Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: Unplanned

I first heard the story of Abby Johnson on Focus on the Family about a year ago (and they happen to be re-airing that yesterday and today... go check it out!) and was really intrigued.  Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, and during a 40 Days of Prayer event at her clinic, she ended up walking off the job and walking into the Coalition for Life headquarters.

So when I saw she had written a book about her experiences, I knew I wanted to read it.  Unplanned by Abby Johnson was a compelling -- and challenging -- book to read.

From the publisher:
Abby Johnson quit her job in October 2009. That simple act became a national news story because Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who, after participating in her first actual abortion procedure, walked across the road to join the Coalition for Life. 
Unplanned is a heartstopping 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.
I loved this book.  There was so much that struck a chord for me.  I started college calling myself pro-life, but I had never truly thought through why I said that.  Various experiences in college led me to some pretty similar conclusions to Abby's -- I felt that abortion needed to be legal so that women wouldn't be butchered in back-alley procedures.  I wanted adoption to be pushed a lot harder as the preferred alternative.  I bought the 'legal, safe and rare' line of the pro-choice movement.

My attitudes were fueled by some of the really hateful and unchristian attitudes of some in the pro-life movement.  The in-your-face attacks of the 80s convinced me that pro-lifers were really anti-women zealots, though I always believed that many were truly wonderful, caring people... there just were not enough of them to stop the bullies.

So, in reading how Abby Johnson got started volunteering and then working for Planned Parenthood, I could really understand. 

This was a book I couldn't put down.  Even though I more or less knew the ending, I found it compelling.  And she made me think.  It's easy for me (now) to read about how she struggled with the thoughts about late-term abortion but was perfectly okay with the procedure if it happened just a week or two earlier and think -- how could you hold such contradictory views?  But don't I do that with other issues?  Not that I care to give examples, thankyouverymuch.  I just never really thought about why people end up working at abortion clinics.

This story reminds me that there are real people involved.  And while some of them may just seem evil, many feel they are doing their part to help women and to provide options.  They are there because they care. 

I think anyone who cares about sanctity of life issues really needs to read this book.  You can start with the first chapter, or go check out Abby's blog, or check out the book's webpage

Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers.  No other compensation was received.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

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