Wendy Davis and her supporters have either bought into
a lie about abortion or mistakenly believe these clinics are safe
places, but we have the truth, says former abortion clinic worker
Carney and Abby Johnson once stood toe to toe on opposite sides of
the fence at the Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas, until Abby
joined the pro-life cause. They talked to CWR about the new abortion
law in Texas and what it means for the clinic where they met and for
the other abortion clinics in the Lone Star State.
Bill 2364, “The Preborn Pain Act”, passed in the state senate
late Friday night and is expected to be signed by Governor Rick Perry
in the coming days.
Shawn Carney is one of the
founders of 40 Days for Life and
co-author of 40
Days for Life: Discover
What God Has Done...Imagine What He Can Do.
Johnson is a former abortion clinic worker named "employee of
the year" by Planned Parenthood and now the author
of Unplanned: The
Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's
Eye-Opening Journey Across the Life Line,
of "And Then There Were None,"
a support group for abortion clinic workers who have left the
What are the changes this law will make for abortions and
abortion clinics in Texas?
The proposed laws would ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks in
Texas. The biggest impact of this law will be how it raises the
standards of the abortion industry, against their own will. For
instance the abortionist will need to have admitting privileges to a
hospital within 30 miles of the facility and new upgrades would be
required inside the facility. This has caused a huge reaction from
There are 42 abortion facilities total in the state and 37 are
not "ambulatory surgical centers." To comply with the new
law, they will have to retrofit, rebuild from the ground up, or
How is this law going to affect your own clinic in Bryan, TX, the
site of the first 40 Days for Life campaign?
Actually, I just found out today that my old clinic is no longer
doing surgical abortions because of the ultrasound legislation that
we passed last session in the state of Texas. And the reason that
they can't do it because it requires a doctor to be there basically
two days in a row: one day to do the ultrasound and answer questions
and the second day to actually do the surgical abortion. Because my
clinic only had an out-of-town abortionist come from San Antonio, it
is virtually impossible to have him come two days in a row. So they
hadn't been able to do the surgical abortion, and that went into
effect last October. But they are still able to do the medication
abortion and that is because the physician is not required to be
there on site to administer the medication abortion pill. This bill
will actually change that and would essentially require the abortion
doctor to be on site three days: one day for the ultrasound, a second
day for the administration of the first pill, and then another day
for the second pill. If they can't secure a doctor for two times a
week, they certainly can't secure him to come three times. So this
bill, just in that one part, would essentially close down the
abortion part of that Planned Parenthood.
The pro-life community in Bryan was aware that Planned Parenthood
was no longer doing abortions for several weeks and the new law will
make it even more difficult, if not impossible.
Planned Parenthood [clinic] is very symbolic since 40 Days for Life
started at this facility in 2004 before spreading to all 50 states
and 19 countries. Abby’s conversion in 2009, when she walked next
door into my office, put the spotlight on this facility even more, so
it is not just a victory for Texans but pro-lifers across the
prayer is that this facility closes. Countless are the priests,
religious, and lay people who have stood on the worn out grass
praying for an end to abortion in that community. The gradual decline
over that past ten years of that Planned Parenthood’s business is
ultimately from their prayers.
Currently, what types of sanitary and medical regulations do
abortion clinics have?
There are not many. They do have to have sterilization equipment.
But in an open records request that we had gotten from the state
listing all the violations that the Texas Department of Health had
given the abortion clinics across the state, we are finding that the
majority of these facilities do not run their sterilization properly.
And that is serious; these are instruments at are going inside a
woman's body and they are being improperly sterilized. We found in
these reports that a lot of the staff are not trained or certified
for the procedures they are performing. That is very common. There is
very little regulation in the Texas regulation code. Very little.
There is nothing about making sure doorways are large enough for
emergency transport to take place if needed. None of that. We say
that these are just common sense that they have these things in
facilities that are performing surgeries. Actually, we have been
talking with a general contractor who called the other day and she
said: "Abby, I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it
myself that there are really no regulations as far as facility or
anything. I couldn't believe that medical facilities that perform
surgeries had no regulations."
Does something like a
nail salon has more regulations?
I was getting my hair done the other day and I was talking to my
hairdresser about this bill. I was telling her about the lack of
regulations and she was just appalled. She said, "You know, I am
more regulated as a beautician than these abortion clinics are."
Wendy Davis has become an overnight celebrity as a defender of
women's rights. Do you think most people in the American public know
what it is that she is defending beyond "a woman's right to
choose"? That she is advocating for no oversight on potentially
filthy abortion providers or even infanticide?
