Tell Me…What Do I Deserve?

I am vehemently against the death penalty. Now stay with me…this is not a post about my opinion regarding that. You can disagree or agree with me on that some other time. I did want to share a little bit about why I take the words of prolifers so seriously. I have heard so much vitriol spewed from the mouths of “Christian prolifers” since the Gosnell trial has concluded. I feel like I must address it.

When I was confirmed as a Catholic, I chose Mary Magdalene as my confirmation saint. I felt an immediate connection to her. She had sinned so much…and was forgiven in even greater amounts. She knew she didn’t deserve forgiveness…but she received it anyway. And because of this, she clung to Christ. She knew she was nothing without Him.

I have also done my fair share of sinning. And I have also been forgiven much more than I deserve. I abused and betrayed women in the worst possible way. I convinced them to kill their children. Did I slit the necks of children after they were born? No. But, I was an accomplice to murder. Thousands of times…women I knew, women I didn’t, my friends, even my family. I lied to people. I lied to women when they came to me for accurate information. I was among the worst sinners…those that help to take and destroy life. I am no better than Kermit Gosnell.

I took my own children’s lives…twice. Not because I was coerced. Not because I didn’t know better. But because I thought children would be an inconvenience to my lifestyle. I am responsible for their deaths…no one else.

So when someone talks about Gosnell and says things like, “murderers and people like him don’t deserve to breathe the same air as I do,” or “I hope he burns in hell,” it hurts a little. Because that was me. But I am still here…breathing that same air…and trying to spend my life righting my wrongs. And it’s not just me. I know they hurt others like me, as well. People who have left the abortion industry and will work every day to recover from their sins. People who are still in the industry and think they will be shunned by the pro-life movement…maybe they would reach out to us if they knew we would accept them. I am always terrified that clinic workers will see some of the words from prolifers. I have been told by several former workers that they will NEVER come forward with their stories because they are so scared of how they will be treated by us…by US…the supposed “Christian” movement. Their fears are real AND legitimate.

I know some will say, “but you repented, that is the difference.” But what if I hadn’t…not yet. What if I was still inside the abortion industry? What if I was still an accomplice to murder? What if it took me longer to realize the truth? Do I deserve to die? Are we saying repentance is about our timing? Certainly, it is not about us. It about God and His perfect timing.

Right now, I shouldn’t be in this movement. I should be the COO of the 4th largest revenue generating Planned Parenthood affiliate in the country. I should be overseeing the largest abortion facility in the Western Hemisphere. I should be making 6 times the amount of money that I make in the pro-life movement. But I’m not. Why? Because of forgiveness. Because of mercy. Because of grace. Because of God. And because of REAL pro-lifers. The people I turned to accepted me for me…baggage and all. They knew that I was a broken person, and they loved me anyway. They knew I needed significant healing, and they helped to provide it.

I remember one story in particular which always makes me tear up when I think about it. One of the ladies, Karen, that immediately befriended me after I left Planned Parenthood was asked a question by a reporter. He asked her, “So, what was Abby like before she became pro-life? I mean, how nasty was she?” Karen’s answer was so genuine, and so Christ-like. She simply said, “I don’t remember that person. She is a new creation in Christ. I won’t talk about her past, I only want to talk about her future.” Wow. What grace. What forgiveness. She could have really spilled the beans on me, but she chose not to. Why? Because she truly loved me…and she always had, even while I was working at Planned Parenthood. She always believed the best in me, always believed that my conversion would happen.

It was Christ who changed me. It was the merciful and compassionate words of His people. It was no condemnation. It was not prayers that I would burn in hell. It was not those who yelled and called me names. It was the words of people like Karen. Those who prayed that I would, one day, walk out of that clinic. Those who had constant faith…even when that faith was a struggle to have. I am here because of THEM and because of their Christ-like witness.

Don’t we want that for every abortion clinic worker and abortion provider? Don’t we want that for Kermit Gosnell? I smile every time I imagine his conversion. What a heavenly victory that will be! Can it happen? If you say no, then you do not know the God that I do. My God is in the business of miracles. And my God does not want anyone to suffer in hell. He wants ALL of his children to come to him…yes, even those of us “monsters” that are in or have been in the abortion industry.

Hate comes from hell. Mercy comes from Christ. When we have hate in our hearts, our spirits are damaged. Be careful with your words. Not only are you a living witness of Christ and His truth, but you could put your own soul at risk. “Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” 1 John 3:15 When we hate, we are no better than those who kill.

I am not the sweetest person. I’m not the one who catches all the flies with honey…sometimes I am all vinegar. What do you expect? You expect the most tender hearted to work in the abortion industry? Maybe we aren’t like all of you. Maybe we aren’t the most kind-hearted. Maybe you don’t understand how we could do what we have done. But those of us that leave…we are fighters. We are willing to take hits for our former sins. We are willing to stand up in places that are uncomfortable. We are willing to be bruised by others because we know that we have to…we know that will be the price we pay…it just hurts more when the bruises come from those who should be rejoicing in our repentance. We are passionate. We don’t waste time beating around the bush…not when it comes to life…especially the lives that we helped take.

Those of us that have worked in the industry all live our lives with a constant burden. One that will not be free from us until we reach heaven. We can’t let our burden slide off of our shoulders…it is what keeps us on fire. It reminds us of why we fight so hard. We have seen death and evil in a way that most haven’t…and we participated. We are forgiven.

