9 Pro-Life Warriors Who Used to be Pro-Abortion

There is no pro-life warrior like a convert to fight with passion for the unborn and for those still blinded by pro-abortion lies.

Pro-life activist Abby Johnson once worked as a Planned Parenthood director in Texas.
Pro-life activist Abby Johnson once worked as a Planned Parenthood director in Texas. (photo: HazteOir.org, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Pro-abortion advocates’ conversions have power.  There is no pro-life warrior like a convert to fight with passion for the unborn and for those still blinded by pro-abortion lies.

Below are some of the top pro-life converts in our country.

1. Dr. Bernard Nathanson died of cancer at age 84 in 2011. He was a founding member of NARAL (originally known as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws).

After abortion became legal in 1973, Nathanson operated the largest abortion business in the Western world.  He was responsible for the deaths of 75,000 unborn babies. In his 1996 autobiography, The Hand of God: A Journey From Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind, he admitted that NARAL had fabricated  statistics and polls to the public and media to win support.

Nathanson had helped procure an illegal abortion for a girlfriend and later performed one himself on a second girlfriend. After aborting his own child, the only emotion he felt was pride at a job well done.

With the advent of ultrasound technology in the ’70s, Nathanson saw the humanity of innocent unborn babies fighting for life in their mothers’ wombs.  He left the industry in 1979.  Working in the pro-life movement, Nathanson came to believe that such passion could only come from a higher call.  It led to his conversion to Catholicism. Cardinal John O’Connor baptized Nathanson in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in December of 1996.

Near the end of his life, Nathanson gave Terry Beatly, co-founder of the Hosea Initiative, his personal message to Americans, which she recounts in her new book: What If We’ve Been Wrong? Keeping My Promise to America’s “Abortion King.”

2. Norma McCorvey was used as the Roe in the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that legalized abortion.  She was 22, pregnant for the third time (all three babies were placed for adoption), a high-school dropout and homeless.  McCorvey was actually recruited to challenge Texas statutes on abortion, although she did not even fully understand what abortion was.

Although she never personally had an abortion, McCorvey witnessed the deaths of hundreds of babies at abortion providers where she worked.  It started to bother her by the late ’90s, especially after the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue moved into the office next door.  The national director befriended her.  McCorvey later converted to Catholicism.  She is now a popular pro-life speaker. Her journey is chronicled in her book Won by Love.

3. Abby Johnson once worked as a Planned Parenthood director in Texas, believing she was helping women.  After eight years, she began to realize that killing babies was not what pregnant women needed.  Despite feeling conflicted, Johnson stayed on until Sept. 26, 2009, when she was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. Watching a 13-week baby frantically struggle for life, she was horrified and walked out into the arms of her former adversaries — pro-lifers.

Today, Johnson shares her story, mixing her natural wit with profound regret and the firm belief that others — even Planned Parenthood President Cecil Richards —will one day join our fight for life.  Johnson tells her story in unPlanned! and founded And Then There Were None to help abortion workers leave the industry.

4. Dorothy Day was an American journalist, social-activist convert who lived from 1897 to 1990.  After her conversion to Catholicism, she co-founded the Catholic Worker movement in 1933, living the philosophy of holy poverty and practicing works of mercy among the poor for 50 years.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York officially opened Day’s cause for canonization on April 19. Her legacy continues in some 185 Catholic Worker communities around the world.

Yet, Day’s life was once very different. In 1919, living a Bohemian lifestyle, she was 21, single and pregnant. Her boyfriend insisted on an abortion, but then left her. Day suffered terrible regret and later pleaded with others not to do the same. In her autobiography The Eleventh Virgin, Day explained, “I wanted the baby but I wanted Lionel more. So I had the abortion and I lost them both.”  

After living with another man, she became a single mother when he too left, but she thanked God for her precious daughter. A priest helped her overcome her guilt over the abortion. “If you believe in the mission of Jesus Christ, then you’re bound to try to let go of your past, in the sense that you are entitled to His forgiveness. To keep regretting what was is to deny God’s grace.”

5. Sue Ellen Browder revealed how she helped the sexual revolution hijack the women’s movement in her book Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.  She became a part of the immorality that she promoted and had an abortion during a low period in her marriage.

Following a conversion to Catholicism and her husband’s death from cancer, Browder took five years to write her book.  It is an exposé on the propaganda and deceit of the women’s movement, including the tactic of making up stories to create the impression that women were all jumping into bed with men. In the whirl of a glamorous job in New York City, she sold the Cosmo lifestyle of casual sex to millions of single working women.

Not until she wrote this book did she tell her 45-year-old son about her abortion.  Now, she wants to set the record straight and tell the truth.  

6. Dr. Alveda C. King is the pastoral associate for African-American outreach with Priests for Life. She is also a best-selling author and speaker and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  King has six living children but had two abortions. Her doctor did the first abortion without her consent in 1973 at a three-month check-up after her first baby.  King asked her doctor if she was pregnant, but without explaining, he went ahead and gave her a D & C.   

Planned Parenthood did the second one in 1973. King was soon divorced and planned a third abortion. Her father and grandfather convinced her not to abort. It was at that time that she came to realize how precious life was.  “Abortion is accomplishing the goals of which racism only once dreamed,” she says.  “Abortionists are destroying humanity at large and the black community in particular.”

7. When Father Stephen Imbarrato was a young man in 1974, his girlfriend aborted their twin babies.  It wasn’t until years later as a seminarian that he learned she was carrying twins.

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign was founded in 2003 to give post-abortive women a public platform to talk about the pain from abortion. As a seminarian, Father Imbarrato was given permission from the seminary to share his testimony in 2004 at the March for Life in Washington.  It was the first time a post-abortive dad joined the campaign to publicly share regret over his lost fatherhood.

8. Star Parker is a best-selling author, nationally acclaimed speaker and founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE). She was once entrenched in welfare fraud, sex and drugs and had multiple abortions. She is now a leading advocate for the unborn and for faith-based success among the poor.

Parker shares the message across the country that no lives matter if life is not sacred. She has won numerous awards, including the 2016 CPAC Ronald Reagan Award for her work in the grassroots conservatism.  Her best-selling books include: Uncle Sam’s Plantation.

9. Carol Everett, a former abortion facility owner, is featured in the documentary Blood Money.  She entered the abortion industry after she aborted her third child in 1973, under pressure from her husband and doctor. Her life fell apart; she had an affair, started to drink and left her husband.  Everett took a job with a medical supply company, which led her into the abortion industry. She realized how lucrative it was. so she opened her own facilities.

Everett ran four abortion businesses in Texas from 1977 to 1983, where an estimated 35,000 unborn children were killed before her dramatic conversion.  She reveals the inside story of the industry, including that some deaths from abortion are never pursued out of embarrassment and that giving girls low-level birth-control pills was a way to increase business when they returned pregnant.

Everett credits the prayers of others with her conversion and encourages pro-lifers to keep praying: “Every time pro-life activists are standing in front of the clinic, you are holding a light on inside that clinic.”