He was right. “Unplanned” delivers a powerful message in a compelling way. It’s controversial, particularly in the liberal/progressive coastal cities because of its pro-life, anti-abortion message. For backers of abortion at any stage in a pregnancy, I challenge them to watch the film and maintain that position.
It tells the story of Abby Johnson, the youngest clinic director in the history of Planned Parenthood. It was produced without the cooperation or consultation with Planned Parenthood as is noted at the end of the movie.
The storyline traces Johnson’s life from her days as a Texas A&M coed where she started to volunteer at the Bryan, TX clinic to her joining the staff as a counselor (the person talking with the pregnant women and “closing the deal” according to the film) and then being promoted to clinic director.
The film documents Johnson’s two abortions as well as her commitment to her job despite the opposition of her parents and her husband. Her career and life turned around, after eight years at Planned Parenthood, when she witnessed an ultra-sound guided abortion and saw the baby struggling in the womb as the suction tube went into the uterus. It’s graphic, with the bloody aftermath, and the reason the Motion Picture Association of America gave it an R rating.
The producers rightly pushed back, citing the violence, language and sex scenes that the Motion Picture Association allows for a PG rating. The irony is that a 16-year-old young woman would need her parents’ permission to see the movie, but could obtain an abortion at 16 without the permission of her parents.
Advertising for the movie was rejected by many outlets including the Christian radio network KLOVE (Fox accepted it) and major music studios rejected requests to use sound tracks. Despite the obstacles and the expected low attendance in Hollywood and New York, first weekend box office nearly tripled expectations.
As one who has worked over the years with pro-life pregnancy centers, I was struck by how effectively the movie portrayed the scared, young women seeking abortions. The panic they felt came across in the movie. So did the attitudes of the Planned Parenthood providers—the organization won’t be sending the movie to its donors.
The movie cites some of those leading donors: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Warren Buffett and George Soros—all multi-million dollar donations. I checked it out and there’s numerous articles reporting their donations.
The movie starts with Johnson’s emotional breakdown after witnessing the abortion and then flashes back to take views through nine-plus years of her life until she resigns and leaves Planned Parenthood. She now runs an organization helping women working in the abortion industry leave and find new jobs.
It was produced and directed by Cory Solomon and Chuck Konzelman (directors of “God isn’t Dead”) and distributed by Pure Flix, which also has distributed other faith-based movies.
For me, scenes from the movie continue to be in my mind—it was that powerful and memorable.