So, should I be able to “breathe the same air as you?” That’s not really up to me to decide. But if you say things like that, know that a small piece of our heart is broken, and I have to believe that it grieves Christ. But even if you break our hearts, we forgive you. Even if you bruise us, we forgive you. He who has been forgiven much, loves much. And we love a lot. I am eagerly awaiting the day when I can call Kermit Gosnell a former and REPENTANT abortion provider.

87 thoughts on “Tell Me…What Do I Deserve?

  1. Avis Cawley says:

    Thank you for a breathe of sanity and compassion. I’m glad the man was convicted but sad that our society can come up with nothing better than the death penalty for him. He deserves to have a chance to make peace with God. I don’t know if he’ll take it, sadly. I also don’t know what’s in store since the opposition is already disowning him and using his crimes as “the reason abortion should remain safe and legal.” The devil is truly running amok in all of this. I’ll continue to pray prayers of thanksgiving that you’re out there and brave enough to say what needs to be said. Hang in there. God won’t ask us if we won. He’ll ask us if we kept the faith.

    • Dave Demare says:

      Hate is not from God, no matter what form it comes in, no matter how it is dressed up. How many times must I forgive my brother (or sister)?
      “Not seven times, but seventy times seven.”

  2. Steve Walsh says:

    You truly exhibit the Spirit of Christ. I know that it is all Christ and nothing that you have done but you are a trophy of Christ’s love and sacrifice. Thank you for the reminder of what is really important.

    Steve Walsh

  3. Vondalee Buehler says:

    Abby, I completely agree. We as Christians (I am a Confirmed Catholic since 2009) are to LOVE and PRAY for others, including sinners. I do not believe in the Death Penalty. In truth, even if he was sentenced to it, he would die in jail before all of his appeals were exhausted anyway – he’s 73. But that doesn’t matter. A life sentence without parole will keep him from harming any more babies &/or their mothers. I pray for his conversion; that he will see the error of his ways, repent, and experience the love of the Lord… Mr. Gosnell could become a VERY strong voice in the pro-life movement! PRAY PRAY PRAY

  4. Katie says:

    Abby, thank you for writing and standing up for what you know is right. I’ve been praying for Kermit Gosnell, and you’re so right!! Our God is in the business of big miracles, and most of all, turning sinners into saints, which takes a lot of miracles, for everyone, not just Kermit Gosnell.

  5. Mark says:

    Greetings Ms. Johnson! Thank you so much for what you do. I too am a big believer in mercy, grace and forgiveness. (Without getting too much into a discussion, I do see a difference between the role of government and that of individual believers. Government should not necessarily show mercy.) That said, God himself said “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”. Since I need lots of mercy, I should give lots of mercy.

  6. Annie Milliron says:

    Abby, Like you, I’m a convert. Like you, I am drawn to Mary Magdalene. Like you, I’ve been forgiven for sins more than I deserve.

    In my past life, I was Pro Choice…. and frequently “justified that” by saying… “I’d never have an abortion, but I don’t want my opinion to impact on others “right to choose”. I was also very pro-death penalty. But during my conversion, and my devotion to Mary and to Jesus, I realized that Life was everything… and I happily and proudly discovered that I was no longer Pro-choice, and very much Pro-Life…. well, at least as far as abortion was concerned. For quite sometime, I still supported the death penalty. And then, suddenly, I realized that by saying I was Pro Life, that that meant ALL LIFE. I could no longer support the death penalty.

    So I completely understand your stance, and support it (and you) 100%.

    If one is sincerely Pro-Life, then that means ALL LIFE.

  7. “Certainly, it is not about us. It about God and His perfect timing.” Absolutely right. As Paul said: “More sin, more grace.” My bad paraphrase, sorry. But we get the point. We are all sinners, all have sinned and fallen short, and the wages of sin is death. But, thankfully, Jesus doesn’t see us that way anymore. We still see ourselves that way. I too am a murderer, I helped a girlfriend go and get an abortion, I paid for it. I was just as guilty as if I’d held the machine that ripped that poor child apart. I don’t think about it every day anymore, but I should. The real impact of what Paul said about grace is as you said about Mary Magdalene, she knew she was nothing without Jesus. Without Jesus, and his sacrifice and atoning death on the cross, I am toast. Thanks be to God that he had mercy on us, that he chose us. We don’t know why he did, but he will have mercy on whom he has mercy. We take his mercy and witness to others. His love is endless! For Jesus.

  8. Subdeacon Henry says:

    “Let us call ‘brothers’ even those who hate us, and forgive all by the Resurrection…”

  9. Paula Bright says:

    Abby, your Facebook post and this comment have touched me deeply.
    I, like you, chose St. Mary Magdalene as my patron when I was received into the Church for much the same reasons.
    Like you, I want to cry when I hear the hatred being spewed at another person, whether they deserve it or not. Frankly, don’t we all ‘deserve’ to die?
    I know, based on my sins, I do. However, God’s grace and mercy have shown me that I can love and forgive AND learn to love and forgive others!!!
    You’re not alone!! Keep the faith, and keep praying!!

