In a recent article in The Criterion, Natalie Hoefer interviewed a nurse who worked at Planned Parenthood but left the abortion business with the help of clinic-worker-turned-activist Abby Johnson and local pro-lifers. The nurse, Marianne Anderson, bravely decided to come forward with her story because, as she says, she wanted to “right a wrong.” She credits the sidewalk counselors who helped her leave with giving her the courage to speak out about her experiences.
I felt so much love and acceptance in that room [when I first spoke publicly, at Right to Life of Indianapolis’ “Celebrate Life” dinner]. I wandered around there looking at how happy the people were, how much they’re really trying to help other people. I thought, “I want to be a part of that.” I thought I could start by telling my story, then maybe later I could be a sidewalk counselor.
A sidewalk counselor is a pro-life person who approaches women entering abortion clinics and offers them alternatives. Sometimes sidewalk counselors hand pamphlets to the women as they enter the abortion clinic. These pamphlets usually contain information about abortion’s risks and the development of the unborn baby. Often, abortion clinics hire escorts in order to ensure that women do not speak to sidewalk counselors as they are herded into the clinic. Sidewalk counselors also reach out to the abortion clinic workers, and have been instrumental in helping some clinic workers quit. Kristin Breedlove, a former clinic administrator, attributes her conversion to sidewalk counselors who persistently prayed for her. Similarly, Abby Johnson went to the sidewalk counselors outside her facility for help and support when she had her conversion.
Anderson was hired by the clinic in 2010. Her job was to provide patients with “conscious sedation,” which consisted of providing intravenous sedatives and anesthesia to women who were about to have their abortions.
She reveals that the Planned Parenthood clinic injured a number of women while she worked there:
Several times, there were difficulties with abortions while I worked there, where they had to call the hospital to come pick the woman up. … A lot of the cases we had were from excessive bleeding or reactions to the sedation.
One was particularly serious:
One girl almost bled out. She was passing clots, [and] her blood pressure was dropping.
The clinic workers were instructed not to mention the word “abortion” when they called for an ambulance.
When we had to call 911 for an ambulance, we were told never to say the word “abortion” because they don’t want that broadcast. They knew that the calls were recorded, and could be made public.
They were trying to hide their abortion complications from pro-lifers in this manner, because pro-lifers often make use of 911 calls in order to document cases of malpractice in the abortion industry. For example, you can hear several 911 calls from Planned Parenthood clinics on the Operation Rescue website.
It is not unusual for clinics to try to hide abortion injuries and deaths from pro-lifers. One abortion clinic worker was documented on tape telling an ambulance driver to come to the back of the clinic without lights and sirens in order to avoid attracting attention.
In another case, clinic workers were instructed to transport injured women to the hospital in their cars instead of calling for an ambulance. Obviously, this seriously endangered women’s lives. Carol Everett, former administrator of four clinics and owner of two, described doing this in her testimony on clinicquotes:
And he [the abortionist] went in one time, and he pulled out placenta, and he went in the second time and he went through the back of her uterus and pulled her bowel out through her vagina. We put her in the car because we didn’t want an ambulance in front of the abortion clinic and we took her to the hospital.
So abortion clinics attempting to cover-up complications is nothing new.
Anderson summed up her former workplace as follows:
It was a money-grubbing, evil, very sad, sad place to work.
Planned Parenthood claims that abortions are only three percent of what they do, but Anderson describes how clinic workers were given quotas and encouraged to sell as many abortions as they could:
We would get yelled at if we didn’t answer the phone by the third ring. They would tell us we’d be fired [if we didn’t] because they needed the money.
They would remind us in our weekly staff meeting that we need to tell everyone [who called to schedule an appointment] to avoid “those people” [the sidewalk counselors] because we need the money. We were to tell them, “Don’t make eye contact with them, and don’t stop in the driveway. If you make eye contact with them or if you stop and roll down your window, they’re going to try their darnedest to talk you out of it.”
You have to have so many [abortions] a month to stay open. In our meetings they’d tell us, “If abortions are down, you could get sent home early and not get as many hours.”
Anderson would try to give women good counseling, but she got in trouble for taking too much time:
I was always getting in trouble for talking too long to the girls, asking if they were sure they wanted to do this.
