Strange, Very Strange

I’ve been wondering about the “conversion” of the former Planned Parenthood director. Not just for the reasons Amanda Marcotte outlines, though I think she’s right about all the reasons this whole thing sounds so sketchy.

But when someone threatens repeatedly to kill you and then you “mysteriously” start working with them, it’s hard for a person to not wonder whether you’re working with them out of duress.

I wonder if anyone has checked with Abby Johnson to make sure she’s not a very public hostage.

Maybe I’m being too generous, but I’d still like to know that someone has checked to make sure that she’s okay.

7 thoughts on “Strange, Very Strange

  1. People have changes of heart all the time. That being said, her story sounds kinda fishy to me too.

    But not because I think she’s a hostage. I quite suspect that she may be working undercover to get information about the group she’s very publicly running with now.

    How better to convince them that she’s sincere than to openly disavow PP, criticise them for aborting-for-profit (the big theme lately within the fanatical anti-abortion crowd–love of money being the root of all evil and whatnot) and join them in bloody shirt waving outside the PP clinic?

    Meantime she gets annointed as a quasi-celeb in the aa crowd, moves up the ranks and hopefully secures information that can be used in RICO prosecution against them.

    It’s what I would do. If I were inclined to that sort of thing.

  2. Wow, Katherine Coble, that’s the first I heard of that theory; I’ve only seen that she might have been a mole working against PP…wheels within wheels…

    Before I might’ve dismissed such a theory as I wouldn’t have thought PP could/would bring that kind of game, but maybe Dr. Tiller changed things.

    Rhetorical Question: How does that money being-the-root-of -all-evil stance square with the religious far right rewriting the Bible to promote capitalist principles, though? I’d imagine there must be a fair bit of overlap between the 2 issues/folks. The cognitive dissonance must be kinda hurty.

  3. That’s an easy one…

    The actual verse states that the LOVE OF money is the root of all evil. That frees many Christians up in their minds to acheive wealth as long as in so doing they are not putting the pursuit of that wealth above the love for God, their families, etc. (For the record…since you may not know me as do others here…) I am one of those Christians who are not big fans of abortion. I’d like to think that I’m a bit more level-headed and compassionate than some, but we’re often poor judges of ourselves.

    Right now the big trend since the recession in a lot of churches and parachurch organisations (anti-abortion fanatic groups, religiopolitical groups) is to point out that people who have money are motivated by evil and people who do evil are motivvated by money.

    There are manipulative leaders in these places who curry favour and loyalty by pressing hot buttons.. Money is a lot of people’s big hot button right now. So you’ll see it cropping up a lot more when Christians are going after someone else.

    That–the mention of PP’s “business model”–more than anything else is what makes me think that she’s either in deep of her own free(ish) will or she’s deeply working the inside.

    Franky as a person who leans anti-abortion myself (it’s complicated) I’d love nothing more than to see the fringe groups and hate groups and murder-loving groups shut down. They muddy the discussion and remove compassion entirely.

  4. I come from a fundamentalist Christian upbringing. It is my experience (such as I recall it) that people give themselves over because they are seeking to fulfill natural human desires. The problem is that the doctrines and such that come down from the pulpit also play upon their fears and anxieties. It’s a never-ending cycle of stoking your fears and anxieties and then mollifying your disquieted spirit with fellowship and ‘divinely inspired’ comfort. I don’t think it is always mercenary and malevolent, but the situation easily lends itself to abuse.

    I’m not articulating myself well this morning, sorry. My mind is already crawling with these ideas, and I’ve been having trouble sorting them into a couple of papers I’m writing. I like your emphasis on compassion, Katherine Coble. I think it’s the key to everything (including both my papers). The hard part is convincing people to step outside their reptile selves and embrace their divinity. That’s not easy for any of us to do.

  5. I guess my problem is that her conversion–for the stated reasons–doesn’t ring true. People have changes of heart all the time, but the Road to Damascus Conversion is pretty rare.

    I read somewhere last night that she was already on shaky grounds at her job and some folks were wondering if this was her way of screwing over folks she thought were going to screw her out of a job.

    I don’t know if that’s the case, obviously, but that sounds more like human nature.

    Coble’s idea about what’s going on sounds more like human nature.

    A long growing dis-ease with what she was doing sounds more like human nature.

    “I’m going to work for people who threatened to kill me because I saw an ultrasound,” doesn’t sound like human nature. Even if you become anti-abortion, the idea that you would go work with people who not a month ago were threatening to kill you, when there are so many other anti-abortion groups out there that don’t do that, just seems implausible. Impossible.

    You don’t go work with people who threatened your life and the lives of your son and husband just because you decided they held the right position in the disagreement you were having.

    That’s just not how human beings work.

    Do I believe she might have become anti-abortion? Sure. Do I believe her change of heart would have lead her into the arms of the very people who wanted her dead?


    That sounds too much like a fantasy violent anti-abortion groups have–that they’re not evil fucks threatening to kill people, but just well-meaning zealots who would not be forced to violence if only people would behave.

    I think it also goes to show that they don’t actually believe abortion is murder. Because, believe me, if I thought you murdered multiple people in your 20s, I’d be deeply uncomfortable working with you and I don’t work at a job devoted to stopping you from murdering people.

    If Ted Bundy had said, “Oh, I’m totally done murdering. Boy was that wrong! I’m going to join the FBI and try to take down other murderers,” no one would have let him into Quantico.

    So, it just goes to show that these folks are using the term “murder” to mean “something very, very bad and very, very wrong that we really, really don’t want you to do.”

    Otherwise, though they might appreciate a change of heart, they wouldn’t embrace this woman.

  6. I read something about her being on shaky ground at PP–something about her removing or copying materials without authorization–the article seemed to be implying that maybe she was working for the pro-life crowd before her public “conversion.” For how long they don’t speculate…but maybe it was a bit-by-bit conversion or maybe there was no conversion at all.

    Maybe it was a bunch of different things that made her do what she did. I keep coming back to the thought that America is increasingly addicted to fame/notoriety, with all its attendant theater. Run out and create a buzz and then get the book deal. Could that be in the mix too? 15 minutes of fame and blatant self-promotion? I hope not…

    Whatever it is, it seems off somehow.

  7. I ain’t buying it. I wish it were what Coble’s saying, but I have to suspect she was a pro-lifer all along.

    But then I grew up in Wichita.

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