Tim Drake has a very good interview with Abby Johnson posted at the National Catholic Register. Johnson, you’ll recall, was a director at Planned Parenthood who finally quit in 2009. Last year, she and her husband joined the Catholic Church and started an apostolate for abortion workers called And Then There Were None.
At one point in the interview, she talks about the need for the Church to speak more about healing from abortion. The following exchange leaped out at me:
Do you think the Church needs to be taking a bigger role?
Our priests need to be talking and praying about healing from abortion much more. It needs to be said every week in the Prayers of the Faithful. A priest once asked me, “How often do you really expect priests to talk about this?”
I responded, “I don’t know, Father, but when I worked at Planned Parenthood, it was pretty common for women to be lying on the abortion table while holding a rosary. You tell me how often we need to be talking about this.
She also talks about how she came to found her new apostolate:
When I left Planned Parenthood, I knew one day I wanted to work with abortion workers, but didn’t know how. After 40 years of legalized abortion, I thought there would be an organization out there, but there wasn’t.
When my book came out in January 2011, one of my hopes was that abortion workers would pick it up and read it and find some truth in it. They did start reading it. Seventeen workers who wanted to leave contacted me. There was no national group to refer them to.
It was then that I realized how lucky I had been to have a support system in place — and what a shame that there was nothing to help these workers transition. It’s the missing gap in the pro-life movement.
My husband and I felt personally responsible to help these workers financially, so we started the ministry. We officially launched the ministry in June. Since then, we’ve had 13 additional workers leave, for a total of 30.
It’s been beyond anything we ever could have imagined. We offer four streams of assistance: three months of financial support and job-placement support; legal help; emotional support and recovery; and spiritual support.
These workers have experienced serious trauma. They’ve seen and heard and experienced things most people cannot imagine. In the first couple of weeks after they leave, they need someone to talk to every day. The majority of those who have left have been Catholics. This is a wake-up call and a challenge to us as Catholics. We get them in contact with their pastors, priests or a spiritual director.
Read it all. It’s gripping.