  10. Thank you, Abby, for this message. It’s a beautiful testament to the power of Divine Mercy. Keep up your good work and God bless you +

  11. Jeff Ryan says:

    Abby,

    Your article addresses the paradox of justice versus mercy. We know that God is just and we deserve punishment for our sins, yet through the unfathomable gift of His divine mercy, He repeatedly offers us loving forgivenesss of those very sins. His love for us is so incredible that through the Incarnation, the Son dwelt amongs us as Jesus, and offered himself up as the ultimate sacrifice to redeem us all from our sins. Even from the cross, he prayed, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” I understand and share your desire that those who are still in the sinfulness of abortion and other sins will repent and turn away. Through God’s divine mercy, none of us receive what we DESERVE, yet we are so blessed that His son willingly paid the debt that was ours. May God’s transforming love continue to touch those still enmeshed in sin, and also touch our hearts that we may rejoice in their salvation.

  12. Michele says:

    Beautiful… And so very true.

  13. Abby ~ I wish I knew you in real life. You have a beautiful faith that always speaks to my heart. I have always, ALWAYS cringed when I’ve seen the approach that certain people take to “pro-life” work. Something has always felt wrong… whether it was their words or the signs they held. I guess I have always remembered my own brokenness and God’s mercy in my own life. Thank you for this post! Your words reaffirm my heart as it feels NO hatred. The ACT of taking the life of a precious, unborn baby is a HORROR, but the people involved are NOT evil! They are BROKEN, BUT LOVED by God! (I firmly believe that His Sacred Heart aches for each one in a very loving, personal way.) Each of us is on a journey… I didn’t always know of God’s love and mercy. Today I do. My prayer is that each soul – whether mother, father, abortion provider, nurse or whomever else – will come SOON to know of this AMAZING gift!! May God bless you, Abby! May He bless all those who still walk in the darkness from which you have been called forth and may He move their hearts to SOON follow after you!

  14. Brigid Kowalczyk says:

    Fr. Frank Pavone is hoping Gosnell will become another Bernard Nathanson! There are many conversions from heinous backgrounds – but none of us are guiltless. In AA they say: “Don’t compare your insides with anyone else’s outsides.” We can’t see inside another person, sometimes we can’t even see inside ourselves. But someone else’s outsides don’t tell their entire story. We may see evil but inside they are broken and wounded and in need of mercy. The criminal crucified with Our Lord was evil and mean – up until he repented! And he was forgiven. And saved. And loved. Then there is the fact that “There but for the grace of God go I.”

  15. Kelly says:

    I appreciate what you wrote and I agree with you. I believe that people who have worked in the abortion industry and those who have had abortions live with a burden that those of us who have never been involved in those things will never truly understand. Because of our sin, we are all worthy of death.

    I do believe I have Bible to disagree with you on the death penalty but that is inconsequential to your major point. And it is a point well made. Thanks for writing this.

  16. Andrea Lawson says:

    Oh and Abby, I totally agree with everything else in this blog. I always picture you as our version of that story of Christ, reminding us that he who has not sinned can cast the first stone. We all sin, and our sins are no better than abortionists sins. Let’s pray for them just like anyone else, that they would stop killing and that they would be saved.

  17. Raquel Kato says:

    This is truly amazing. This is what the prolife movement should be all about….love and mercy. Love and mercy are what kept me from getting an abortion, and the judgment and hate are what almost dove me to get an abortion. Thank you for speaking truth.

    • Nora says:

      Raquel….God has been burdening my heart with the tragedy of the abortion industry. I feel stuck in that I don’t know how to approach someone contemplating abortion with the love and compassion you are talking about that saved you from having an abortion. I’m so glad that someone loved you enough to show that love. It sounds like it changed your life. Thank you so much for sharing.

  18. Celia says:

    One more thing… If this kind of thing goes unpunished what will deter others from following in his footsteps? We need consistent enforcement of laws so that this doesn’t happen again, for the sake of doctors/workers and expecting women and their babies.

  19. Excellent remarks.

  20. We just aren’t in the position to judge….there but for the grace of God go any of us. Everyone is a sinner and no one deserves forgiveness. It was offered on the cross for us not because we deserve it but because of God’s great love for us. And he loves Gosnell too…as hard as it might be to understand that sometimes. Remember how happy Christ was that a sinner repented? I know that you, Abby, have made heaven shout and I hope/pray Gosnell will too. God Bless you and thank you for having the extraordinary courage to write this article!

  21. Eva says:

    Thank you for this wonderful letter, Abby. I am sorry you have heard such hateful things. It just goes to show the Catholic Church is made up of saints and sinners, and sometimes people are moved by God’s grace to be more saintly, and sometimes we are very human and act like sinners. It is like Jesus said: “only God is good”. We try to our best with His grace. God bless you :)

  22. Christine says:

    Something our priest said about 2 Sundays ago has stuck with me and reading this reminded me of it. The homily was about ‘Loving one another as Jesus loved us’. He said it is easy to say you ‘love something’, you can ‘love a movie’ or ‘love pizza’. He said instead to TRULY love someone the way Jesus did replace the word Love with the word Forgive. You can not forgive a movie or pizza or other “thing”, but you can forgive people. Once I started to look at it this way it really put things into perspective for me. God bless you & I forgive you (I love you) and thank you for all you are doing for us.

  23. Dorothy Barnes says:

    Abby, I’m sorry you’ve felt so hurt by the pro-life community. Something you may not realize though is that not all pro-lifers are Christians. And even some who say they are Christians in fact are not. “You will know by their fruit if they are My followers.”

    True Christians, true followers of Jesus, would hope and pray along with you that Gosnell will find repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ. If a fellow Christian expresses joy in thinking of Gosnell, or anyone, in hell, then you must suspect that one is either immature in his faith and needs God to help him to see his wrong, or doesn’t truly know the Lord.

