Book Review | Unplanned by Abby Johnson

It’s been quite a while since I posted a book review! I started a new job in December of last year and I’ve been too busy to post, but I’m back! I hope to read a book a week until the end of the year. This is very doable if I cut back on TV time! I have 3 hardback books and 4 e-books on my Kindle waiting for me to read them. But, Unplanned by Abby Johnson is a book that I read back in December.

Little did I know in December of 2011 that the topics of healthcare and abortion would come together and cause turmoil throughout the ranks of the Komen Foundation and other high-ranking organizations. Unplanned is a book that tells a riveting behind-the-scenes story of a conservative working at Planned Parenthood. Abby Johnson started out as a young volunteer and rose to rank of executive, leading a Planned Parenthood location in Texas. Her unusual participation in an abortion procedure forces her to face her internal conflicts. As a devout Christian, her job (working in a clinic that provided abortions among and other healthcare services) conflicted with her moral beliefs.

Many young women can relate to Abby’s conflict whether they have performed similar work or not.Like Abby’s real-life character in this book, I have been conflicted about my moral beliefs versus my support and patronage of Planned Parenthood. This book presents both sides.

What I enjoyed most was Abby’s candid discussion about not only her experience working at Planned Parenthood, but also her own past. She reveals some ugly truths about abortion clinics and also discusses the value of the other healthcare services provided by Planned Parenthood. In addition, she shares her own story of not one, but two, unplanned pregnancies and why she  made the choices that she did.

Lastly, Abby talks about why and how she changed her mind about working for Planned Parenthood. If I have a criticism of this book, it would be the slightly dramatized chapters in the book following Abby’s choice to walk away. Although it was a heart-wrenching decision, people quit their jobs every day. It is also fascinating that she ran away from one extreme to the other, seemingly without considering a middle ground. She went from being a staunch supporter and worker at Planned Parenthood to being strongly anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood. I would have liked to see some talk about a middle-ground, an area of compromise where we can support the rights of women and the unborn at the same time…is that possible? I’m not sure, but when I put this book down, I felt inspired…of course, my beliefs align pretty strongly with Abby’s. Abby introduces readers to pro-life organizations that are less divisive. She could have simply walked away from Planned Parenthood and found another job, but instead, she chose to share her story and to use her experience as a platform to help change the lives of others.

For those looking to better understand the perspective of individuals, particularly, Christians, who work at Planned Parenthood, this would be an interesting book to read. Be fair-warned that this book is not pro-Choice. The author advocates an end to abortion because of her religious beliefs and because of the detrimental effect that abortion has on women and families. But, the way she wrote this book provides a fair perspective of both sides because, unlike many people, she has “fought the war,” from both sides. If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think! If you wouldn’t read it, let me know why not!

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2 thoughts on “Book Review | Unplanned by Abby Johnson

  1. Lucinda Hilton says:

    Abby’s work should be classified as self-promotional fiction. She touts her Christian values but sought and obtained two abortions before leaving PP. But was that enough to create some doubt about abortion? Apparently not. In 2009, PP put Abby on a performance watch. Termination was imminent.

    Abby resigned four days later after copying a substantial number of personnel files whose confidentiality is protected by law. A Texas court issued a restraining order, given the possibility that these files might end up in the hands of violence-prone protestors. Abby says PP tried to muzzle her. Really?

    Abby didn’t show moral reservations about any of this at the time. Not even her resignation letter cited such reservations.

    These details are available to anyone who does the most cursory check on Abby. See for yourself. But don’t take what Abby says at face value.

    • Debra says:

      Hey Lucinda, thanks for stopping by. I definitely agree that there are always two sides to a story and I did think about a couple of the points that you mentioned, but I didn’t know about the copying of the files. I will have to look into that!

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