I don't think the majority of abortion supporters really get that at
all. They really think that these clinics and I understand
because a lot of people just find it hard to believe but I think
they really believe in their heart that these abortion clinics are
clean, safe, inspected regularly, that they are inspected properly
and that women aren't having complications from abortion. Because
that is what they are being told by the abortion lobby. And they
don't have any reason not to believe it and they do believe it. And
they think that we are crazy and telling lies, but we are hearing
from the women who have been hurt. We have the facts; we have the
information about these facilities and how filthy they are and what
is really going on. And I think particularly with my ministry of
working with former abortion clinic workers and hearing from them
what is really going on, their stories are so powerful because it is
hard to dispute someone who has been in the industry and has seen
what is really going on.
And now it is not just you, but there are more and more of you
who are former workers.
There are 66 who have come just from our ministry in the past
year. And I think a lot of people who support abortion just don't
understand what they are supporting and it is kind of this blind
willful ignorance. I don't mean that in an ugly way just the
definition of the word. They bought a lie, and a lot of these people
have had abortions themselves and so they need that justification.
You have been on the other side of the debate on this issue,
beyond ignorance. What is part of the mindset of people who, like
Wendy Davis, support this bill? She certainly can't be ignorant of
what is in it.
What is interesting
about Wendy is that she had an unplanned pregnancy; she had a crisis
pregnancy as a teen and chose to have her baby. I find it odd that
she is fighting so hard to have women make the choice of abortion
when they are in that same situation knowing that she was blessed
with a child. Her circumstances weren't ideal but now she has a
daughter. I don't know if she has had an abortion, but I think for
her, one, she wants and needs the support from Planned Parenthood.
They have been looking for an opportunity to throw her out into the
spotlight because they have been talking about backing her in her run
for the office of governor. And I think they were just looking for an
opportunity and this was provided that for them. I think that Wendy
has just bought into those same talking pointsthat this is going
to be restrictive to women and we are going to be forcing women to go
to back alley clinics. I think that she really believes that abortion
is a clean, regulated industry.
That is kind of ironic
because as you have described it and was seen in the Gosnell case
the industry is without regulation and is allowing the practices
of the "back alley."
Yes, that is what I tell people, the back alley abortions are
happening today in our "clean, safe and legal" abortion
clinics. The same things that happened in the back alley are
happening in our clinics. But I think that these senators and others
really believe, deep down, that we are sending women to safe
What reaction do you anticipate Planned Parenthood to make in
response to this legislation?
Right now, what they are saying is that this is about harming
women, we don't care about women, we only care about babies. I don't
really know how additional regulations on abortion clinics can harm
women, but they are talking about it being a burden for women to
drive to clinics. My experience with the abortion industry was that
that was never a problem. They would drive five or six hours if they
felt they really needed it. If the woman really felt like she needed
the abortion, she is going to have it. They are going to find the
resources. But if it really is a burden, at least they can be assured
they are going to a safer facility to have surgery.
And what about your own work within the pro-life movement? What's
on the horizon?
I still travel and do speaking events. It is tiring, but it is
important because there are so many people inside the pro-life
movement who have never heard an insider's perspective on what it is
like to be inside the industry. Also, I do a lot of legislative work,
not just in Texas, in other states as well providing expert testimony
and being a resource witness, and helping draft legislation to ensure
that there are no loop-holes that the abortion industry can run
through. I'm also running this ministry with the workers. We get
calls weekly from people wanting to leave or people who have left but
who need additional support. We run retreats for the former workers
and help provide healing for them. And I have a new book coming out
with Ignatius Press in the fall, which is a compilation of stories
from people who have come through my ministry, myself and other
abortion clinic workers. These are really egregious things happening
in the industry that these workers are speaking out about. It is
called The Walls Are Talking.
Shawn, there is good news about more abortion clinics closing
because of 40 Days for Life campaigns. What is next for the pro-life
movement in Texas? And beyond?
We have learned of four abortion facilities closing since the end
of the spring campaign. That makes a total of 37 abortion facilities
that have gone out of business for good following a campaign. This
simply shows the momentum at the local level on the pro-life front.
There is much to have deep concern about in our culture but there is
a lot of hope in the pro-life movement at the local level right now.
We see the states creating news laws like in Texas, and pregnancy
center outnumber abortion providers 6 to 1 in America. The growth of
40 Days for Life has shows that people want to do something for the
women who are scheduled to have abortions this week in their
community. We’ve seen nearly 600,000 people participate in 40 Days
for Life and 30% of them tell us this was their first pro-life
activity. These are good signs at the local level as we take our
faith into a culture that is starving for Christ.