Book Review: Unplanned

1/23/2012 Last week I checked out this book from the library: Unplanned by Abby Johnson.

At the time I wasn't even thinking about January 22 being Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. It was just a book I'd heard about and wanted to read. I'm glad I did.

I've been pro-life my entire life. I chose the topic of abortion for my 7th grade persuasive speech. I remember debating the topic with my oldest brother at our dining room table in my teen years. I've never understood why anyone would choose abortion over parenting or adoption.

In many ways my views haven't changed. I'm a mom. Believe me, I know it's hard to be a parent and there are moments I wonder why being a full-time, at-home parent is the path I've chosen when so many other "careers" seem like they'd be easier. But I've also always had a heart children. I simply cannot fathom wanting to kill my baby.

I enjoyed this book because it was a true story. It's Abby Johnson's first-hand account of working at Planned Parenthood for 8 years and then how God changed her heart. The book is easy to read and easy to follow.

What I liked most, though, was how Abby presented "the other side." Because she had been pro-choice, she was able to explain the mindset that she had when she first became a volunteer and then later an employee at Planned Parenthood. I don't think I've ever considered the thought-process and emotions of those on the other side of this issue. I've just stereotyped all pro-choicers together as un-caring baby-killers who have no conscience. This book helped me to better understand that many pro-choicers truly believe they are doing what is best for women. They truly want to help women and see the termination of a pregnancy as the best way to help that woman who is in crisis.

Of course, there is the rub. I agree with author Abby Johnson who contends that what is ultimately best for women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy is not to just get "rid of the problem" with a temporary fix (abortion). This doesn't do anything to help the women out of the lifestyle they find themselves in (whether that is prostitution, casual sex, etc). While abortion may be a quick fix, it is not a lasting solution to problems. Also, as a Christian, there is a huge component missing from the "help" Planned Parenthood can give - the care for the entire woman, including her emotions and her spirit.

While the abortion debate rages on, I found this book to be insightful. I appreciated the perspective. While my conviction of the value of human life (from conception to natural death) didn't change, I found myself moved with compassion for those who respectfully disagree. I am challenged to pray. I am once again challenged to love people - to look less at the differences that divide us and more at what we have in common.

So no matter where you land on the abortion debate, this book can give you an insightful and thought-provoking look into the mindset of those on the other side of the fence.


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