Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review: Unplanned

by Abby Johnson with Cindy Lambert

Abby Johnson was the Director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, when she reached a crisis in her career and faith. Within a few days, she had quit her job and was volunteering with the Coalition for Life, praying outside the fence of her former employer. This book is her story, told in a clear and simple style. She shares some remarkable confessions which make it a powerful testimony.

This book was not written to explain her choices and convert her former friends and colleagues from Planned Parenthood; it is obviously written for those who are already pro-life, as a celebration of prayer and hopefulness. It's for the people who were praying in the 40 Days for Life campaigns across the country.

I found it fascinating because of the few times the author gave advice to her audience. She encouraged readers to be kind and considerate to those who are employed, volunteering, or visiting such clinics, showing how the prayers and compassion for the employees and the clinic's patrons shown by the pro-life advocates outsider her clinic were a powerful part of her own decisions.

I also appreciated her emphasis on the good and noble intentions of those who work at places like Planned Parenthood. I think recognizing the good of those with whom we disagree is always beneficial.

Abby Johnson was raised in a Christian home and felt loved and supported by her parents. Reading her story made me think carefully about how we speak to our children about pro-life issues. I want my daughters to come to us if they find themselves in any trouble and I want to give them the knowledge they need to recognize Truth and the way to love others and care for them as God would have us. That doesn't always mean making things seem easier.

The most powerful message of the book for me, though, is that of those who befriended her and loved her, even when they disagreed on the most important issues.
But the process of seeing previously close friends turn away from me because we now disagreed about the crucial issue of abortion reminds me of the very different brand of friendship I'm also seeing in action these days. I'm thinking of people like Elizabeth, Marilisa, some friends from church and even college days--people who befriended me and stood by me for years even though they did not agree with what I did at Planned Parenthood, even though they did not believe in abortion. Those people modeled for me something far deeper, far stronger than situational friendship: they loved and accepted me even when I was (or am) doing something they found morally objectionable. They didn't just talk about love--they put flesh on that concept.
I think this is an example of what can happen when we love like Pope Francis reminds us Jesus tells us to love. We love everyone, no matter their sins or what we think may be their sins. We love so they can experience the love of Christ. I know I've been on the receiving end of this kind of love and I can only try my best every day to give this kind of love to others.

If you're a pro-life Christian, especially if you're evangelical, you'll probably love this book. If you're not a Christian, you might become quite annoyed by the end.


  1. I read this a year or two ago. It's testimony to the power of prayer was probably the thing that got me the most.

    Did you know that she also converted to Catholicism?

    1. I did see that, Monica. I laughed because first I saw she was pregnant with her fourth and thought to myself, she must be Catholic now. And then saw she was!


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