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Coalition for Life volunteer sidewalk counselors, from left, Brad Baumgarten, MaryAnn Seelye, Ellen Prize and Denise Brockman prayed as they changed shifts outside Planned Parenthood in St. Louis July 30.
Coalition for Life volunteer sidewalk counselors, from left, Brad Baumgarten, MaryAnn Seelye, Ellen Prize and Denise Brockman prayed as they changed shifts outside Planned Parenthood in St. Louis July 30.
Photo Credit: Lisa Johnston

The power to change hearts

Sidewalk volunteers, And Then There Were None helped abortion industry worker find a new life

A former employee of Planned Parenthood in St. Louis said it was the persistent kindness of sidewalk “protesters” that was a contributing factor in deciding to leave the abortion industry.

The former employee, who requested to be referred to by the initials D.B., worked at the clinic on Forest Park Avenue for about four months in 2015. The job was administrative as an assistant to the head of human resources.

“About a week after I started, I noticed a humming noise. I could hear it through the floor,” D.B. said. “The gal that was training me, I asked her what that noise was, and she said it was the machine from downstairs.” It was a suction machine used in abortions. “The procedure rooms were right below.”

D.B. noticed the increased number of “protesters” on the sidewalk on abortion procedure days. “It all kind of dawned on me. There were some really nice young ladies on the sidewalk. You have your ‘crazies,’ and then you have the prayerful people that are there for compassionate reasons. And they just started talking to me. I was instructed to never talk to them.

“I tried to reconcile in my head — this is not a bad job,” D.B. said. “There are worse things I could be doing. I was scared about paying my bills. You can justify working there by a lot of creative excuses. For me it was going through the motions and getting a paycheck.”

A group of young ladies on the sidewalk told her about And Then There Were None, a nonprofit organization that helps workers leave the abortion industry. About three months into the job, D.B. was feeling the stress. “I wasn’t sleeping. I was eating my feelings away. I was a nervous wreck. A doctor (at the clinic) had been followed to his house. I was paranoid. Then I was questioning, ‘Is this really worth it to me? Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?’” One day, when sorting through the incoming mail at the clinic, D.B. saw a postcard for And Then There Were None. It was sitting on top of the stack of mail.

D.B. looked at the website, abortionworker.com, about half a dozen times before eventually sending an email requesting help. D.B. was connected to a client advocate and began the process of finding new employment.

And Then There Were None

Since 2012, And Then There Were None has helped 525 workers leave the abortion industry. Former abortion clinic manager turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson founded the non-profit organization to provide assistance to former abortion workers with finances, legal issues and employment and offer emotional and spiritual support, including retreats.

Workers come from a variety of roles, from doctors and nurses to technicians, receptionists, janitorial, security and billing, said Meagan Weber, client and development manager.

“We’ve helped employees who wake up one day and realize their role is to facilitate abortions, and they can’t be a part of it any longer,” Weber said.

Once a worker approaches the organization, employment is verified, and then he or she is assigned to a client advocate. On average, a person receives about a month’s worth of financial assistance as a bridge between leaving their job and finding new employment. Weber said that most clients find new employment within about two weeks. Other longer-term services include legal assistance, if needed, as well as an online support group and healing retreats.

“We’re looking to build lifelong relationships,” Weber said. “In the online support group, they call themselves a tribe. They really have built a community together.”

‘Keep doing what you’re doing’

D.B. encouraged those on the sidewalk to “keep doing what you’re doing because you have the power to change hearts. Because they changed mine.” D.B. added that the people on the sidewalk who were aggressive in their approach did not make a good impression upon her. “(They) need to reign themselves in and examine their behavior. Christ didn’t move mountains by making scenes.” Yes, He drew lines, D.B. said, but “He did it with tenderness, with teaching and by example.”

D.B. shared gratitude for the help of And Then There Were None. “They save lives. Not just babies, but the workers who feel stuck.”

After D.B. saw the postcard from the organization in the mail that day, “I said, ‘yeah, that’s my sign. I’ve got to go.’ It was my kick in the butt from God. The message (And Then There Were None) spoke to me — I was never judged or pushed to do things I wasn’t comfortable with. All I felt was encouraged and loved.”


>> And Then There Were None

Founded by former Planned Parenthood employee turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson, And Then There Were None provides, financial and legal help, as well as emotional and spiritual support, to workers who leave the abortion industry. To learn more or to donate, visit www.abortionworker.com.

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