Enduring work: two ministries going strong

Part of a series marking the tenth anniversary of the Leaven for the Loaf blog.

A pair of ambitious pro-life projects launched within weeks of this blog’s first post. I heralded both of them as promising efforts. Where are they ten years later?

Still in business, going strong.

And Then There Were None

A former abortion worker herself, Abby Johnson recognized the practical, legal, emotional, and spiritual assistance a person needs in order to leave the abortion industry. In June 2012, she announced the creation of a nonprofit organization called And Then There Were None (ATTWN) to provide those services.

Today, ten years later, ATTWN has helped more than six hundred abortion workers who chose to leave their jobs – “quitters,” as they call themselves. Some have shared their stories on the ATTWN website, abortionworker.com.

The site highlights a few metrics that raise red flags about the industry’s treatment of workers: 33% of the “quitters” report that they didn’t have the necessary certification or qualifications to perform a task they were assigned; 18% were told to perform something illegal; 18% have attempted suicide. Yet even under such stress, a person who relies on abortion-industry employment in order to support a family can feel stuck. ATTWN offers resources that can open up options.

I interviewed a couple of ATTWN workers a few years ago, and I asked them about their approach to abortion workers: “we love them out,” they told me.

See abortionworker.com to learn more about ATTWN.

Charlotte Lozier Institute

Before the Charlotte Lozier Institute was founded, no single pro-life organization was dedicated to the kind of research on which policymakers could rely. Today, with a large staff of employees and an impressive roster of scholars, CLI sponsors and promotes research on a broad range of life issues and healthcare policy.

Once upon a time, the Guttmacher Institute – a onetime Planned Parenthood project – was the only place where journalists, activists, and legislators could find facts and figures about abortion. That’s no longer the case.

From CLI’s website: “The Charlotte Lozier Institute is committed to bringing the power of science, medicine, and research to bear in life-related policy making, media, and debates  to promote a culture and polity of life. In just over a decade, CLI has established itself as a go-to source for accurate and timely research and information on life issues. With a current network of nearly seventy Associate Scholars from a variety of disciplines, CLI provides pro-life groups and policy makers research-based information of the highest quality on issues including abortion, women’s health, prenatal diagnosis and treatment for the unborn, perinatal hospice, abortion reporting, sex-selection abortion, stem cell research and medicine, and health care policy.”

Go to lozierinstitute.org to check out some of CLI’s published research. Make sure your legislators know about this resource as they consider promoting pro-life policy.

Post featured image: pexels.com

Update: “The Walls are Talking”

I reviewed the groundbreaking book “The Walls are Talking” when it was published in 2016. It was the first book to gather accounts from former abortion workers who had left the industry and were ready to share their experiences. I commented at the time that the only weak spot in the book was the anonymity chosen by some of the workers.

Since then, more abortion workers have left the industry with the assistance of the peer support group And Then There Were None (ATTWN). More are willing to go public, revealing their faces and names, despite fear of reprisal. On May 21, four of them and ATTWN founder Abby Johnson will be featured in a webinar.

At this writing, registrations are still being accepted at this link for the online event: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0vav34L6Ti-C0aHhuBWtNQ

From the email announcement of the event, sent by Abby Johnson and ATTWN:

After Unplanned: The Walls are Talking
(Abby Johnson talks with former abortion workers)
Date: TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2019
Time: 4:30PM PT/ 6:30PM CT/ 7:30PM ET

UNPLANNED, the surprise hit film based on the book I wrote (of the same name, after I quit my job at Planned Parenthood) shook the nation as people were confronted with the truth about abortion. Many people, even those who are pro-life, didn’t know how horrific abortion was or the devastating effects it has wreaked on children, women, and their families. I received hundreds of personal messages about how UNPLANNED changed their views on abortion – and how they viewed those who worked in the industry, just like I did.

UNPLANNED only showed a small portion of what it looks like to work in the abortion industry. But it also showed how love and compassion can help workers quit their jobs and leave the industry entirely. Many of their stories are told in my second book, The Walls Are Talking.

Join me on TUESDAY, MAY 21 at 7:30pm EDT and four former abortion workers to learn:

how their stories are changing the face of the pro-life movement,
– the secrets of the abortion industry, and
– how abortion clinics are dealing with the exodus of so many workers.   I will introduce you to these four courageous former workers:

– Sue Thayer – Sue was a Center Manager for Planned Parenthood for 18 years. After she became pro-life, Sue led the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign outside the very clinic she managed.

– Monica Cline – Monica was trained by Planned Parenthood for outreach to teens and saw first-hand that the goals were more abortion-centered than they were education-based.

– Adrienne Moton – Adrienne is a former employee of Women’s Medical Center, the infamous Kermit Gosnell’s practice. She worked in the abortion industry for 3 years.

– Myra Neyer – Myra worked for Planned Parenthood in Baltimore. She witnessed an unforgettable abortion procedure that led to her quitting her job in the industry. 

