Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: Unplanned by Abby Johnson

I have been wanting to read this book for several months, ever since I first saw it advertised in a LifeWay Christian Bookstore catalog.  I have always been a staunch and devout Pro-Lifer.  I remember the first time I ever heard the word abortion.  I was ten years old, and we had recently moved to California from Mississippi.  Someone on TV mentioned it, and I asked my brother, "Abortion? What's that?"  Tony very bluntly told me that it's when a mother kills her unborn child.  I was horrified, and thought he was lying.  You know how big brothers can be.  So, I went tattling to my mom, and to my utter shock and dismay, she confirmed that that's what the word meant.  My little anecdote doesn't really have anything to do with the book review, but it was very much a vivid memory and somewhat of a growing-up milestone in my life.

Abby Johnson was recruited by the Planned Parenthood organization when she was a junior in college.  They knew the right things to say that would appeal to her compassion and desire to help women in need.  I know that sounds contradictory -- at least it does to a Pro-Lifer -- but she honestly thought that by teaching women about preventing pregnancies and providing them with birth control, she was helping to lower the abortion rates.  It took her eight long years to realize that she was actually a part of the problem.  Her turning point came when she, for the first (and only) time, was asked to assist in an abortion procedure.  She viewed the abortion on an ultrasound screen.  That day, she was shocked into full realization of the truth.  She now is a part of a Pro-Life organization, Coalition for Life, that works to truly help women in need.

"...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." (p. 220)
This quote is sums up one of the best parts of this book.  The people who worked for Coalition for Life would stand outside the fence surrounding the Planned Parenthood clinic and lovingly tried to help not only the women coming in for medical attention, but also the volunteers and staff.  I believe that more good can be accomplished through loving people rather than judging, condemning, and trying to correct (especially if it is not your place to do so!).  Bro. Cary Schmidt of Lancaster Baptist Church recently tweeted a great quote that goes along with this: "Grace is God's response to your sin.  Grace should be your response to the sins of others."

I probably did not really learn anything new from reading this book, except for the personal details of the story.  However, it was a good read.  If you like reading true-life stories and if Pro-Life is of interest to you, then you would like this.

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated in any way for this review.  All opinions are my own.  I borrowed this book from the library.
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