Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains: An ex-employee’s perspective

Avatar

Three years ago I was the happiest guy on earth. I had a great job paying over $100K a year, an amazing wife, and a beautiful step son. I learned that it only takes a few things to bring everything crashing down.

It started in May of 2012, when the President of my company notified us that the business was closing for good effective the 1st of June. I had two weeks to find another job.

I immediately started combing the job sites, contacting friends, and doing an emergency search for jobs. The problem was that our company wasn’t the only one hurting. After a few weeks, and zero interviews, I was getting worried. My wife and I played poker nearly every day, quite successfully, and used the winnings to keep us afloat. This went on for over six months.

Then I saw an advertisement for a Director of Security position. It was an absolute perfect fit for my skill set. Lots of security reviews of facilities, personnel protection of company leaders, alarm systems, and best of all, training of employees. It was as if the position description had been written utilizing my resume’ as the format. The only problem? It was with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

As a former military member, and lifelong conservative, that did present a slight problem. However I justified my interest with the simple thought that my job wasn’t going to be doing abortions. My job was to protect the employees. I mean, everyone deserves a safe work place, right? And what they were doing was 100% legal, right?

So I applied, and as anticipated, they thought I was as perfect of a fit as I did. I even explained to them that although I didn’t personally like abortion, I certainly felt that people should not be in danger simply because they did.

And that’s where the happiness ended. Over the next year, I suffered from extreme depression, my wife and amazing step son moved out, I drank way too much, my weight ballooned, and overall my life went straight down the toilet. I spent day in and day out watching young women come in to the facilities with a hesitant smile, and leave in the afternoon in tears.

Protestors stood outside our facilities screaming some of the vilest things I have ever heard, all in the name of their Lord. Workers for the company would sit inside and make some of the worst jokes you’ve ever heard about abortions, birth control, and everything else associated with the organization and the women who were their patients.

I started out like every other employee, parroting the “we’re a women’s health organization”. Turns out, Planned Parenthood is an abortion facility. Sure, they do many other things, on a small level, but abortion is focus #1, every day, all day.

So I decided I had to get out. Now, please don’t get me wrong. I needed to get away from the protestors every bit as much as I needed to get away from the organization. We had some of the worst protestors in the country at the Denver main office. They screamed at my 5 year old step son. They followed my wife when she was driving.

Sure, I met some protestors that were wonderful. The Catholics are fantastic. A nun pulled me aside one time and simply prayed for me. And I’m not Catholic. But it was a wonderful prayer, and I thought she actually cared about me.

So there I was at a crossroads. I didn’t like where I worked, and I didn’t like those that protested where I work. I had talked to friends, neighbors, and someone suggested I contact Abby Johnson from And Then There Were None; an organization devoted to helping people quit Planned Parenthood and find jobs elsewhere.

Abby hooked me up with a corporate headhunter that rewrote my resume, and helped me with job interview skills. The headhunter even logged into my LinkedIn page and turned it into something usable. Abby’s organization provide me money to tide me and my family over during the transition and asked for nothing in return. She simply was there with a “what can I do for you” attitude.

Now, I have to tell you, in my time working for Planned Parenthood, I had done lots of investigations on Abby Johnson. We were on her mailing lists. We knew where she was, and ensured we had someone in her audience whenever she visited Colorado. I was told her book (unPlanned) was a lie, and she was evil. Turns out, everything I’d been told about her was a lie. The leadership of Planned Parenthood didn’t dislike her….they were afraid of her….because she was willing to tell the truth about things the people at Planned Parenthood hide. And believe me, they do hide things.

So, with the help of all these people, who have still asked for nothing more from me after all they did for me, I left. I’ve never looked back. I don’t miss it for a second.

If I have any advice upon leaving, I would give it to the following:

1. If you work for Planned Parenthood, all I ask is that you truly pay attention to what you’re being told, and try and see the lies as well as the truth.

2. If you’re a protestor outside the facilities, and you yell, scream, blow horns, and blare from megaphones….you are doing NOTHING to further the cause of eliminating abortion. Your actions hurt the cause. Most every pregnant woman who turns away when you get in their face returns when you’re not there. They go to the back gate where we would sneak them in. They come in before you get there. But you don’t stop them.

