On December 21, 2015, Abby Johnson and her group And Then There Were None sponsored a webcast in which former abortion center workers shared their experiences working in the abortion industry.
One of the workers who told her story was Jackie, who worked in a private abortion clinic in Austin, Texas. At first, her duties consisted only of working at the reception desk and checking patients in and out. Then she was moved to the pathology lab, where the bodies of aborted babies were taken to be examined. Jackie describes what she saw there:
I got selected to move to the pathology lab, and for anyone who doesn’t know what that is, that is the lab in the clinic that basically inventories the body parts of the fetus that comes out of the woman. And, the first part of that job is, as I said, inventorying the parts; and the second also involves inventorying the parts to determine if they are intact enough to be harvested and sold. And then the third part is doing a checklist, such as the head, the arms, the torso, the legs, and you send it to the doctor to let him know that the abortion was complete.
Seeing the mutilated body parts of aborted children took its toll on Jackie. Exposed to the gruesome reality of abortion, her illusions were quickly stripped away:
So that’s where I ended up, I trained in that lab three, almost four days before I had a very harsh realization that everything I believed about the abortion industry was wrong. So about three days into it I had had just about as much as my heart, and my soul, and my stomach could stand.
Most of the protesters outside the abortion clinic were nasty to Jackie and the other clinic workers, but one offered hope and help.
Every day there are huge groups of people outside the fence and most of them, as Abby said, are screaming at you and calling you a murderer. But at the end of the parking lot where the employees parked, there was one person down there, just about every day, who turned out to be a representative of And Then There Were None.
He’d just tell people casually, as they walked by, going to their cars, going home, “You don’t have to do this anymore. There are organizations that can help you, you know. Feel free to reach out to us anytime.” And I heard that voice probably my third day, and I went home just completely discouraged and disgusted with what I had done with myself— disgusted and discouraged. I didn’t feel that I was in a financial place where I could necessarily leave my job, and I went home and I cried about it and I thought about it. For probably the first time in 10 years, I prayed about something. And I thought about that person talking to me outside of the fence, and so I just googled “abortion clinic worker help” and And Then There Was None was the first page that popped up.
Jackie contacted And Then There Were None and was encouraged to put in her two weeks’ notice right away. She was matched with a mentor who walked her through the process of leaving the facility.
Jackie spoke about the incredible relief she felt when she left the abortion facility for the last time:
“[It felt like] I had lost 500 pounds maybe… An enormous burden that you don’t even know that you’re carrying; the only thing I can compare it to, probably a horrible comparison, but it was like having cancer and feeling so sick, and not knowing yet that you have this problem, and then finding out and then the doctor comes in and tells you that it’s benign, and we can remove it, and in 6 weeks you’re going to be completely better.
“So that just – it is just an enormous cleansing, and weight lifted off of your spirit… You go from… I can’t even think of anything that is a worse feeling than having experienced what you see in those clinics, and that’s not something everyone can relate to unless you worked inside of one. Leaving there and leaving that behind and taking your first step towards healing and grasping the opportunity to be able to tell people and finally share that this is wrong. You know I’ve seen some really nasty things and we have to do something about this. Because this isn’t okay, this isn’t all right.”
Jackie’s story shows the importance of reaching out to abortion clinic workers with compassion. If it was not for that one person offering help, Jackie may never have learned about And Then There Were None. If the only pro-life voices she ever heard were voices of condemnation, she may never have found the courage to leave the abortion industry. Now she is sharing her story and is surrounded by people who will help her heal.
As pro-lifers, we need to remember that all lives are valuable, including those of people who work in abortion facilities.
Reaching out to them and empowering them to leave the abortion industry benefits both preborn children and the workers.
[Sarah Terzo, September 22, 2016, http://liveactionnews.org/abortion-facility-worker-quits-after-seeing-the-bodies-of-aborted-children/ ]