Friday, March 4, 2011

Unplanned: A Brief Review

This past weekend I had the opportunity to read Unplanned, the recently released autobiography of Abby Johnson.

It is an incredible book and I encourage everyone to find a copy and read it!

For any of you who may be unfamiliar with her, Abby Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director who left her job in 2009 after a dramatic realization (I hesitate to use the word conversion, though many have described it as such).

The clinic she ran just so happened to be the one in Bryan, Texas (near College Station/Texas A&M) - the home of the first 40 Days for Life.

The book is a very fast read. I devoured it in a few hours and my sister did as well. It is gripping, blunt, and speaks right to the heart.

Unplanned traces Abby's path from her college days as a very genuine psychology major who just wanted to help others, to Planned Parenthood volunteer, then staff member, then director and ultimately her escape.

Through the book we see into the heart, not only of Abby, but countless other women and men who fell for the same lies Abby was fed. We see a vivid picture of the pro-life movement and the myriad of tactics used by it - and what hurts and what works. Abby delves into the role of religion and churches in her journey.

Above all, Abby wonderfully shows her readers the complexity of the issues she faced, and asks us -regardless of where we stand - to look at them through the eyes of the other side. Below is her introductory note:

“My story is not a comfortable one to read. I think it’s only fair to warn you of that up front. Not comfortable, but honest and true. As you are about to discover, I’ve spent years on the front lines of the face-off between pro-choice and pro-life advocates. Which side? Both sides. You are about to enter my journey from naïve college girl to director of a Planned Parenthood clinic to advocate for families in crisis, including the unborn members of those families.

“I reveal my story not because I am proud of it. I am not. But my thinking and choices are not unlike those of so many people I have encountered. And until we each set aside our own preferences for how we wish others would think and behave, or how we assume others think and behave, we won’t be able to understand those with whom we differ in order to engage in real dialogue and discover truth.

“To this day I have friends on both sides of this polarizing debate. We all long for a story that shows ‘our’ side is right and good, and ‘their’ side is wrong and bad, don’t we? But I testify that there is good and right and wrong on both sides of the fence. And even more shocking – we have far more in common with the ‘other’ side than we might imagine.

“So what side of the fence are you on? In all likelihood, as you look through the fence, you see faulty thinking and harmful behavior on the other side. Here’s my question for you: are you ready to look through the fence and see goodness, compassion, generosity and self-sacrifice on the other side?

“Did you just feel yourself squirm? If so, welcome to my journey.”

Unplanned is published by Ignatius Press. Visit the book's website here and read the first chapter of the book.

This book is a valuable story for us all. Everyone, pro-life or pro-choice, must read this amazing book.

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