The new series "Beautiful Lives" hosted by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director whose story was told in the film "Unplanned," showcases her conversations with other former abortion industry workers.
Johnson's five-part series is now streaming on PureFlix and reveals details about Planned Parenthood's monthly abortion quotas and the pressure workers face to coerce women into having abortions. In the first episode, Johnson shares her own account. In episode two, she sits down with director at Duke University school of learning, Annette Lancaster, who's also a former Planned Parenthood abortion clinic director.
Lancaster said Planned Parenthood sought her out for one of the larger clinics and she was initially "excited" to take the job. Up until that point, she had grown up feeling indifferent about abortion and said her spiritual life was shaky.
"I was in between churches and in between faiths when I started," Lancaster told Johnson during the episode. "I was part of a Pentecostal church, so there were a lot of opinions back and forth that way. I kept it to myself about what I did because I knew a lot of members of the church were against abortion. But to me, I was looking at it as a managerial job; it was healthcare. I was going to be helping people, helping women, so I thought it was a great opportunity."
She revealed the clinic trained workers to tell women abortion was "the best thing" for them and that they'd have a sense of "relief" after the procedure. Lancaster said women weren't given much time to think about it, so they often complied. She then described seeing women cry during the procedure.
"Of course, the procedures themselves were bothersome to me. [And] just the way that women were being coerced, the way that women were being guided into having abortion procedures, even when they came in and they weren't really sure which way they wanted to go," she said. "If they wanted to have the procedure, or if they just wanted to come in for counseling, it seemed that all of the counseling that we gave them led them and guided them to having the procedure. That became very bothersome to me.
"A lot of those women afterward, I didn't see a sense of relief. I didn't see that they felt better," Lancaster added. "Most of the time, what they wrote in the journals that we kept in the recovery room was that they were upset and that they did regret what they had done."
"Eventually, I started realizing that we were just lying to these women." And they were falsifying paperwork while "teaching employees to lie," Lancaster continued.
Although she was hired for an administrative job, the director said she often found herself being called into the procedure room. She even witnessed what took place in the "products of conception" room. Staff who worked in the POC room were "highly esteemed" because they were tough enough to help piece baby parts back together and ensure that all of the body parts were removed during the abortion.
"To actually see a baby and see those woman crying" made a lasting impact on Lancaster.
"The work that I did at Planned Parenthood was, the only word I can think of is evil," Lancaster told Johnson when asked how she would describe her time at the clinic.
"It impacted my personal life greatly. My humor became dark. We told a lot of dark jokes. A lot of the codes and passwords were things like 'baby.' I started drinking really heavily, just to be able to make it through the day. My husband noticed a big change in my personality. He noticed a change in my humor, and my children began to notice it also," Lancaster explained.
It came to the point where I would just drink wine and go to work. When I came home, I would drink wine and I would sleep. I didn't interact with the family; I was no longer engaged with the family. Planned Parenthood became my life."
While abortion rates have fallen to an all-time low, Planned Parenthood's annual abortion numbers continue to rise. Johnson asked Lancaster why she thought that was the case. Lancaster said that despite being repeatedly told that Planned Parenthood did not have a quota to meet on abortions, she was continually reprimanded because her "numbers were falling."
Abortion is the "big moneymaker for Planned Parenthood," Lancaster declared. In her experience, all the employees depended on alcohol to get through.
Lancaster worked for Planned Parenthood for nine months before leaving. She said it was one of her patient's questions that rocked her. A young lady asked her: "Will God forgive me for this?" and Lancaster said she did what she was trained to do, which was to respond with a question.
After leaving Planned Parenthood, she recalled having nightmares and struggling with suicidal thoughts. The clinic also threatened her and claimed that she had stolen from the organization.
The episode concluded with Lancaster wanting women to know that having an abortion is something she's seen others "constantly think about and regret" for the rest of their lives.
Along with series, Johnson also has a resource website for women.