    Btw, I loved your book, “Unplanned,” and am so very thankful that your eyes were opened and you came to know Jesus Christ. Always keep your eyes on Him, for although others may disappoint you and let you down, He is always faithful and will never let you down!

    Blessings in our Lord,
    Dorothy

  24. garysgirl says:

    Thank you Abby for your words!! :)

  25. Anna says:

    Hi Abby,

    Thanks for posting this here!! I don’t like commenting on Facebook :)

    Good, honest, caring and compassionate Christians can disagree on capital punishment (they probably have for centuries) Why is this a deal-breaker for you? It’s not about hate or wishing harm on another person. Most people who are in favor of it see it as a justice issue. If a person schemes pre-meditatively to wantonly take the life of another human being (understanding the complete nature of their action), the Old Testament civil law requires that person to give their life in return. Our justice system is based largely on biblical definitions of justice and that is what is…a person gives what they took…they gave themselves the death sentence. It can be viewed as a pro-life position because it makes an unequivocal societal statement as to the value of the life that was taken. It’s not unreasonable or incongruent with the Christian faith or pro-life values.

    The killing of those babies was first degree murder and so capital punishment is reasonable. I hope and pray Kermit Gosnell repents and receives the full and complete forgiveness that Jesus Christ died to give him and all the rest of us sinners who deserve nothing but death and hell. Jesus Christ mediates between us and God, so our debt has been paid in the eternal sense; but when it comes to civil accountability (man to man), he instituted the law/government to be arbiter.

    • Denise says:

      I just want to make some comments on some of your points. While it’s true the Old Testament had laws regarding compensation for wrongs, you probably know the saying ‘an eye for an eye’, Jesus taught to love our enemies and to ‘turn the other cheek’.
      In Matthew ch. 5 Jesus says:
      21“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…”
      We never know when God will use a sinner for His glory. St. Paul was one of the greatest defenders of Jesus Christ and gave us multiple writtings to help us live our lives. But before Paul’s conversion, he was one of the worst persecutors of the early Christains. If Jesus could turn Paul’s heart, he can save anyone. We should pray that anyone who does harm discovers Jesus’ perfect love.

    • HeatherG says:

      Anna, I understand your concern for justice. I want to preface my response to you by stressing/reminding you that you are on a FORMER ABORTION CLINIC DIRECTOR’S page telling her that death penalty is ok for people who committed crimes like she did.

      The Church continues to uphold its traditional teaching that the state has the right and duty to protect general society from violent offenders, including by means of the death penalty IF non-lethal means are insufficient to protect lives in an individual case. Our country, fortunately, has the lethal means to keep Gosnell in prison and keep him from harming/murdering citizens.

      What the Church strongly encourages today is that the state do all that it can to satisfy its duty to protect society through non-lethal means, which are in better conformity to the human dignity of the offender and prevent the state from growing callous and imprudent in its application of the death penalty. It also prevents society from developing the “hang ’em high!” attitude that is unfortunately all too prevalent in countries that permit widespread use of the death penalty.

      As for scriptural support for the Church’s modern pastoral approach to the death penalty, we can look to God’s mercy on murderers such as Cain and King David (cf. Gn 4:1–16, 2 Sm 12) as examples of extending mercy to those who, by reason of their crimes, could justly have been put to death.

      THEREFORE, though the Old testament laws have the ‘eye for an eye’ viewpoint, GOD sent His son to SAVE us all and to show His mercy. The New Testament RESTORES us. Christ came to be the NEW Adam so that we may have new life. Gosnell, again, will have the rest of his life during his life sentence to repent. I recommend also looking up Dr. Bernard Nathanson – who committed THOUSANDS of abortions including one on his own child, and by the GRACE of God repented and spent the rest of his life fighting for women and unborn babies.

  26. Liz says:

    Abby, I appreciate your honesty and courage in putting this out there. I’m with you 100%! We need to remember Mary Magdelene and Paul and all of the other Saints who Jesus called to help Him in his ministry. One of my favorite quotes says, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” God bless you and the work you do.

  27. Anna says:

    I am currently reading a book by Carol Everett recently — the Scarlet Lady. It is amazing what God did in and through her life…I love her! I read your book and I love you too!! Telling your story is where the power is and where change for others happens and how babies are saved. Thank you for your courage and commitment to Life!!

  28. thea says:

    God bless you Abby. You are a true Catholic indeed!

  29. John Treuil says:

    All I can say Abby is that this is beautifully put! God bless you and yours!

  30. Gary says:

    Abby,
    I appreciate your compassion and meekness. Professing Christians who are vitriolic are thereby denying their professed repentance. Mean-spirited Christians are a contradiction of the Gospel.

    However, Dr. Gosnell blatantly violated what he knew to be the law of God and man. You violated God’s law as an abortionist and you violated your conscience, but you were not violating the laws of the land.

    It would be glorious if God granted Dr. Gosnell repentance unto life. Even so, there must be consequences for the brazen and repeated violation of civil law. Otherwise there will be no civilization.

  31. Ron says:

    Abbey,
    You are so right. Thank you for this. I am reminded of Bernard Nathanson who became a pro life crusader…and of course you. I am reminded of the words of Chesterton who said the goal in dealing with those who oppose us is not their death but their conversion. We should all be praying for that in this case as well.

