Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson with Coalition for Life Director Shawn Carney (photo: Coalition for Life)

A year ago Abby Johnson was a branch director for Planned Parenthood, the biggest player in America’s abortion industry. Tonight, she spoke at a news conference announcing the launch of the 2010 season for 40 Days for Life, a prayer- and fasting-based pro-life protest in front of abortion businesses around the world.

“I am here because they were there,” she told a webcast news conference about the pro-life advocates who have held prayer services outside of the Planned Parenthood operation in Bryan, Texas, where she worked.

WND has reported how Johnson left her job to become a pro-life activist after being summoned from her duties as Planned Parenthood manager to help with a procedure.

The corporation later tried to obtain a court injunction against Johnson but was rebuffed by a judge. Johnson said the attempt to block her from disclosing confidential patient information wasn’t needed since she wasn’t going to do that anyway.

Johnson has seen a multitude of the 40 Days for Life campaigns in front of her business.

In announcing the kickoff to the 2010 efforts from Jackson, Miss., Shawn Carney, who originally directed a 40 Days for Life campaign in Bryan, said, “It is our prayer [for the group in Jackson, Miss.] next fall, you will have your clinic director speaking at your kickoff event.”

The announcements came during a webcast from Jackson, which is just one of the 167 communities in the United States, Canada, Australia and Northern Ireland participating in the campaign starting Wednesday.

“I wish every city with an abortion facility will one day be able to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign,” said David Bereit, national director of 40 Days for Life.

The campaign of 40 Days for Life consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion, 40 days of constant, peaceful vigil outside abortion centers and Planned Parenthood offices and 40 days of active pro-life community outreach.

The list of participating communities is posted online.

So far, five coordinated national 40 Days for Life campaigns have been conducted, twice each year, beginning in the fall of 2007. More than 300,000 people in some 280 cities have already taken part. Five abortion centers have closed following 40 Days for Life prayer vigils. Some 27 abortion industry employees have quit their jobs, including Johnson.

40 Days For Life will oppose abortion industry by using praye

“And most incredibly,” Bereit said, “we are aware of 2,168 children – and their mothers – who were spared from the tragedy of abortion. And those are just the ones we know about.”

Carney said in the Bible, God repeatedly used 40 days to change minds, hearts and lives.

“This is an appropriate response to the greatest evil that has ever come to our land,” he said.

Johnson said the Bryan, Texas, Planned Parenthood clinic performed surgical abortions every other Saturday, but it began expanding access to abortion to increase earnings.

She said she was summoned to help for one procedure, and her experience watching an abortion left her mind racing and her heart beating fast.

“For whatever reason I was called in to help. My job was to hold the ultrasound probe on the abdomen,” she said. “When I looked at the screen, I saw a baby on the screen. [The mother] was about 13 weeks pregnant at the time. I saw a full side profile. I saw face to feet on the ultrasound.

“I saw the probe going into the woman’s uterus. At that moment I saw the baby moving, trying to get away from the probe,” she continued.

“I thought, ‘It’s fighting for its life.’ I thought, ‘It’s life. It’s alive.’

“I dropped the ultrasound probe. I scrambled and put [the probe] back in place. So many things were going through my mind. I was thinking about my daughter, who’s three,” she said.

“I was just thinking, ‘What am I doing here? What am I doing here? There was life in here and now there’s not.'”

Bereit said,

“The truth about abortion that Abby witnessed on an ultrasound machine at Planned Parenthood underscores the fact that abortion is not health care, and it should not be funded in any way by the government.”

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