“Their story is not ours to share.”

The Walls are Talking (Ignatius Press, 2016)
The Walls are Talking (Ignatius Press, 2016)

Abby Johnson of And Then There Were None leads a team that has assisted hundreds of people who have chosen to leave the abortion industry. In The Walls Are Talking, Abby and co-worker Kristin Detrow related some of their stories.

Today, Abby took to Facebook to say why she hasn’t shared even more stories. Her answer begins and ends with the same assertion: those stories belong to the people who have lived them, and the stories are theirs to share, not hers.

“We truly value the courageous men and women who step forward and make this decision. We respect them. We value their privacy. And we allow them to take time to heal.”

The Facebook post is worth reading in full. Think in particular of the legal threats that can keep a worker from speaking out. “Ever since I left PP, they make sure that all of their workers sign several confidentiality statements. If they are in breech [sic] of that contract, then they will be sued.”

My one and only quibble with The Walls are Talking was the careful guarding of each former worker’s identity. Co-writer Detrow later said to me in an email, “I can assure you that I interviewed each and every one and have personally met many of them….I pray that the anonymity is not a stumbling block for readers.” Abby Johnson’s post today reminds me why anonymity isn’t just appropriate but essential, until such time as a worker chooses to speak out.