3. If you’re one of the peaceful protesters, keep doing the good work. Abortion will not be ended with hatred and screaming. The only thing that ever changes someone’s heart is love.

4. Read Abby’s book, Unplanned. I was told not to read it, because it was full of false information. What I found was that I never saw one word in the book that didn’t turn out to be 100% true. And from a personal perspective, Abby and her organization saved my life. She saved my marriage. She saved my future.

This letter was originally sent to Abby Johnson. For more information on her work, visit www.abbyjohnson.org. For help leaving the abortion industry, visit www.abortionworker.com.

COMING UP: Historical clarity and today’s Catholic contentions

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

One of the curiosities of the 21st-century Catholic debate is that many Catholic traditionalists (especially integralists) and a high percentage of Catholic progressives make the same mistake in analyzing the cause of today’s contentions within the Church — or to vary the old fallacy taught in Logic 101, they think in terms of post Concilium ergo propter Concilium [everything that’s happened after the Council has happened because of the Council]. And inside that fallacy is a common misreading of modern Catholic history. The traditionalists insist that everything was fine before the Council (which many of them therefore regard as a terrible mistake); the progressives agree that the pre-Vatican II Church was a stable institution but deplore that stability as rigidity and desiccation.

But that’s not the way things were pre-Vatican II, as I explain at some length and with some engaging stories in my new book, The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform (Basic Books). And no one knew the truth about pre-Vatican II Catholicism better than the man who was elected pope during the Council and guided Vatican II through its last three sessions, St. Paul VI.

On January 25, 1959, Pope John XXIII, thought to be an elderly placeholder, stunned both the Church and the world by announcing his intention to summon the 21st ecumenical council. That night, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini (who would be known as Paul VI four and a half years later), called an old friend. An experienced churchman who had long served Pius XII as chief of staff, Montini saw storm clouds on the horizon: “This holy old boy,” he said of John XXIII, “doesn’t know what a hornet’s nest he’s stirring up.”

That shrewd observation turned out to be spot on –– and not simply because of the Council, but because of the bees and hornets that had been buzzing around the ecclesiastical nest for well over 100 years.

Contrary to both traditionalist and progressive misconceptions, Catholicism was not a placid institution, free of controversy and contention, prior to Vatican II. As I show in The Irony of Modern Catholic History, there was considerable intellectual ferment in the Church during the mid-19th century, involving great figures like the recently-canonized John Henry Newman, the German bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler (grandfather of modern Catholic social thought), and the Italian polymath Antonio Rosmini (praised by John Paul II in the 1999 encyclical, Faith and Reason, and beatified under Benedict XVI). That ferment accelerated during the 25 year pontificate of Leo XIII, who launched what I dub the “Leonine Revolution,” challenging the Church to engage the modern world with distinctively Catholic tools in order to convert the modern world and lay a firmer foundation for its aspirations.

American Catholicism, heavily focused on institution-building, was largely unaware of the sharp-edged controversies (and ecclesiastical elbow-throwing) that followed Leo XIII’s death in 1903. Those controversies, plus the civilization-shattering experience of two world wars in Europe, plus a rapid secularization process in Old Europe that began in the 19th century, set the stage for John XXIII’s epic opening address to Vatican II. There, the Pope explained what he envisioned Vatican II doing: gathering up the energies let loose by the Leonine Revolution and focusing them through the prism of an ecumenical council, which he hoped would be a Pentecostal experience energizing the Church with new evangelical zeal.

John XXIII understood that the Gospel proposal could only be made by speaking to the modern world in a vocabulary the modern world could hear. Finding the appropriate grammar and vocabulary for contemporary evangelization didn’t mean emptying Catholicism of its content or challenge, however. As the Pope insisted, the perennial truths of the faith were to be expressed with the “same meaning” and the “same judgment.” Vatican II, in other words, was to foster the development of doctrine, not the deconstruction of doctrine. And the point of that doctrinal development was to equip the Church for mission and evangelization, for the modern world would be converted by truth, not ambiguity or confusion.

Over the past six and a half years, it’s become abundantly clear that more than a few Catholics, some quite prominently placed, still don’t get this history. Nor do the more vociferous elements in the Catholic blogosphere. Which is why I hope The Irony of Modern Catholic History helps facilitate a more thoughtful debate on the Catholic present and future, through a better understanding of the Catholic past.