Participants will be entered into a random drawing to receive an autographed copy of my book, The Walls are Talking. It can also be ordered by CLICKING HERE.  I hope you will join me on May 21. These walls are talking, and it’s time we all listen.  Sincerely, Abby Johnson.

Bullying in Action: How Not to Represent a District

It has to be seen to be believed: a state representative in Pennsylvania posted video of himself harassing peaceful pro-life witnesses outside abortion facilities. See coverage here, at a link that will not give the rep the satisfaction of inflating his social media stats.

The prospect of such bullying here in New Hampshire is why I keep my phone with its camera handy whenever I’m participating in 40 Days for Life, and it’s why I think it’s a bad idea to witness alone even though I’ve sometimes done so.

The Pennsylvania politician has demonstrated how not to represent a district. That’s between him and the voters, or rather among him and the voters and the advocacy groups that will no doubt be dumping money into his next campaign.

Abby Johnson and the amazing team from And Then There Were None will respond on Friday, May 10 by going to the Pennsylvania facility where the politician performed his antics. They’ll stand with some of the same people berated by the state rep. He has therefore succeeded in intensifying the pro-life presence that so offended him in the first place.

And Then There Were None is calling this event #StandWithAbby, and they are calling on peaceful pro-life witnesses to go to the sidewalks outside their own local abortion facilities between 8 a.m. and noon on May 10.

Don’t think of it as standing with Abby, as stalwart a pro-lifer as she is. Instead, think of it as standing with the people who endured the state rep’s provocation.

From the event announcement:

Let’s stand together across this country on Friday in peaceful unity against the tactics of Rep. Sims and all those who bully prolife people, all those who bully women into abortion, and all those who want to bully our culture into accepting abortion as something good.
    
On Friday, May 10th, let’s stand together, in solidarity, for LIFE against bullies.
 
Here’s how: 
When: Friday, May 10, 2019
Time: Between 8am and 12pm
Where: Your local abortion clinic
What: To pray and give peaceful witness
How:   Be prepared to pray quietly (no bullhorns or yelling).                      Bring a Bible to read softly, rosaries, prayer cards, or other things that help you pray. You may make homemade signs to hold. If you do, we suggest writing  #IStandWithAbby or #StandWithAbby on them along with the websites ProLove.com or AbortionWorker.com. You can also find some ideas on what to put on your signs at   CheckMyClinic.org.

Arrival: Pro-Life Women’s Conference 2018

Months of planning and watching the pennies have brought me here to St. Louis, or rather St. Charles, Missouri. The third annual Pro-Life Women’s Conference is a few hours away.

From the conference web site: This is a three day event by women and for women to proclaim that women’s empowerment cannot be attained by the oppression of other human beings. Many groups are represented: And Then There Were None, Feminists for Life, the Radiance Foundation, Sidewalk Advocates for Life, Americans United for Life, and more.

The groups aren’t as important as the individuals here. Knowing that And Then There Were None is here is one thing. Listening to a woman who used to work in the abortion industry and who found ATTWN’s help in transitioning to other work is something else entirely. Continue reading “Arrival: Pro-Life Women’s Conference 2018”

Catching Up: Marching for Life in D.C. as Roe Turns 45

If you’ve had your fill of March for Life coverage, my apologies for this post (and please tell me where you’re getting your news).

The first March for Life in Washington was 44 years ago, one year after the Roe v. Wade abortion decision was imposed by the Supreme Court.  There’s been a march every year since then. I’ve been to six or seven of them.

t-shirt from March for Life 2018
I traveled to the March with a group from my parish, part of a six-bus caravan.

Never have I been part of a larger march than I was last January 19. The weather was surely a factor: full sun, mid-forties. Yet that doesn’t account for most of the marchers, who chartered their buses months ago.

I didn’t count noses. It’s tough to count from the midst of a sea of humanity. I’ve since seen back-and-forth posts from attendees at the March for Life and the following day’s “women’s march,” with squabbles over crowd size that sound like some chief executive tweeting about who’s got a bigger button.

I can assure you of a few things: the March for Life is not a diminishing phenomenon. It continues to attract marchers of all ages. It’s also a rallying point for new pro-life coalitions and groups (like the former abortion workers of And Then There Were None) that couldn’t have been imagined back when Nellie Gray organized the first March for Life in 1974.

March for Life 2018
The view from mid-crowd at March for Life 2018, passing by National Archives in Washington.

I missed the President’s pre-March rally video-link greeting, choosing instead to meet with a group from New Wave Feminists who were hosting a rally of their own before joining the March. If you think all pro-lifers are alike, NWF will burst your bubble. And it’ll be fun.

During the March, I lost track of my marching companions not once but twice. It was tough to stay in touch with them even via text, as the sheer number of people making social media posts from the March affected local cell service. No problem: this was a good day to make new friends and to bump into old ones.

Next year’s March for Life in D.C. will be on Friday, January 18, 2019.