  32. Anna says:

    Sorry, I did have one more thought! One of the reasons that the death penalty is not appropriate for the average law-abiding abortion clinic worker or abortionist is that the act of abortion is legal, and so we are ALL complicit, tacitly approving of what is taking place…or at least not disapproving strongly enough. Thus they cannot be held accountable for “murder” Dr. Gosnell is a different case because he premeditated the killing of live born babies, knowing the act was illegal and that society would demand an accounting if he got caught.

  33. Sue says:

    Abby –

    I am also opposed to the death penalty. It is only up to God to decide when and if someone should die.

    I, too, pray for the repentance and conversion of Gosnell. I believe those of us who have repented and have been converted in Christ are to help others follow the same path. We are to try and help save them too. And – you, Miss Abby are on the front-line doing just that! Thank you for standing up in uncomfortable places and for taking the hits! I rejoice in your repentance because you turned back to God!

    We must keep praying and working to turn others back to God as well – even when the road seems long. Only light and love will drive out the darkness.

  34. Elaine says:

    We are ALL complicit! Truer words never spoken. Blood of the innocents is on all of us. May God have mercy on us all.

  35. Sheila Kelly says:

    Abby,

    Your decision to leave PP and that industry must have been excruciatingly difficult, especially when I read what some “Christians” said to you and fellow employees. Welcoming arms were probably few and far between. Hate is not the answer, and you have clearly recognized that. I pray that those people come to that same realization sooner than later. The death penalty is NOT our right to give out. Matthew 5 details this in many ways, the most prominent being that an “eye for an eye” is not a loving solution. Turn the other cheek and offer that up as well! Thank you for your thoughts on this.

    I am a recent ( last weekend!) college graduate and outspoken pro-life supporter. There is a way to “fight” for the pro-life movement, and we must continue to do so through positive communication and an ultimate respect for life, which you do. I am also a fellow Catholic – isn’t the Church great?! I want to to thank you for your bravery. Your writing of this book, blogs and doing interviews will each have more effect on men and women everywhere than anyone can imagine. I do hope that this message – your message of life and of forgiveness – goes viral and touches every family.

    Blessings!

  36. Liz says:

    Well said, sister. I think many of us have forgotten how much WE have been forgiven.

  37. Maria Gutierrez says:

    Abby, you deserve our love and admiration for truly living your faith. I know abortion will never end without compassion. We can point fingers all we want, but we are all guilty in one way or another. What leads women to consider an abortion?How do we treat pregnant women at medical clinics? How do families support pregnant teens?I have worked in medical clinics and have seen the impact compassion has on pregnancy outcomes. Here in Los Angeles I have seen women walk in for a pregnancy test, some afraid,others ashamed if they were lucky to have gone to a clinic that practiced compassion very few women chose to end their pregnancy. We need to remember that not all women go to PP for pregnancy tests. I think if we do not start showing compassion instead of passing judment on pregnant women will continue to see abortion a their only choice. At the end we will be jugded on how much we have loved.. There is no place for hatred in the Pro-Life movement.

  38. John Weingarten - 40 Days for Life Spokane says:

    God bless you Abby! You are in Lynn’s and my prayers. Thank you for being who you are.

  39. Tina Ireland says:

    I think some forget that the Bible says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and that the wages of sin are death.

    The Bible also says that there is much rejoicing in heaven when one sinner repents. I, too, long for a day when Gosnell will be that person repenting.

    God bless, Abby!

  40. Nellie K says:

    I’m reminded of Russell Ford – he is an inmate in a Georgia prison – he converted to the Faith and now runs a ministry that is converting so many – yes even hardened criminals – to Christ and His Church. He says in his conversion testimony that he doesn’t believe in the death penalty because he has seen some of the most worst criminals give their lives to Christ after having been on Death Row and then taken off due to laws changing. He said that if they law hadn’t changed this one particularly horrible criminal would have gone to hell because it was through Russell’s ministry that this man repented. I think there was a similar story about an abortion provider who was on the fence and then someone killed him. It’s God’s timing not ours.

  41. Shelda says:

    Well said, Abby. You are truly a blessing. I often wonder if some Christians do not understand “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. There’s no “unless” in that commandment. Thank you for staying true to Christ and the Word of God.

  42. Ray Wilson says:

    From Mary’s Fatima prayer: “Lead all souls into heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.” Mary has called us to pray for the WORST of us.

  43. Mary says:

    Thank you Abby for your honesty and faithfulness and for living your faith by not wishing ill on others. I was taught at a very young age by some wonderful Catholic Nuns that I am not to judge others, that is God’s job. I do fail sometimes but then someone (this time it was you) brings me back to my early teaching. Because of you I have been praying for Dr. Gosnell that God will help him find his way to Him. My hope is just being away from the horror of it all God will be heard by Dr. Gosnell. Thank you for bringing me back to my knees to ask for help for another sinner in this world. I hope someone is praying for me also.

