When former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson walked out of the abortion clinic where she made a career, she didn’t just walk away from something, but she walked to a ministry of healing and hope for those caught in the crisis of abortion. This week Johnson announced a pro-life partnership with an organization in the same area where she walked out of the abortion industry.
Abby Johnson, Founder of And Then There Were None and former Planned Parenthood Director, and the Guiding Star Project, a pro-woman organization committed to giving women Life-Affirming health care, are set to announce that the Brazos Valley Guiding Star Affiliate will begin serving the women of the Brazos Valley in early 2014.
I left Planned Parenthood because I realized that I wasn’t helping women there. I wasn’t empowering them. I became pro-life but I have never stopped being pro-woman. The Guiding Star Project, with their vision for community based Guiding Star centers, has finally given me the opportunity to do what I have wanted all along – to help and serve women, while respecting their dignity and the dignity of the unborn as well[.]
Creating a true culture of life, not just lip service to end abortion, is what matters to Johnson and Guiding Star. Johnson, who is the president of the newly formed Board of Directors for the Brazos Valley Guiding Star Center, told Live Action News:
With abortion clinics closing at a rapid rate around the country, it is up to prolifers to provide real help and alternatives to those who find themselves in crisis pregnancies. We need to get rid of the stereotype that prolifers are simply “pro-birth” or “pro-baby.” We are here for the mothers, their families and their babies.
The very clinic in which Johnson worked was one of the first to close last year when Planned Parenthood made cuts, but abortion clinic closings do not automatically reduce the number of women in crisis. Johnson said:
Everyone knows the Planned Parenthood here in Bryan/College Station has closed, but this doesn’t mean that our work here is finished; this means our work is just beginning. Women in the Brazos Valley were concerned that without the Planned Parenthood they wouldn’t have access to women’s health care. We are here to meet their need – in a life affirming and truly “pro-woman” way.
In the same place that Johnson helped women obtain abortions, she will now help women find alternatives to abortions. Guiding Star’s plans include three phases of development that will dramatically increase options for women in the area. According to Laura Ricketts, Executive Director of the Guiding Star Project:
Phase One will see the Guiding Star Brazos Valley offering a host of Pregnancy Care and Resource services and will focus on the renovating and readying of the Guiding Star Brazos Valley Maternity Home. Phase Two will include the opening of the Maternity Home. Phase Three will be an expansion to coordinate services beyond pregnancy support to include lactation consultation, child care classes, fertility care and instruction, birth support and comprehensive women’s health care. Guiding Star Brazos Valley is designed to be places where women can come and have their needs met in a concrete, pro-active, empowering atmosphere. We don’t make empty promises. We offer substance; something every woman can appreciate.
The organization will have its first fundraiser on February 16, 2014 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in College Station, TX. Called “Just the Beginning,” it will serve as a launching and vision casting party to fundraise. Johnson said:
It’s going to be a party! We want to celebrate with the community of College Station. Not only is the community responsible for pressuring the Planned Parenthood to close, but now the community, through the Guiding Star Affiliate, is providing for the women of the Brazos Valley the shelter, care, and choices they deserve. It’s very exciting! We expect a large show of support and we are confident that our amazing pro-life community here will embrace this as the next step in bringing a culture of Life to the Brazos Valley.
The organization founder, Leah Jacobson, said:
The Guiding Star Project is about bringing together organizations in a community under a shared philosophy and vision to provide women with real alternatives – real health care, real support, in every stage of their child bearing years. Whether they find themselves facing an unexpected pregnancy and needing support or a home, or whether they struggle with infertility and need help, whether they need a lactation consultant or want to learn how to work with their body’s natural cycles to avoid a future pregnancy, Guiding Star is there to meet their needs in a way that affirms their feminine dignity and empowers them to live their femininity fearlessly.
In addition to Johnson, board members include Lauren Guide, Kristy LeJeune, Weslei Rice, Toni Eubanks, and Selina Lo.
To find more information on the Guiding Star Project, as well as local information for Guiding Star Brazos Valley and the launch party, please visit guidingstarbrazosvalley.com.