Shock as Republican speaker says 'I know what abortion smells like'

Joanna Taylor
Wednesday 26 August 2020 10:15
news

Anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson said "did you know abortion [has] a smell?" during her speech at the Republican National Convention.

Johnson claims to have worked at Planned Parenthood for eight years before converting to a "pro-life philosophy", although her version of events has been disputed numerous times.

At the RNC, she said:

For me, abortion is real. I know what it sounds like, I know what it smells like. Did you know abortion even had a smell?

Elsewhere in her five minute speech, Johnson alleged that Planned Parenthood pushed her to double the number of abortions she was performing, and that the majority of their clinics are "strategically located in minority neighbourhoods".

In fact, around 60 per cent of clinics are located in majority white neighbourhoods according to the Guttmacher Institute, and Planned Parenthood deny asking Johnson to increase the number of abortions she worked on.

Johnson's emotional – and at times incredibly graphic – appeal was criticised for spreading "anti-choice disinformation".

Claims she made during the speech, like that she witnessed an "unborn baby, fighting back" against an abortion, were also made in the 2019 film Unplanned about her (alleged) life story.

Her descriptions of how fetuses move have been disputed by a doctor of reproductive health.

Johnson's credibility was also called into question by some of her other outlandish remarks.

Johnson said earlier this year that it would be "smart" for police to racially profile her Black adopted son.

In a YouTube video, she said:

Statistically, I look at our prison population and I see that there is a disproportionately high number of African-American males in our prison population for crimes, particularly for violent crimes. 

So statistically, when a police officer sees a brown man like my Jude walking down the road – as opposed to my white nerdy kids, my white nerdy men walking down the road – because of the statistics that he knows in his head, that these police officers know in their head, they're going to know that statistically my brown son is more likely to commit a violent offence over my white sons.

So the fact that in his head, he would be more careful around my brown son that my white son, that doesn't actually make me angry. That makes that police officer smart, because of statistics. 

While Black men are incarcerated in disproportionate numbers in the United States, this is because they are more likely to be stopped, searched and arrested for crimes like drug possession than people of other races, not because they are any more likely to commit violence crimes.

Johnson made her remarks in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests.

She also opposes women having their own right to vote.

Johnson wrote on Twitter:

In a Godly household, the husband would get the final say.

Right.

Johnson's presence at the RNC tells us something about the traditionally conservative image Trump and his administration are trying to project.

The Republican chair of Louisiana, Ross Little Jr, also railed against abortion, claiming that Joe Biden is "hiding in the dark, waiting to take the lives of our unborn babies".

Given that Trump has already begun to dismantle reproductive services by revoking federal funding from some, and speaking out against others like Planned Parenthood, this is very worrying indeed.

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