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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Brian Fraga | author
Jul 01, 2020
Filed under 5 Minutes With

Conversion to pro-life and the Catholic faith was providentially ‘unplanned’


Most Catholic audiences are familiar with Abby Johnson, the pro-life speaker and author who resigned as director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in 2009 after she witnessed an ultrasound of a 13-week-old baby being aborted.

What people may not know about Johnson, a feisty Texan known for speaking her mind, is that it’s not always easy for her to be “out front” on an issue that generates great controversy in secular society.

“There are times I’ve thought, ‘I don’t want to talk about this right now,’ and I’ve shied away from being bold,” said Johnson, who will be a featured speaker at the 2020 Legatus Summit West, to be held Sept. 17-19 in Colorado Springs, CO.

Johnson, 39, a wife and mother of eight children, will speak about being a strong public witness for Christ and the right to life. Her autobiography about her pro-life conversion, Unplanned, was adapted into a movie last year that grossed $21 million worldwide. She spoke recently with

She spoke recently with Legatus magazine.

What will you speak about at the Legatus Summit West?

 What I really want to talk about is living out our faith in a very public way. The people who are going to be at this conference are leaders in their fields, in their businesses. I think sometimes we worry, when we’re in places of leadership, about being too vocal about our beliefs or our faith, about what people are going to think and who we’re going to offend. I believe we’re in times when we must be very bold about our faith, our beliefs, and about Christ.

 What was it like to see your story onscreen?

I felt very vulnerable. It was definitely difficult to watch the first few times, seeing the worst version of who you were played out on a screen and realizing that millions of people across the world are going to see this as well. I just had to keep remembering why I did this. It wasn’t to make Abby Johnson a household name. It was really to make God’s mercy and his redemption known in every household.

What feedback did you get from people?

I started to hear all these stories of how people’s lives were changed, babies who were saved, people who went from “pro-choice” to pro-life. That’s really what it was all about: showing people the goodness of God, and that anybody can change their mind. Conversion is real.

How well did actress Ashley Bratcher portray you?

She did a good job. Unfortunately, she was cast at the very last minute. We didn’t have any time to spend together before she actually went to the set. She’s not Southern, so maybe there was a little bit of feistiness missing. My friends who watched the film said, “Oh, she was way too nice.” I wish we could have had some time together, but given the circumstances and the quick turnaround of casting, I think she did a great job.

What led you and your husband to enter the Catholic Church in 2012?

When I left Planned Parenthood, I left all of my friends and support network behind. All my new friends happened to be Catholic. My husband and I were raised with a covert antiCatholicism. We were against it, but our friends kept bothering us. So we went to Mass one Sunday, and we walked out thinking, “Huh. There’s something there we want to know more about.” As soon as we told our friends that, we found ourselves in RCIA, and all these questions Doug and I had our whole lives started being answered. Little by little, that’s where we found the Truth.


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