By Bonny Van

The Catholic Commentator

Abby Johnson’s name is synonymous with the anti-abortion movement but that hasn’t always been the case.

For eight years, she worked at the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Bryan, Texas, eventually becoming director and counseling young women on their right to choose until October 2009 when she witnessed an abortion procedure. Since then, Johnson has used her voice to encourage young women to choose life.

She wrote about that experience in a book that was made into a movie of the same name, “Unplanned,” which was released this past year.

Now, Johnson said she is noticing more awareness among lawmakers about the horrors of abortion.

“I’ve been dealing with abortion on one side or the other for 20 years, and I can’t really think of a time where the abortion lobby has been in such a frenzy,” said Johnson during a phone interview from her Austin, Texas home that she shares with her husband Doug and eight children. “I think they are seeing how loose their grip is on abortion rights right now, and I think they’re terrified. They lost their battle in Texas, the governor banned abortion during the pandemic. I think they thought they were going to win that battle and lost, and the Supreme Court wouldn’t even pick it up.”

Johnson said she thinks pro-choice supporters “are realizing their favor is waning,” believing that is causing problems for the movement. She added that more people, including youth, are becoming more aware of the “reality of abortion.”

“We’ve got so much scientific evidence proving the humanity of the unborn,” Johnson said. “They’ve even said the only way to defend abortion is by taking the stance that a child in the womb isn’t human and that goes against science but that’s the only way they can defend abortion. But it’s the argument they have to make because all the other arguments fail.”

In October, Johnson said she was contacted through her website by a single mother of a four-year-old who was in desperate need of assistance. Johnson said she placed an order through walmart.com for the woman to pick up groceries, but Johnson stayed in touch with the mother to help develop a plan to prevent further crisis situations.

More cries for help from similar circumstances led to “LoveLine,” a 24-hour crisis line which had a 60% increase in calls after the nation went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. The hotline addresses needs for families “who fall out of the parameters for pregnancy centers” which assist moms until their babies reach two years old, according to Johnson.

“Our hotline helps really any family. So it could be single moms, it could be families who lost their jobs, which a lot of people are facing during this pandemic; maybe both parents have lost their jobs so they’re without income,” said Johnson.  “We’ve helped a lot of people who are fleeing domestic violence situations.”

Johnson, who converted to Catholicism with her husband and children in 2012, said the movie “Unplanned” continues to spread the message of the pro-life movement. It was released on Amazon Prime in April.

 “It got a wider audience for sure. This really took away the financial barrier to see the film, now if you have Amazon Prime, you can see it, so there’s no excuse,” said Johnson.

“It’s really been God’s blessing because we originally believed that it wasn’t going to be shown on Amazon Prime for several months,” she added. “Then we got word that they were going to release it on Easter weekend on Prime. It was great because this was the perfect time because everybody was at home.”