  44. BOB AMODEO says:

    Hi all, Just looking at the bigger picture. There have been about 55,000,000 abortions in the united states alone since 1973, and with the united states being only about 5% of the population of the world, there would be a grand total of about 1,000,000,000, yes billion, abortions in the world since that unholy error was made in 1973 “Roe vs Wade”.
    In late 1939, My own Mother was on the abortion table getting rid of me.
    Just as the Doctor was doing his deadly deed, my mothers sister Margret came running in and screamed to her to stop. She yelled out “Jean”, don’t do it, that child will take care of you in your old age!
    Well, the Doctor stopped, and here I am today, with a wonderful wife of forty eight years, four great children, eight Grand Children, and a blessing of a Hot dog named Margret Mary, after my Aunt Margret, Thank you Lord!
    Over the many years, I’ve had many jobs and meet many people in Church,Real Estate, and the Automobile business, and have touched thousands of people and acquaintances in many ways, and yes, out of 6 children, I was her favorite, and helped her till she went home to our Lord at the ripe old age of ninety two! Well, thats only one little story out of a Billion.
    If woman only knew what one new life can mean in this world…….Many Blessings to All, Bob Amodeo+++

  45. Linda Ciarrone says:

    Abby,
    Thanks for your honest reply. You state it so beautifully. You have spoken the truth.

    The following quote of your post hit home for me…”But those of us that leave…we are fighters. We are willing to take hits for our former sins. We are willing to stand up in places that are uncomfortable. We are willing to be bruised by others because we know that we have to…we know that will be the price we pay…it just hurts more when the bruises come from those who should be rejoicing in our repentance.”

    The reason this hits home is because of our daughter who is a graduating High School Senior this year has had the same experience in her young life. She has had her peers reject and mock her because she stands for Christ and his Church. She understands Church teaching on chastity and defends it at quite a cost! She’s not the popular girl, nor is she asked to go on dates because the guys know where she stands. She has been bruised by words and mockery in her school. She has had to stand “uncomfortably” for LIFE. She also knows that Christ did not promise us it would be easy. In fact he said to expect persecution and hate because of Him. Our daughter has experienced this first hand many times.
    I realize that she has not experienced it quite to the degree that you have (I read Unplanned), but if our world does not have a major conversion, I’m pretty confident she will be tried in ways that makes me, her mother, shudder (and sometimes cry) . But her father and I know that she knows THE Father in heaven so that brings us hope and comfort.

    We are all sinners Abby, and we all have to fight the tendency to hate and be angry at times. We all need mercy and forgiveness. Even those who call themselves Christian and are blinded by the hate and anger.They need conversion of heart too!
    Please continue to be the soldier Christ is calling you to be. Stand strong in those uncomfortable places and we promise to do the same! Let us resolve to pray for each other and for the conversion of souls. God bless you Abby and your beautiful family!

  46. Micaela says:

    Capital punishment is one thing. (I disagree wholeheartedly with it, but that’s not my point here.) But when someone who is pro-life says *in vengeance* that someone else deserves to die… That is hatred and has no place within a pro-life discussion, much less within the Christian heart.

    Abby, you are one of the bravest people I know. Please continue to fight the good fight, and know that many many MANY people support you in your ministry. Please tell clinic workers who contact you to ignore the vitriol. There are far more people who would embrace them an shun them.

  47. Denise says:

    Amen to that, Abby! Well spoken. Thank you.

  48. Lindsay Rodgers says:

    Abby,
    Thank you so much for all your do for the pro-life movement. You are a shining example of what it truly means to be forgiven and to accept that mercy from the Lord. I pray, not only for those who are now, or who ever have, participated in an abortion, at any stage, but I pray for those who have not yet been awakened to the horror that abortion brings to so many lives. Gosnell is only a drop in a HUGE pool, and I will pray for his soul daily. Abby, I will pray for you. Please pray for me as well. God Bless

  49. Barbara says:

    What a privilege to be a first hand witness of your conversion, Abby. I was one of those silent prayer warriors during your stint at PP in Bryan. I, too, am a convert – a repentant sinner giving all I’ve got in thanksgiving for my new life in Christ. Since I was once one of “them”, it’s easier to be compassionate because I still remember my misunderstanding of reality and why I was the way I was. But your voice today is a strong reminder of our human condition – but for the grace of God go I. If God loves those on both sides of the fence, who are we to not do the same?
    I thought Pope JP2 once said the death penalty should only be reserved in special cases for vicious murderers who are at risk of escape, thus a threat to society… that’s not likely in high security prisons.
    I will continue to pray for conversion of myself, and our country. We should never stop growing more and more in love with Christ and His people. To not love Gosnell would be a slap in Christ’s face… I will not throw the first stone. I will slink away, shamefaced, knowing I am not without sin. But on a happier note – - knowing and loving Jesus and growing in the faith has brought me the most profound peace and joy! I am a new person in Him, and it feels pretty great! :)

  50. Melanie N says:

    Thank you, Abby. Very well said. You are an amazing woman, thank you Jesus!

    I pray for you that you will stay strong and close to Jesus no matter what Satan or people in the church throw at you. Please, never get discouraged. You are doing an awesome work, full of God’s grace and mercy.

  51. Ann Couper-Johnston says:

    I have said of Gosnell that I used to wonder how they staffed the concentration camps and he has given me the answer – he is another Mengele.

    However, as I write that now I remember there was a nurse who worked with Mengele. She was a Catholic and returned to the Faith once that dreadful regime had run its course. So we need to keep our hope alive.

    I don’t support the death penalty: there have been too many miscarriages of justice, and you can’t afford even one mistake with somebody else’s life.

    I’m not sure what’s the best way to fight for what is right. There are so many lies taken for granted by society (and you have been the victim of them, too) that you have to speak up loudly for the truth, but what do you do, given that many people have been taught so many lies that the truth appears harsh and unforgiving?

