While we are watching the Presidential debates this month, the Republican National Convention seems like old news. However, the recent Supreme Court nomination has brought one RNC speaker’s mission back to the forefront of our national conscience.
The Advocate reached out to Abby Johnson, after she was invited to speak at the 2020 RNC about the anti-abortion platform. Johnson lives in Round Rock and has been celebrated for her memoir and the follow-on movie, “Unplanned”, about her time as a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic. Her conversion to a pro-life stance in 2009 made headlines and began her mission and ministry to promote justice for the unborn.
THE CONSERVATIVE MESSAGE
Johnson says conservative values are not just part of her story; they are what she does. She says, “I feel like the most critical issue of our time is the issue of life. If we do not have the fundamental right to life, every other issue on the ballot doesn’t really matter. Sadly, in our country, we do not; our unborn brothers and sisters are not protected under the law.”
Her message, particularly in this election year, has a great focus on voting for life first when we go to the polls.
Beyond that, she encourages people of faith and conviction to go a step further and get involved with local pregnancy centers. “Something most conservatives and Christians do not know; we have three abortion facilities in the Austin area and they are killing babies, electively, up to the fifth month. These babies have no voice.”
Conscience vs. conviction
Although the abortion debate is rife with emotional and controversial words, Johnson speaks very matter-of-factly about the topic. “People worry so much about the big elections, but the bottom line is that abortion is not happening in the White House, or in the halls of Congress. They are happening in our communities. Wherever that injustice is happening, we need to be there to show that it is morally objectionable. We pray outside those facilities to show that we stand against it, but also stand for and be there to help women who need hope.”
Her response to many who question her mission is that people should vote their convictions rather than their conscience. “When you vote, consider whether you want babies killed or not; whether you want the LGBTQ agenda shouted at you, or taught in our schools. My conscience does not want me to offend my neighbor, but my conviction asks if my neighbor is wrong. I am so ready for people to be more concerned about offending the heart of God. Our country, and our children, are suffering from that distinction and I will not be standing before my neighbor at the end of my life.”
Johnson is pleased with President Trump’s recent Supreme Court nominee. “This is why we voted for him, and what we were hoping for in the pro-life movement. It is my hope that we will finally see the overturn of Roe v. Wade and bring abortion back to the states, where it belongs.”
She also believes the vitriol aimed at Judge Amy Barrett is misplaced. “The negative reaction to her nomination by feminist groups shows the hypocrisy of what they claim their mission to be. Every woman in the nation should be cheering and excited about this mother of seven, university professor, and successful judge. Activists vilify her because she is pro-life, which shows mainstream feminism is not about equal rights or the pay gap; for too many, it is singularly about the right of a woman to kill an innocent child in her womb. If not for that, all those people would be applauding and marching for her.”
ONCE IN A LIFETIME
Johnson says she got a call from the President’s head speech writer while on a road trip, and was informed she was on the short list to speak at the RNC. “Honestly, I thought it was nice to be considered, but I never thought it would happen.” Johnson said it did not escape her how unusual it would be to have a former director of Planned Parenthood on the Republican dais, particularly since this was the first election cycle in memory that the Democrat convention did not.
A week went by and she was in Walmart, just “doing mundane things” and she got a call from the campaign and the official request to speak. “I started slapping my husband on the arm while trying to speak calmly. I told him of course I would love to come, and he told me I would speak for five minutes. Immediately, I felt the burden to make the most profoundly impactful pro-life speech to get some justice for the unborn lost to us over the last 50 years.”
She asked, and it was agreed, that her speech could be somewhat graphic. She says the writing came easily, and, after the speech was approved, she departed for Washington, DC to record it. “I hardly ever use teleprompters and there was a point in my speech where I wrote about the smell of abortion. The only thing I said off-script was a spontaneous, and, I believe, Spirit-led question, ‘Did you know that abortion has a smell?’ That turned out to be the most talked about and controversial comment. It was what the media chose to focus on afterward, and it wasn’t even supposed to be there.”
Despite the controversy, she says she and her family were prepared for whatever backlash might come as a result. “We knew there would be attacks and spiritual warfare, but we prayed and were completely prepared. Overall, it was received well and I would do it all over again.”
Visit CentralTexasCoalition.com to participate in the current “40 Days for Life” campaign or get involved with the pro-life mission in a local community