From Planned Parenthood to picket lines: Why women convert to ‘pro-life’
Ramona Trevino spent three years working for Planned Parenthood in Sherman, Texas, before quitting her job a few months ago to join the activists who prayed outside her center.
Trevino, a 34-year-old mother and Roman Catholic, had a change of heart regarding contraception and abortion referrals.
She’s now a spokeswoman for 40 Days for Life in Dallas and the second Planned Parenthood manager in Texas to resign in recent years to join the anti-abortion movement.
“I know that as long as abortion is legal, women are going to continue to choose that option,” she said. “Our job as Christians is not to judge that decision, but to help them heal from it.”
Trevino was inspired by Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood center in Bryan who told her story of leaving in a memoir, Unplanned. Johnson has become a nationally recognized face in the anti-abortion movement since swapping sides in 2009.
“I identified with her, and I felt her desire to help women. That’s why we both started working at Planned Parenthood in the first place,” said Trevino, whose facility did not perform abortions, but provided contraceptives and referred some patients to a surgical center for abortion procedures.
Update: Johnson was a director for the Bryan center, and Trevino worked as a manager; neither was doctor or medical professional, though Johnson was asked to assist in an abortion procedure once, which triggered her to quit.
As her oldest daughter entered the teenage years, Trevino grew more uncomfortable interacting with young girls who had many sexual partners. “You send them away with a birth control script, but is that really going to help the problem?”
Trevino believes that the lines between the pro-life movement they joined and the pro-choice group they left aren’t as distinct as people might assume.
Are there more people like Trevino and Johnson, working at Planned Parenthood despite reservations over the organization’s services? “Absolutely,” Trevino said.
After Johnson left the Bryan clinic in 2009, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman pointed out that abortions make up a small portion of the clinic’s services—just 3 percent nationally—and told ABC News “Obviously, many people, both patients and health care providers, experience complex thoughts and emotions about abortion. That’s why Planned Parenthood respects it as a personal, emotional issue.” (Note: I was unable to reach a spokeswoman with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast this morning.)
According to the Pew Forum, 45 percent of Catholics in the U.S. believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 40 percent of the overall population. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, evangelicals and Protestants from historically black congregations are the religious groups with the greatest opposition to abortion.