    If we say we are totally against abortion, same-sex “marriage” or whatever, it is bound to come across as negative (even if we are careful to distinguish between condemning the person and condemning the action, as we should) and will get people’s hackles up. The truth is that there is something much better out there – life in accordance with the teaching of the Church – to give life, to honour marriage, and yet the terms society gives us mean we are always arguing the negative: telling people it is wrong, rather than telling them what is right, what they can look forward to (heaven) even if it’s a struggle getting there.

    • annie c-j says:

      Adding to my own comment, this, quoted by a pro-life site over here (UK):

      “I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.”

      (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae)

  52. Michelle says:

    I would love to see a Gosnell God help conversion but I fear he is severely mentally ill. I want him to stay locked up where he can no longer hurt any babies or women or struggling drug addicts. Maybe with this solitude and isolation he can repent and feel the mercy of Christ. If he dies now he is just another child of God lost to Satan forever. I would not rejoice in that.

  53. kent veazey says:

    I’m not opposed to capitol punishment because i think it can actually be a greater mercy to the innocent. If more harm to innocents is prevented by capitol punishment, I see it as justified. And, those aurgments that say such punishment doesn’t deter more harm are not credible.

    However, i’m not all on fire to see anybody executed, and I’m perfectly fine with life in prison for Gosnell. Mercy is always most appealing.

    God bless and goodness be with you

  54. C.R. says:

    If you are a genuine Christian–then you have been forgiven and are now clean from the past–you are a new person!

  55. Dawn says:

    The Lord has been impressing on me more and more to pray for Kermit Gosnell – that the scales will fall off his eyes and he will see and accept the saving work of Christ! Your blog confirms that and reminds me to pray first for the abortion providers in my city and then around the country as well as for the wounded women. I’m thankful for what God has done in your life and that we are in the Body of Christ together, redeemed – each with our own sins that have been forgiven by Him!

  56. Clarita Burke says:

    Hi Abby,
    I heard you speak in Tucson last evening. I was so touched by you and your hearthfelt story about your ephipany and your desire to spread the truth about the abortion industry. This movement needs leaders like you that connect with people. You had me laughing and crying…but most importantly, you challenged me to not just sit around, hoping someone else would do the heavy lifting. I am committed to getting involved.

    I was car pooling to this event and we were talking about the Gosnell trial. I told the others in the car that I was against the death penalty. One of the people in the car said she was for it in this case. I think it is so important to have a consistent life ethic. On our way home, this lady commented that after hearing you, she was going to have to rethink her stance on the death penalty. I pray she does. We do have to stand united.
    Thanks again for the kick in the rear. I needed it! I will be following your blogs.

  57. JP Pidanick says:

    Best thing I’ve ever read. I am humbled. God bless you Abby. Your words made a difference to me.

  58. Amy K. says:

    Thanks so much for posting this Abby! Some of the comments I have seen have bothered me. I still have hope for Gosnell. The mercy of Christ is unfathomable and I don’t wish to deny forgiveness and love to anyone. I pray for your ministry and all abortion clinic workers, for the conversion of hearts. I pray for the day that there is no fence!

  59. Scott Hicks says:

    Good words. I cringe whenever someone, particularly a person who is public about his Christian walk, wishes Hell on another person.

  60. Mary LeQuyea says:

    Only those of us who have never sinned can cast the first stone. We didn’t have to work in an abortion facility, or have an abortion to recognize sin. We are all sinners, and through the sacraments and the Body of Christ, we are redeemed. I am praying from the depth of my own heart for a miracle in Cleveland when a particular abortionist comes to his knees. I never give up hope and I am expectant because I know that Jesus wants all souls in eternity with Him. That will be one big glorious day, and I will rejoice. We are all wretched sinners, but purified by His blood. I really don’t see major differences in sinners, just those that are lost and then those that are found. You are amazing, Abby!

  61. Cesar Gustavo says:

    Thank you Abby, I am of those catholic that judge and condemn.
    Thank you again… Our Lord is LOVE, and we must to love praying for the sinners… like me.
    God bless you and Our Lady Virgen Mary be with you always in all the moments of your life.
    Abby, pray for us… sinners.

  62. Br. Mark of the Cross, OFM says:

    WOW!
    What a beautiful testimony! What a testimony of Grace, of Love and of strength in front of a wave of fear. I too am waiting for the day of the conversion of Mr. Gosnell. I read somewhere that he in fact did not receive the death penalty but life in prison. THIS is the time God has to work on him. This will be the time of his conversion. All of us are sinners, but we are sinners who are LOVED. God LOVES Kermit Gosnell. God loves us all.

  63. Boniface Muggli says:

    How wonderful to read this on a day when the Gospel is from John 21–when Jesus forgives Peter for denying him three times, and confirms him in his ministry to the others. He does not condemn him for being foolish and weak, he just finishes, “Follow me.”

    How often do we forget that Christ’s commandment is to love one another, and he calls us to forgive, not to carry grudges and judgment?

  64. PrairieHawk says:

    Bless you, Abby. May God continue to work miracles through you.

  65. Cindy Brown says:

    Abby: Keep on keepin’ on. You are right on. God has chosen you for a very special mission. Do not let the evil one discourage you. What you have said needed to be said. I am praying for you and your ministry. I also am praying for the conversion of Dr. Gosnell. What great rejoicing in heaven there will be for his repentance! I pray he will repent before he dies. I pray for the conversion of everyone in the abortion industry. If not for the grace of God there go I. I send my prayers, love, and hugs to you tonight. God bless.

