Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group that has its sights set on Planned Parenthood, announced yesterday that the group has hired Abby Johnson, the Planned Parenthood employee turned high-profile anti-abortion advocate.
Planned Parenthood is a national chain of women’s health care clinics that is frequently under attack by anti-abortion groups because some of its clinics provide legal abortions. Johnson has toured the country denouncing the clinics and has even said publicly that the network of clinics is “working with the devil.”
Johnson became a star in anti-abortion advocacy circles after leaving her job as director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. She claims to have decided to leave her job after viewing a sonogram of an abortion. However, many of the details in her personal story have been disputed. Texas Monthly combed through her story and found that their investigation contradicts some of Johnson’s claims.
According to a press release from Americans United for Life, Johnson will be “joining AUL’s premier government affairs team as Senior Policy Advisor.”
“Immediately after coming on board,” the statement says, “Johnson headed to Capitol Hill, meeting privately with office holders.”
Americans United has scored some victories in Congress this year. This past October, Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, announced he was launching a congressional investigation into the finances and policies of Planned Parenthood. The investigation was launched at the request of Americans United.
Stearns mentioned back in July that such an investigation was possible, after Americans United released a report arguing that lawmakers should defund Planned Parenthood. As The American Independent reported, Planned Parenthood has called the report false and “ideologically driven.” Stearns nevertheless decided to move forward with Americans United’s request.
Americans United president Charmaine Yoest has publicly stated that her organization is using the ongoing economic crisis to press for defunding Planned Parenthood. An attorney for Americans United told me at a crisis pregnancy center conference back in October that the group sees defunding Planned Parenthood as a way to end abortion around the country
Since anti-abortion rights groups were unable to get Congress to defund Planned Parenthood during the last budget negotiations, the group is hoping to continue its work forcing clinics to lose their public funding.
Johnson, Americans United says, “will be an integral part of our work to expose and de-fund the abortion industry.”
The organization writes:
A well-known spokeswoman and media commentator for life today, Abby Johnson spent eight years working with Planned Parenthood before a gruesome ultra-sound guided abortion in 2009 drove home the point to her that abortion ends a life. She described her change of heart, and subsequent complete change of career, in her nationally best-selling book, Unplanned, that chronicles her experiences within Planned Parenthood as well as her dramatic exit.
“Americans United for Life’s impeccable reputation for legal and public policy achievement makes joining their efforts the logical next step,” said Ms. Johnson. “I know first-hand how abortion is pushed and funded in the abortion industry. And I believe that the sound policy that AUL advances creates pro-life victories.”
Ms. Johnson’s knowledge of the inside workings of Planned Parenthood have made her an ideal choice as a witness before various legislative bodies about the kinds of policies, both funding and operational, that drive the abortion industry. AUL’s Vice President of Government Affairs Dan McConchie said he has witnessed how Ms. Johnson’s presence “has changed the national debate.”
Women’s health advocates and members of Congress have been condemning the investigation into Planned Parenthood since it was announced. Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz accused Republican colleagues “of launching a ‘burdensome and politically motivated, big-government investigation’ of Planned Parenthood.”