Abortion group drops suit against ex-worker

BRYAN, Texas — Planned Parenthood has dropped a lawsuit against a former clinic director who quit her job after viewing an abortion by means of an ultrasound machine.

The abortion clinic filed suit against Abby Johnson, 29, after she resigned her job of eight years in October and began participating in pro-life prayer vigils with the Coalition for Life.

In its suit, Planned Parenthood alleged that Johnson broke a confidentiality agreement and an employment contract, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented her.

"Like so many Planned Parenthood lawsuits, this lawsuit was baseless, so we are pleased that it has been withdrawn," Steven Aden, senior legal counsel for ADF, told BP News Service.

Johnson told Fox News she had a "change of heart" after watching on a sonogram an unborn child "crumple" as he was vacuumed from the mother's womb.

"I just thought, 'I can't do this anymore,' and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought, 'That's it,'" Johnson told KBTX-TV, the CBS affiliate in Bryan, where the clinic is located. She told Fox, "I would say there was a definite conversion in my heart ... a spiritual conversion."

Johnson already had become disillusioned with her job, saying her regional supervisor had urged her in recent months to find ways to increase profits by producing more abortions, she told Fox.

"Every meeting that we had was, 'We don't have enough money, we don't have enough money—we've got to keep these abortions coming,'" Johnson said, according to Fox.

Johnson's allegations came as Planned Parenthood faces increased scrutiny over their practices, made legal by the U.S. Supreme Court 37 years ago with its Roe v. Wade ruling. Churches across the country will mark the anniversary with Sanctity of Life Sunday, set for Jan. 24.

Even as the lawsuit against Johnson made national headlines, a Southern California coed continued her campaign against the nation's largest abortion provider by releasing undercover video footage of clinic workers in Wisconsin misleading a woman about the procedure in an effort to pressure her to abort her pregnancy. The video, produced by Lila Rose, the 21-year-old founder and president of Live Action, prompted Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman to ask the medical society to investigate the matter and challenged state legislators to "make sure Planned Parenthood doesn't mislead young girls like this in the future."

In the video, both the abortion doctor and counselor repeatedly insist to a reportedly 10-week-pregnant woman that the unborn child "is not a baby" and offer several contradicting definitions of "embryo" and "fetus." The counselor claims that the fetus's heart does not start beating until "about 17 or 18 weeks." Later the abortion doctor, Dr. Prohaska, tells the woman, "you don't want to wait" to get an abortion and warns her, "women die having babies."

Wisconsin law requires women undergoing abortions to receive medically accurate information. In addition, the American Medical Association's Code of Ethics, stresses that "the physician's obligation is to present the medical facts accurately to the patient."

After the video's release, Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said the videos were "edited" and that the abortion doctor provided "honest, medically accurate information."

Rose, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, said a copy of the entire, unedited video was sent to Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider for review. 

"Planned Parenthood poses as a mainstream health provider but their actions reflect just the opposite: they hide the scientific facts of fetal development so they can sell more abortions to more women," Rose said.

Live Action has made similar undercover videos across the country usually capturing clinic workers coaching young women on how to have abortions while protecting their adult boyfriends from statutory rape charges.

Planned Parenthood affiliates performed more than 305,000 abortions in 2007, the latest year for which statistics are available.


BP News Service contributed to this report.

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