Unplanned, rated R
Unplanned is the true story of Abby Johnson, the one-time director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas. It is the first film from Pure Flix to be given an “R” rating from the MPAA, which will undoubtedly limit the audience for the film. The film was written and directed by Chuck Konzelman (God’s Not Dead, God’s Not Dead 2) and Cary Solomon (God’s Not Dead, God’s Not Dead 2) and is based on Abby Johnson’s book Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line. Konzelman and Solomon have been best friends since growing up next door to one another in New Jersey. Both are Roman Catholic, and live in Los Angeles. The film had a budget of approximately $6 million ($1 million of which was donated by Michael Lindell, inventor of My Pillow and CEO of My Pillow Inc.).Abby Johnson, played by Ashley Bratcher (Princess Cut) attends a volunteer fair during her junior year at Texas A&M University. As a result, she becomes a volunteer at the Bryan, Texas Planned Parenthood clinic. Her first assignment is to escort women coming to the clinic for abortions from the parking lot into the building and past the 40 Days for Life protestors, including Shawn, played by Jared Lotz, and Marilisa, played by Emma Elle Roberts. When she graduates, Abby is hired as a counselor at the clinic. Abby is mentored by Cheryl, the clinic director, played by Robia Scott. Abby enjoys helping women, and we see her discussing birth control but primarily abortion with those who come to the clinic. Eventually, she becomes Planned Parenthood’s youngest director and is awarded as their “Employee of the Year”.
Abby was raised in a pro-life Christian family, but has had two abortions herself. She is divorced from her first husband, and now is married to a Christian man. Her parents Mike, played by Robert Thomason, and mother Kathleen, played by Robin DeMarco, and her husband Doug, played by Brooks Ryan aren’t happy that she works at Planned Parenthood because they perform abortions. Abby tries to convince them, and the pro-life protestors she walks past each day, that they are wrong about the organization. She loves her job. But one day a doctor (both of the actors playing the doctor and nurse formerly performed and assisted with abortions), asks her to assist with an abortion by holding the ultrasound wand, and Abby sees on the sonogram what actually takes place during an abortion. Everything then changes for Abby.
Content concerns include gruesome details about what actually happens during an abortion, and two brief bloody scenes, which earned the film its “R” rating. There is also some minor adult language. Themes include abortion, guilt, the sanctity of life, and that there is grace, hope and forgiveness for those who have had an abortion.
This film comes at an important time in the abortion debate. Perhaps due to the new conservative balance on the Supreme Court, over the past several months, pro-abortion advocates have pushed for radical new measures in several states – including the one I’ve lived my entire life – that would literally make abortion legal literally up to the time of birth. In addition, some legislation, like that recently proposed in Virginia, is pushing for infanticide in instances in which a botched abortion results in a child actually being born. Looking to take action? If you live in Illinois, you can file a witness slip regarding the Reproductive Health Act (RHA). Before a bill is heard in committee, the chairperson will read who has submitted witness slips and whether they support or oppose the bill. This helps inform legislators as to where Illinoisans and organizations stand, allowing them to make informed decisions when voting. Witness slips are a great and relatively quick way to make your voice heard in state government. http://www.senatorsteans.com/constituent-resources/how-to-submit-a-witness-slip
Those on either side of this issue, including those who identify as Christians, are most likely firmly entrenched in their particular worldview on this issue, and will not be swayed by this film. Albert Mohler recently said in his message “The Sanctity of Life” at the 2019 Ligonier National Conference that abortion is liberal protestant’s only remaining sacrament. The film takes the pro-life position, and thus would be most effective for those who find themselves undecided on this important issue.
Unplanned is based on the true story of Abby Johnson, at one time the director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas. During her eight years with Planned Parenthood, Abby was involved in approximately 22,000 abortions, and counseled countless women on their reproductive choices. Ashley Bratcher is excellent in the lead role as Johnson. Due to some gruesome images, this film would be recommended for older teens and adults. We would love to know your thoughts on whether you think Abby’s husband Doug should have offered stronger leadership in their relationship.
Here is the film’s official site.