‘That’s not empowerment’: Abby Johnson on abortion and college students
Campus Reform interviewed former Planned Parenthood facility director Abby Johnson to discuss how the pro-life movement can help college students seeking abortions.
Johnson says colleges and universities ‘need to do a better job’ of supporting women who become pregnant during their educations.
Slightly one year after the leak of the Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the Institute for Faith and Freedom at Grove City College (GCC) hosted its annual spring conference with the theme of “Post-Roe America.”
Campus Reform attended the event to speak with the keynote speaker, Abby Johnson, who has become a staunch pro-life advocate after quitting her job at Planned Parenthood upon witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion.
Johnson told Campus Reform about her experience in counseling college students through the abortion process when they came to her Planned Parenthood facility in College Station, Texas.
As an upper-level administrator for Planned Parenthood, Johnson was intimately familiar with the business aspects of the abortion industry. She recalled many students from the nearby Texas A&M University who sought abortions because they did not believe they could be students and mothers at the same time, a message which Planned Parenthood embraced.
“[T]he abortion industry does a very poor job at trying to offer any sort of support options for these women,” Johnson explained. “[T]here was also never a time when a woman came to me who was a student and they said, ‘You know, gosh, Abby, I’m pregnant. I’m in school. I need some help. I don’t know how I’m going to do that.’ There was never a time where I looked at her and said, ‘Gosh, you know, that sounds tough. You know, have you gone to the Student Center? Have you looked at their single parents group? Have you looked at the housing that they have for single moms?….[H]ave you looked at all the resources available to you?”
Johnson elaborated, saying, “My answer to them was essentially to say, ‘Gosh, that really is tough. And clearly, you cannot go to school and be a mom at the same time. Clearly, you’re not strong enough to do that. Clearly, you’re not capable to handle that kind of circumstance. So you know, the only option that we have for you is to have an abortion.”
But Johnson now recognizes “that’s not empowerment.”
Instead, Johnson advocates that the pro-life movement ought to say to pregnant students: “You know what, you are tough, and you can do this on your own and here’s some resources to help you and we can help you on this journey.”
Across the board, Johnson expressed that colleges “need to do a better job” of advertising support services for pregnant students.
“Honestly,” Johnson noted, “all colleges, Christian colleges included, need to do a much better job at discussing, talking about, advertising the services that they have for…women who find themselves pregnant during college.”
Part of the reason that higher education institutions do not do a sufficient job, however, is because of their ideological positions.
Johnson noted that “it’s really sad to see what’s happening to our young people” within academia.
“There is an agenda inside of our higher ed institutions,” Johnson observed, “and it’s turning our children against their parents. It’s turning kids against a…well-run democracy….They are trying to polarize our young people as much as they can.”
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