  66. While Planned Parenthood is earnest about keeping abortion legal, they don’t have the best track record when it comes to keeping it safe (as if murder were ever safe). And if anyone starts inquiring into the issue, the “safe and legal” slogan takes a back seat to their covering their own hide. Nothing safe or legal about their behavior in this video, certainly not concerned with the woman’s safety who filmed the incident.

  67. Sharon says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Those of us who can be tempted to be self-righteous need to remember that woman who had been forgiven much and so loved the Lord that much more.

    Today was my turn to have devotions for my department staff meeting, and I read this to my co-workers. I had a hard to time not crying all the way through! (And I am not normally much of a crier.) Such a beautiful statement of the grace that is in the Gospel.

    Blessings on you, Abby, for the work that you do. May God continue to use you in a great way to demonstrate his truth AND his grace to our dark, deceived culture.

  68. Dr. Gosnell is not just a special case that you can not find anywhere else unfortunately.

  69. lisa says:

    Sadly, Abby, I guess people believe that since you repented and are trying to save babies that you are no longer on that level. And yes, abortionists who continue to murder babies deserve wrath, and hell,but only God has the right to make that judgement as we are all sinners and all who are unsaved deserve hell, all that are saved deserve hell too, but we are made clean by the blood of Christ. Stay strong in Him, dont ever let the world bring you down, only let Christ raise you up.

  70. Maria says:

    I love you Abby!

  71. Dawn says:

    Thank you Abby for your eloquent reminder of how we have all fallen short and are in desperate need of our wonder Savior Jesus. He brought me out of the depths of shame and sin and who am I to cast any stone. Although I did not work in the abortion industry I aborted my first child and have been forever changed by that and that is one of the reason I stand with you and hopefully beside you someday, to speak the truth in love. Jesus has forgiven me and set me free and HE so desires to do that for others. Thank you for being a courageous woman of God.

  72. Nora says:

    Abby,
    Thank you for your honest comments. I want so much for pro-choicers to repent and turn to the Lord…and I am so disheartened by the pro-lifers who are so violent in their comments. Often, in the name of pro-life and sometimes in the name of God, people have chosen to murder abortion providers. I don’t understand this thinking and it makes a bad name for those of us who truly just want to see the killing of these innocent babies stopped. Just about everyone who has posted has talked about the saving power of the Cross….Jesus’ forgiveness of ALL of our sins, and should we forget that, we continue to need forgiveness. I’m not expressing myself as eloquently as most of the others have on this site but I do want to share that I believe God will use you in a mighty way, in ways He can’t possibly use me or someone else. Throughout the Bible it is apparent that God uses “broken vessels” to spread His Word. Chuck Colsen is another who has been saved and went on to save many, many others. I love to read his works and love to hear his radio show…He truly spent the later half of his life reaching out to sinners and saving souls, in a way many of us don’t have the stamina to do. God will use you greatly to change the course of abortion in this country. Your boldness encourages me to be bold in Christ’s love for this issue. Thank you. I hope this makes sense.

  73. Bob says:

    Thank you for your statement on the death penalty. I think it is totally wrong too. Being pro life means not only being againist the abortion but the death penalty as well, it also means taking care of the poor hungry children who have been born.

  74. James Carmody says:

    Not a bad arguement Abby Johnson, though I must wonder what would move a Confirmed Catholic to kill their own children… I am however all too aware how far off, we as catholics can go, history proves that!
    The Mexican Dictator Santa Anna was, by all apearances, a catholic- but he sure didn’t live like it all the time! (reference the slaughters in the Texan Revolution!)
    Hopefully you’ll keep up with your efforts on the cause of rightiousness, good luck with your good behavior- or more precicely- keep up with the campaign.

  75. Maureen Ciardiello says:

    Abby,
    Thank you for the reminder. How often I have judged others instead of loving them. I pray that you will always have the strength to continue the good works that you do and in a special way, that you will inspire others in the abortion industry to leave as you extend a loving hand and a warm embrace to them. May Our Blessed Mother and St. Michael protect you and your family!

  76. Forty-three percent of women in our nation have experienced an abortion. Did you know this statistic? Are you surprised? I was one of these women–utterly convinced that this dark secret must forever remain buried so deep that it could never in this lifetime be brought into the light. I could never speak about it, not with my husband who shared this secret with me, and certainly not with Christians. I even tried to hide it from myself and from God. I remember hearing mothers expressing their disgust and bewilderment concerning abortion through statements such as “I don’t understand how anyone could ever do that!” I remember the shame, guilt, anger and hatred. I wished I could disappear, I wished I could somehow make it not so.

  77. annie c-j says:

    Janice, I’ve already added to my comments above something that was posted on a pro-life website here (UK) today, but I’ll repeat it here specially for you, to encourage and console you:

    “I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.”

    There you have it, straight from the top! I don’t like the sort of language that wishes people to rot in Hell; that’s not what Jesus gave His life to achieve! It’s sometimes difficult for those of us who have a strong Christian background (and therefore a strong sense of right and wrong, and that can be a disadvantage) to understand where people are coming from who have grown up without such an advantage (which on balance I believe it is): they have to find the way that is right among all the wrong choices society offers us. It’s all too easy to make the wrong one, and there’s not one of us that hasn’t somewhere along the line.

  78. annie c-j says:

    OOOPS! I forgot to say where the quote came from: Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II

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