Book Review: The Walls Are Talking

Book Review: The Walls Are Talking June 2, 2016

The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories is a new book put together by Abby Johnson, the former manager of a Planned Parenthood in Texas. She told of her conversion into the pro-life cause in Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line which was an exceptional book.

Since leaving the abortion business she started And Then There Were None, a registered nonprofit organization that exists to help abortion clinic workers leave the abortion industry. Her new book is a collection of stories from former abortion clinic workers.

The book starts with an excellent quote to put things into perspective.

“The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that the other set of people are human.”

Aldous Huxley, The Olive Tree, 1937.

The abortion industry has been very effective in making a whole class of persons non-entities and simply “products of conception”, tissue mass, etc. But for pro-lifers there can be a similar temptation to dehumanize abortion workers. At first thought it is hard to imagine working in such a clinic day in and day out considering the horror within. This is why a book such as this is important.

These are not simply conversion stories of such workers detailing what occurred to make them see the reality of abortion and their subsequent struggle to leave. These mostly anonymous stories tell of specific events and set the context of those events. They are more of a snapshot of events and many of these chapters are fairly short.

I must admit that many of these stories were heart-wrenching and hard to read. There is some familiarity in their experiences. These women really thought they were helping other women. Some had qualms at the start, but put them away to provide what they thought of as a valuable service. I know a time or two I fleetingly thought “how could you justify what you were doing?”, and then I remember how familiar self-deception is to me. If you are not well acquainted with self-deception you haven’t looked very closely at yourself.

In many of these stories there is a pinnacle event that challenges the worker and makes them reexamine their assumptions. The stories of some of the women that came into the clinics are also are heart-wrenching. You see the tragedy examined through the eyes of the workers. You often wonder what the further stories of these women are and if they found healing later? You can see the same feeling in these workers whose intersection with these women who came in for abortion is very short.

I read this book over a month ago and yet I am still affected by the stories told. You also get a feeling for the callousness that develops for clinic staff and how abortion becomes a product to be pushed and sold for economic reasons. That often appearances were more important than the actual health of the women. That a medical emergency becomes bad publicity and steps are taken to hide it. This aspect is not present in all of the related stories, but it certainly appears in some of them. Especially chilling is the description of the POC (Products of Conception) technician whose job it is to count up parts to make sure there are no parts left in the patient.

There are also many reason that people will continue to work in such clinics even when they start having qualms. This is why Abby Johnson’s work with abortion workers is so important. They need encouragement and support to be able to leave and to heal from their experiences.

One of the things I love about being Catholic is that we really do believe in repentance and forgiveness. That our many sins can be forgiven by Jesus if we repent of them. That Dr. Bernard Nathanson an early abortionist and co-founder of NARAL, who presided over 75,000 abortions, could be welcome with open arms into the Church after his conversion. Abortion workers don’t need our contempt, but our prayers and real encouragement.

Thank God for Abby Johnson and the mission of And Then There Were None and I pray that we can hear more stories like those contained in this book.

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