They also performed late-term ultrasounds just to collect the cash even when they knew the girl was too late to abort:
They would allow girls to have ultrasounds that were obviously way too far along [the legal limit for having an abortion in Indiana is 13 weeks and six days]. They said, “If they want to be seen, you just put them through, no problem,” just taking advantage [of them] to make money.
Asked which experiences stick with her, Anderson mentions several patients in particular. One was a young girl who was being coerced and deceived into an abortion by her mother:
One young girl came in with her mom. She was about 16. Her mom had made the appointment. That’s not supposed to be how it works. It’s supposed to only be the patient who makes the appointment. I checked her in, and she thought she was there for a prenatal checkup. The mom was pushing it. She blindsided her own daughter.
It is sad that a mother would attempt to deceive her own daughter into killing her grandchild, but it is not very unusual for parents to pressure and even force their children to have abortions. In one case, in Florida, a teenage girl was driven to the clinic by her mother, who brought a gun in order to threaten her into going through with the abortion.
Anderson also talked about a possible case of sex trafficking:
This guy brought in a Korean girl. I had no doubt in my mind this girl was a sex slave. This guy would not leave her side. They could barely communicate. He wanted to make all the arrangements.
During the ultrasound, she told one of the nurses that there were lots of girls in the house, and that the man hits them. She never came back for the abortion. I always wondered what happened to her. One of my co-workers said, “You’re better off to just let it go.”
Perhaps wanting to avoid controversy or unnecessary trouble, the Planned Parenthood clinic let this woman go back to her horrible situation. Planned Parenthood has been caught on tape by Live Action being willing to cover up sex trafficking and even giving instructions to a man they thought was a pimp on how to run his sex business.
Anderson also commented on the insensitivity of one of the clinic’s abortionists:
These girls would start crying on the table, and Dr. [Michael] King [the abortion doctor for whom Anderson worked] would say, “Now you chose to be here. Sit still. I don’t have time for this.”
The clinic was performing upwards of 30 abortions a day. It is not surprising that women were being rushed through their abortions.
Marianne also described how the abortionist went through the remains of suction abortions to make sure that every body part was accounted for. This is a common thing that abortionists and clinic workers have to do – if an arm or leg is left behind in the woman’s womb, or any other part of the baby or placenta, the woman can developed a severe infection. So the baby must be reconstructed after each abortion to verify that all the parts are there. Former abortionist Doctor Beverly McMillan describes doing this in another article at Live Action.
One doctor, when he was in the POC [products of conception] room, would talk to the aborted baby while looking for all the parts. ‘Come on, little arm, I know you’re here! Now you stop hiding from me!’ It just made me sick to my stomach.
Anderson was so unhappy working at the clinic that she tried to reach out to a sidewalk counselor for help. Not surprisingly, however, the clinic workers were being watched carefully to prevent them from communicating with the pro-lifers:
One day I was coming in, and I’d written out a note to one of the [sidewalk counselors] that said, “I’ve worked here for a little over two years. I’m actively looking for something else. Please pray for me. I don’t want to be here.” All I could do was hand it to her. She tried to give me a pamphlet, but I told her no, I had to go because there are cameras that watch the drive.
Anderson eventually ordered Unplanned by former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson. Unplanned describes how Abby left the abortion business after seeing an unborn baby torn apart on the ultrasound screen and realizing, all at once, the horror of what she had been involved in. Anderson was inspired to contact Johnson, who put her in touch with a local contact in the pro-life movement, who began helping her look for another job.
Anderson said she never felt judged by the pro-lifers:
I never for one second felt judged or put down by anybody. I felt so much criticism from inside that building versus the love I felt [from those] on the outside.
She found a new job.
I was fired in July 2012. I was mad because I wanted to quit! I was planning on quitting just two days later.
As I was being fired, my phone was vibrating in my pocket. It was Community North [Hospital] calling about the job, to say it was looking good. They called again the next Monday and said the job was mine if I wanted it! I love my job now. I work with wonderful, Christian people. I just love it.
You can read more about Marianne Anderson’s conversion and her activities after leaving the clinic at The Criterion here.
Correction note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Planned Parenthood was performing abortions after the legal limit. An accurate characterization of Natalie Hoefer’s statement is that Planned Parenthood was performing ultrasounds on women who has no chance of aborting because they were obviously past the legal limit.