Book reviews

Ramona Treviño’s Redeemed by Grace: A Catholic Woman’s Journey to Planned Parenthood and Back (Ignatius Press, 2015)

An honest biography of a Latina who overcame dependence on the abortion business Planned Parenthood.

No doubt the abortion business Planned Parenthood would want to ban Ramona Treviño’s biography for two reasons.  Treviño shows not only how she got sucked into the company’s schemes to profit from artificial birth control and abortion, but also how she was able to free herself from financial dependency on its immoral practices.

How a nominally Catholic woman got entangled with an abortion company is easy to understand when her personal life is known.  Treviño was pregnant at sixteen.  She skipped so much school because her first husband was jealous that she eventually dropped out.  Her adulterous husband led to a divorce and then a one-night stand.  Later in the biography, Treviño discloses that she had attempted suicide.

With such negative life events, one can understand, while not approve, how she fell into making money from Planned Parenthood.  Treviño constantly notes her dependence on the abortion company for economic security, which began when a friend called her to talk “about an opening within her new company, Planned Parenthood” (42).  As a manager of a clinic, Treviño had doubts about her ability to avoid the abortion part of the business, “but I had a job to do, bills to pay” (48).  She had to “do what’s required to get the paycheck” (67).  As the years progressed, Treviño rationalized her work for the abortion company, saying that “Planned Parenthood is keeping our family fed” (81) and that she was “just nervous about money” (90), even though she admitted, “I know I needed to cast aside fear and not to let my attachment to money and other provisions stop me from doing what was right” (90).

Eventually, of course, Treviño left the abortion company and realized only when she studied Church teachings and lay Catholic authors that abortion is a product of a contraceptive culture.  She reiterates what everyone in the abortion business Planned Parenthood knows, that artificial birth control “is the gateway to abortion” (2).  A turning point for her occurred when she spoke before a group of female juvenile offenders, ostensibly about birth control.  “I realized,” she writes, “that birth control was not the solution to their problems at all” (61).  The Epilogue recapitulates the contraception and abortion connection (135-40).

A final aspect of Treviño’s biography worth mentioning is the positive influence of protesters outside her Planned Parenthood facility.  Treviño’s appreciation of pro-life protesters is sincere: “Only something as big as life and death could be a strong enough reason for people to disrupt their busy routines to go somewhere just to pray” (80).

While not as well-known a biography as Abby Johnson’s Unplanned, Treviño’s account of her departure from the abortion company Planned Parenthood should inspire many employees to abandon that abortion business.  At the least, her praise for abortion clinic protesters will encourage those pro-life activists to continue their fine work.

Leave a Reply