Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Town Abby

Many times when reading remarks by Abby Johnson, I feel as though she is telling me (and you) "This is my town! I know better than you, because your experiences are not the same as mine. I used to work for Planned Parenthood, and that makes me an expert. Anyone who has different ideas is not as pro-life as I am; maybe not at all."

I know this post will not be a popular one. Then, the truth is generally not very popular these days. Also, it is not my intent to tear Abby down, just to call her out. In the end, I may have the same or similar opinion about some legislation that was the catalyst for some remarks she made. I really don't know. But I do know that it is wrong for Abby to suggest that some very good people who have devoted much of their lives to saving babies have "sneaky" agendas or may not be truly Pro-life at all.

In fact, I remember Abby being upset when she found it difficult to be accepted by many pro-life circles. She was upset that people did not "trust" her. I guess she was concerned that people thought she may have had a "sneaky" agenda or may not be truly pro-life. I'm not throwing out an accusation, just noting a comparison.

A recent example, though not covering all of what I stated in the opening paragraph is this comment from Abby (emphasis mine)

Guys, I am trying to give you arguments to use against prochoice rhetoric. It is important to be equipped when someone says that life doesn't begin until the fetus is born. You can talk to them about the baby's heartbeat beginning at 18 days. If you think you can change someone's mind on abortion by simply saying "life begins at conception. Period," you are wrong. You have to have logical arguments to throw back at them. One of the reasons we are behind in this movement is because we do NOT have enough logic to fall back on. It is easy for me to back someone into a corner using their own faulty ideas. We must all be equipped.

I know that sounds harmless enough on its own, but keep reading.

At the same time, Abby is always (and I mean always) complaining that pro-life groups and organizations spend too much time fighting with each other. Oh, I definitely agree on that and wrote a very short piece on that last year.

So why am I "complaining" about Abby Johnson?

Yesterday, Abby wrote on facebook (again, all emphasis mine)

I will NEVER understand why a "prolife" group would want to overturn a solid parental consent bill. I have to wonder about some groups...they say they want to end abortion, but work to do the opposite.

After being questioned, she identified the group she was complaining about as "National Right to Life". A little later, she went on to complain about Texas Right to Life as well.

Her complaints were mostly vague (as in no real details) but were centered on some piece of legislation regarding parental consent laws.

I apologize to the reader, but I am confused because at first I thought NRL was against a bill, or was it an existing law? I thought TRL was okay, then later they were bad too. Several people asked for clarification, but I couldn't see a real answer in any of Abby's responses. Abby stated that NRL and TRL were "against parental consent" and wanted to "go back" to parental "notification". I contacted a friend with NRL, but she had no idea of what I was talking about. I tweeted to NRL, but they politely asked me to call a phone number with questions about legislation. Well, I will, but not without REAL information instead of HYPE.

Many respondents also seemed frustrated by the lack of real details.

Several hours later, Abby started a new thread by stating

I remember when I worked at Planned Parenthood in 2005, we were fighting SO hard to stop the parental consent legislation. We knew it would be devastating for us. Parental notification was SO easy to get around. They could give us the number to Walmart or Target or their cousin and as long as we said we made the contact, then they could get their abortion. We knew parental consent would make our jobs much more difficult. And I remember sitting across the hall from all of the pro-life groups...the groups that we were fighting. Well, all but ONE. There was ONE group that stood alongside Planned Parenthood. There was ONE group that opposed parental consent. I remember thinking to myself THEN, "what type of 'pro-life' group would ever not want parental consent?" Well, that same group is continuing to fight against parental consent in our state. Any group that will stand alongside Planned Parenthood is certainly no pro-life group. We must divide from these groups as they are incredibly detrimental to our efforts. The group I am referring to in this case is Texas Right to Life...fueled by the damaging legislation of National Right to Life.

I finally joined in the comments by asking/stating

What is the specific legislation number you are talking about? And I am sorry to hear you advocating "dividing" after all of the complaining about divisiveness. Anyway, it would help to address these organizations if we know a little more. (I contacted NRL and they don't seem to know about this). 

 I don't believe this has been answered yet.

Regardless, I agree with Abby's former position that pro-life groups should not fight with each other. But apparently, I misunderstood, because it seems that what she meant by that was as long as everyone's ideas are the same as hers.

Look, everyone has to do what they can do and handle their little piece. Abby has a lot to contribute with regard to how Planned Parenthood works and how we might best reach those within the organization. But these comments and accusations lead me to believe that her transition from one "side" to the other was perhaps too quick.

I don't mean the conversion part, but that perhaps the over-night sensation and best-selling author thing may not have helped her understanding that many good people have given much to the pro-life cause for a very long time. Perhaps it's wrong to try to label them as sneaky or as not really being pro-life because their ideas ae different.

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