And Then There Were None is an anti-abortion organization with a twist. Instead of attempting to persuade women not to kill their unborn babies, the group tries to get people who work in abortion clinics to quit their jobs.
Abby Johnson, 37, is the CEO and founder of the Texas-based anti-abortion group, which camps outside of clinics where abortions are performed, holding up signs, passing out pamphlets and urging the workers to literally find another way to make a living.
The group offers support to those who do quit their jobs, providing temporary financial assistance, resume help, and spiritual and emotional support, including retreats. And Then There Were None does not have a formal religious affiliation, but they offer a “prayer team” which will connect former clinic workers with Christian churches and pastors, if they desire.
A mother of seven herself, Johnson made headlines after she quit her job as a Planned Parenthood clinic director in Bryan, Texas, in 2009. She says she had a change of heart about her work after viewing an abortion through an ultrasound and described the moment as a “spiritual awakening.”
According to a report from NPR earlier this month, “Planned Parenthood has disputed some of the details of Johnson’s story, and at one point filed a restraining order against her, fearing she would release confidential patient records from the clinic. Johnson responded that she never intended to disclose any private information, and a judge dismissed the case.”
Retreats are one way ex-clinic workers can deal with the trauma of helping to kill tiny babies in their former professions. “These are my sisters, who I can talk to about things I’ve seen and done in the clinic that other people would probably turn green and pass out about,” retreat participant Annette Lancaster, 40, told NPR. For several months, ending in May 2016, she managed a Planned Parenthood health center in Chapel Hill, N.C.
She says the job began to make her feel “dark and morbid,” and she was troubled by the way she says she and some of the other workers referred to fetal remains.
“I just now started being able to use the deep freezer in my home by going through [therapy], because we used to call the freezer the ‘nursery’ … And we used to think that was funny,” she says.
Lancaster and others like her say they were pressured to keep up the number of abortions performed at the clinic each month, even if patients seemed hesitant.
Former Planned Parenthood employee Myra Neyer said she took the job at the abortion clinic to support her children and provide women with health care. But before leaving the clinic, she realized that Planned Parenthood was all about making money.
She recalled how she once told a pregnant woman about her own struggles as a widow raising five children, and the woman decided not to go through with the procedure as a result. “And then the doctor was angry at me … [that] she changed her mind,” Neyer recalled. “That’s when I realized it wasn’t about choice, it was about a quota … the higher in the weeks, the more money it costs for the abortion.”