Today, on this sad 40th aniversary of Roe v. Wade, one of the rays of hope are all those who have left Planned Parenthood and others in the abortion industry. Not only have they left their old positions in promoting and performing abortions, but have often become highly active members of the pro-life community.
There are many more. The Catholic World Report tells the story of just 3, beginning with Annette Lopez. Like many, she wanted to help women and youth. Like far too many people (inside and outside the industry), Annette did not initially understand what Planned Parenthood was really all about. Here is her story:
Annette Lopez worked as a program assistant for Planned Parenthood in the Los Angeles area for five years. Her job was to visit high schools and teach teens about “responsible choices” relating to sex.
She first learned about Planned Parenthood while in college. A nominal Catholic, her views were rather vague on the abortion issue, and she was assured it was a small part of Planned Parenthood’s business.
Lopez initially liked her job. “I wanted to help youth,” she explained. “I had a niece who got pregnant at a very young age, and I wanted to help them avoid making her mistake.”
As Lopez was seldom at clinics she rarely saw pro-life demonstrators, and what little she knew about them was negative. Her perspective on pro-lifers came from such media depictions as the 1996 HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk, in which pro-life demonstrators are angry and violent. (Cher portrays the caring and kind abortionist, Dr. Beth Thompson, in the movie, who is harassed relentlessly by pro-lifers. At the close of the movie, she has just performed an abortion on a relieved Anne Heche, and is gunned down by a pro-lifer who bursts into the procedure room.)
In her final year at Planned Parenthood Lopez began dating her future husband, a pro-life Catholic who gently queried her about her work. “He’d ask, ‘Don’t they do abortions there? Is that right? You’re a loving person and you love your family, why are you there, where they hurt babies?’” she recalled. “He got me thinking.”
In her final six months of employment, she began working in a supporting role at a clinic. Her new manager suggested she train to become a medical assistant, as budget cuts could eliminate her education position. He also suggested she watch an abortion. Lopez recalled, “He said, “That’s what we do. Every staff member should know what it is.” I knew I didn’t want to work there anymore.”
Lopez also was involved in “counseling” women with unplanned pregnancies. She’d tell them that they had three options: keep their babies, put them up for adoption, or have abortions. If the patient expressed any interest in abortion, she was instructed to schedule one. She said, “We wouldn’t really tell them about alternative options. We were trying to push them towards having abortions.”
Lopez attended a pro-life conference, and one of the speakers was Abby Johnson, who told the story of how she left employment at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. As she sat listening, Lopez prayed for guidance. She said, “I knew I had to go talk with her. I spoke with her after the talk, and she gave me the strength I needed.”
The next day she quit.
She began volunteering for Los Angeles Pregnancy Services (LAPS), a pro-life clinic in a poor Hispanic neighborhood which offers women alternatives to abortion. The pro-life facility is surrounded by abortion clinics that advertise their services in the neighborhood. “It was an amazing experience,” Lopez said of her time at LAPS. “I’m so happy I got involved. I discovered that pro-life people are compassionate and loving, and not the way Planned Parenthood portrays them.”
Lopez married, and has a child with another on the way. Wanting to better understand fertility cycles, she and her husband took Natural Family Planning (NFP) classes. Realizing that NFP could benefit LAPS clients, she and her husband are now training to become NFP instructors.
Astrid Bennett Gutierrez, director of LAPS, was grateful for Lopez’s time at LAPS: “She is awesome. She saved many babies.”
The article goes on to detail the similar story of Sue Thayer and well as that of Dr. Anthony Levatino. Read about them and more in: Abortion Insiders Turn Their Backs on the Industry.