Above, Cortes at the 2020 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
July 2020 – “You do realize we do abortions here, right?” asked the interviewer. “Are you ok with that?”
Nallely Cortes had just finished her first year working as a medical assistant at a health clinic in Santa Maria, California. She had worked hard serving low-income clients in her community and was looking forward to her annual review. But she received a pay increase of only 16 cents per hour. Devastated, she began to look elsewhere.
“I was 21 years old with four kids, and I needed to make more money,” she told AFA Journal. “So, I got on the Internet and started looking.”
She applied and interviewed at a Planned Parenthood (PP) facility for a receptionist position. While she had little understanding concerning abortion and had chosen life with each of her own pregnancies, she believed she was exercising compassion by supporting others who chose a different path.
When she was offered the job, it came with free uniforms, additional compensation for being bilingual, and opportunities to advance. She felt appreciated and ready to embark on a new and exciting career helping women. She quickly trained in other clerical roles, and then she began cross training upstairs where the abortions took place.
“I remember the first day I worked in the POC (products of conception) lab,” she explained. “We saw all these baby pieces. We rinsed them off and threw them in a biohazard bag. And then we put them in the freezer.
“I was totally ignoring what we were doing. I was focused on doing a good job, because I thought they really cared for me. They were giving me all these opportunities, and I just saw that they wanted me to grow. They sent me to get training, and I got my phlebotomy certificate in just one day. That was unbelievable! It usually takes four to six months.”
Cortes trained in a new role every two weeks. Soon, she was working in the procedure room where her job was to remove the jar containing the dismembered baby after each abortion, and then take it to the POC lab to be processed.
Over and over, she stood there in her complimentary pink scrubs, the deafening sound of the vacuum aspirator pierced the air, and she waited for the jar to be filled with bloody remains.
“The women were crying while the abortions were going on,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do, so I would just hold their hands and squeeze. The doctor would never stop and say, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Why are you crying? Do you really want to do this?’ He never spoke to them at all.
“He just went on with the abortion. He was done in five minutes. We would move her to the recovery room, clean the room, and bring in another girl.”
Cortes’s marriage had been teetering on the edge of collapse for a while. But within months of her employment at PP, something began to change in her husband.
“He started really looking into God, and finding God,” Cortes explained. “He went to a men’s retreat, and when he came home, he wanted us to focus on our family.” So, she left her job at PP, though fully intending to return after her marriage had been restored.
Her husband secured a job in L.A., over 100 miles away, where Cortes applied at another abortion clinic. She was never called for an interview, but she felt confident the training she had received at PP would make her resume appealing to any medical practice. She was wrong. It took two years to find another job in the medical field.
It took several more years for Cortes to experience conviction for her part in taking over 700 lives. It began when she signed up for a women’s retreat, thinking it would be a nice getaway. She had no idea God had a plan, and she would soon come face to face with her past.
“Until then, I didn’t really think about it,” she explained. “But at that retreat, they said, ‘Every woman who has had an abortion, come up and name your baby.’ And I realized if women who have had an abortion feel this guilty, then what about me? I’ve assisted in many! And then they played a video showing how an abortion procedure was done. And I knew it was true – it was how it was done. I left there feeling so guilty.”
She confessed to a Catholic priest, but the unbearable burden only grew heavier … and heavier.
In late 2018, she took her kids to a youth conference. She was taken aback when a clip was played from Unplanned, a movie chronicling Abby Johnson’s experiences while working as a PP clinic director, then leaving the industry, receiving forgiveness, becoming a pro-life activist, and helping others escape from work in the abortion industry.
“I lost it!” she exclaimed. “I started crying, and I knew this was what I was looking for!” When she got home that night, she went to abortionworker.com. It’s the website of And Then There Were None (ATTWN), the ministry Johnson founded.
“I was going crazy,” she continued. “I sent an email to all the contacts on the site, and I sent Abby like five emails asking for help. And when I found information about healing retreats being offered at no cost, I couldn’t believe it.”
She was assigned a client manager who warmly welcomed her and listened to her story without judgment. And within the next few months, she attended two healing retreats. She came to terms with who she had been, what she had done, and who she had become in Christ’s forgiveness. The burden finally lifted.
Today, she spends countless hours handwriting notes to others working in the abortion industry and reaching out to them in various other ways.
She knows what it is like to be trapped both physically and spiritually. And it was kindness, in the light of truth, that led her out of darkness. Though she realizes not everyone will accept help, she hopes the seeds will one day bear fruit.
“While I was at one of the retreats, I wrote a letter to the baby I most remembered while working at Planned Parenthood,” she said. “I named him Miguel. He was 16 weeks old, and we were only supposed to do abortions through 12 weeks.
“I didn’t do anything to speak up for him then, but I promised him I would never be silent again. I’ll never stop fighting!”
Abortion workers can escape
“Our vision statement for And Then There Were None is: ‘No abortion clinic workers. No abortion clinics. No abortions. It starts with the workers.’ … We want to love these workers out of the clinics … onto a path of healing … into a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
— Abby Johnson, CEO and founder
ATTWN accomplishes the vision through a comprehensive array of services: financial, legal, employment, emotional, and spiritual.
attwn.org or abortionworker.com |888.570.5501
Ext. 1: clinic worker hotline
Ext. 2: supporters
Ext. 3: media inquiries
Ext. 4: sidewalk/outreach advocacy
Unplanned movie streaming and other resources are at Unplannedfilm.com.