoted to health center director.
In 2009 Abby left Planned Parenthood and joined the local Coalition for Life as a volunteer. After her story hit the national news, I texted my friend, Shawn Carney (then Director of the Coalition for Life and now national Campaign Director for 40 Days for Life). I asked him what was going on and when he was going to bring Abby to come talk to me about becoming Catholic. Shawn, of course, told me to tap the brakes. I did. But, that isn't the end of the story.
Abby and her husband, Doug, eventually did come to talk to me about the Catholic Church. She was full of great questions and had a number of issues with the whole "Catholic thing". I did a one-on-two RCIA program with them, because here schedule was too sporadic to be able to do a regular program. By the time she came to see me, she was already traveling the country talking about her conversion.
Abby now serves as Chief Research Strategist for Live Action, Senior Policy Advisor for Americans United for Life, and works on projects with the national 40 Days for Life campaign. She recently started a new ministry aimed at helping abortion workers leave the abortion industry - it is called And Then There Were None. She and Doug have a young daughter (and another baby on the way).
Abby and Doug were both received into full communion with the Catholic Church this past Easter.
Did I mention that she has a B.S. in psychology from Texas A&M University?
Below is my interview with Abby:
MARCEL - Abby, you haven't always been an too interested in Catholic stuff. Can you tell our readers about your story?
ABBY - Well, I think Catholicism has always been interesting to me. While working at Planned Parenthood (PP) for 8 years, my house was covered in Catholic (in particular Marian) art. People used to leave Miraculous Medals outside on the sidewalks. I would go and pick them up and put them in a bowl in my office. I think I was always interested in Catholic "stuff" because it was a mystery to me. I felt a strong connection to Mary, but couldn't explore that until I left PP.
MARCEL - What do you have to say to our non-Catholic readers about the Catholic faith?
ABBY - I have been able to unravel so many myths that I once believed about the Catholic Church. Once those myths had been revealed as such, I realized that all of the answers that I had ever wanted about God and "religion" were answered in the Catholic Church. Everything we know to be true is scripturally based...something I didn't realize. I'm not going to say that it was easy for me to get on board with everything that we know as truth...it certainly wasn't. But after much time in prayer, I realized that if I am going to believe in what Scripture says, then it made sense to fully embrace the Catholic Church.
MARCEL - What do we need to know about the abortion industry?
ABBY - The abortion industry exists because of two primary reasons. One, people are under the false belief that abortion is convenient. Women and men believe that having an abortion will solve their problems. They can simply "get rid" of their babies and never think about it again. But we know that is not true. Abortion is the most unnatural thing a woman does to her child. Women never regret having children, but they do regret having abortions. Two, Christians have taken far too long to stand up for the sanctity of human life. Because of that delay, we now see that abortion has crept into our churches, including the Catholic Church. If we are going to fight this, we must stand up against this evil and take back the truth.
MARCEL - You have started a new ministry for workers in the abortion field. What do you hope to accomplish with this new group?
ABBY - Our new ministry, And Then There Were None, focuses on reaching out to abortion clinic workers in order to transition them out of the industry. We provide four streams of support: financial, legal, emotional and spiritual. We know that many workers feel trapped inside the abortion industry and are looking for a way out. In the past four months, we have helped 17 workers leave the abortion industry and have conversions on the issue of life. For more information, you can visit www.attwn.org.
MARCEL - What other plans do you have for the future?
ABBY - I currently work as Chief Research Strategist for Live Action Films. I am the Senior Policy Advisor for Americans United for Life. I serve as president of the board for the Austin Coalition for Life. And of course now serve as the founder and President for And Then There Were None. I believe it is important that we all get involved in as many pro-life organizations as possible. We need to cover activism and legislation. My hope is to continue these activities until abortion is not just illegal, but unthinkable.
MARCEL - What is your favorite Aggie tradition?
ABBY - The Aggie Ring is my all-time favorite Aggie tradition. It truly is an outward sign that all Aggies are family. I loved getting it and now I love wearing it every day. It is a way that we are connected to all Aggies since 1894. I travel all over the world and have run into Aggies everywhere...and they can all spot me by my Aggie ring.