I recently went to see the movie Unplanned—a movie about the real life story of Abby Johnson who once worked as a clinic director for Planned Parenthood and became an advocate for life. After viewing the film, I would like to share my thoughts about the film as a whole—providing some simple critiques and compliments.
What is Unplanned?
The movie Unplanned falls into the “faith based” category, which is a fairly new category that has developed through the release of several films in recent history that were funded and developed with the idea of providing a clean film that has a positive message and one that points people to Christ.
From the website of Unplanned, we find the following description:
All Abby Johnson ever wanted to do was help women. As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, she was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women about their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose even led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in. Until the day she saw something that changed everything, leading Abby Johnson to join her former enemies at 40 Days For Life, and become one of the most ardent pro-life speakers in America.
The Quality of the Film
The movies that typically fall into the faith based category find it difficult to compete with other films with much larger budgets, sometimes three or four times the budget of the faith based film. As a result, the quality of the production, the actors, and the overall feel of the film seems to take away from the goal and message. As a result, many supporters go and watch the film because of the message, but most of the people can see the difference in the film.
With Unplanned, there was a certain aspect of that that came out with a few of the scenes, but overall, the acting and production of the film was high quality. Ashley Bratcher, who plays the role of Abby Johnson, did a great job taking the lead in the film. If she fails in her role, the film will not succeed. I felt that she did a great job in her acting out the parts and scenes of the storyline. It seemed much more natural than some of the other faith based films from the past.
Before getting to the compliments, allow me to provide some honest critiques of the film. As a Christian who opposes abortion and stands for the sanctity of human life, I enjoyed the film, but I also felt that the clear message of the gospel could have been shared. There were opportunities in the film from church scenes to conversations through the fence at the clinic that would have been a great opportunity to insert the message of the gospel in a natural way, but that never happened. The faith talk was centered upon God, but it never went deeper into describing who God is and how a person can be reconciled to God.
There were a couple of scenes that had pro-life advocates and open-air preachers at the clinic seeking to stop women from entering the clinic. There seemed to be a hard line distinction drawn in the movie between those who used signs, had their Bibles, and were calling out to the women as opposed to those who stood and prayed quietly and only occasionally spoke up and offered help.There was one scene where a bearded man who was with the open-air evangelists spoke roughly to a young woman through the fence and I would like to know if that was something that happened or if it was merely an inserted creative addition. I think it’s unfortunate to paint open-air evangelists as fanatical.
As a preacher who supports and engages in open-air evangelism, I think this is unfortunate. By creating a hard distinction by placing a person in a Grim Reaper costume in with the crowd of open-air evangelists (no matter if this happened or not)—anyone who stands with an open Bible and calls out with the gospel of Jesus is painted as a fanatic. Once again, my critique here is that we must pray, but we must do more than pray. We must speak up, call out, proclaim the truth, and plead with women to stop. Sometimes the people standing at the edge of the sidewalk at an abortion clinic are literally standing between life and death for a real baby—and at that moment it’s time to speak up.
The film did a great job of revealing the R-rating of abortion. While initially the film producers were not pleased with the R-rating because it would limit how many people would be able to see the film (specifically the younger generation who typically spend time at the local mall and movie theater), at the end of the day we must not forget that abortion is rated R. That is precisely the message that Ashley Bratcher delivered in an interview on FOX.
The graphic nature of the abortion process was visibly seen in two different types of abortion (D&C and medically induced RU-486). Both types of abortion techniques were depicted with bloody scenes and actors who delivered the intensity of pain and even the regret of such procedures. In the scene where Abby Johnson is asked to assist in the abortion, the baby is clearly seen on the sonogram monitor moving and then the baby is suddenly sucked from the womb as the doctor cuts the baby and finishes the procedure through the D&C suction technique.
The deep regret and pain of Abby Johnson is vividly displayed on the screen as she talks openly about her own abortions and her regret for working for Planned Parenthood. This is helpful for those who may have walked a similar path. It was also helpful to see the Planned Parenthood organization clearly identified with this abortion process since they often spin their services as healthcare and prevention services. It was likewise important to see the deception and lack of care for women by Planned Parenthood through this movie which is clearly detailed in Abby Johnson’s personal story.
One of the most powerful scenes in the movie is near the end when Abby Johnson is standing on the other side of the fence and is engaged in helping a young lady who showed up at the clinic confused and looking for help. As she talked to the young lady and pointed her to the reality that there are other options, but Planned Parenthood will not deliver those options because they are interested in helping through abortion. One of the best messages that Unplanned drives home is that there are other options.
I recommend the movie Unplanned. We live in a culture of death that celebrates the murder of approximately one million babies every year in the United States. In only 37 states in the US is parental consent required for abortion in the case of minors. Planned Parenthood is government funded and is responsible for the murder of many babies—often targeting the young, poor, and minorities in the process. Just this week, Stacey Abrams called the new “heartbeat bill” in Georgia “abominable” and “evil”—suggesting that it’s bad for humanity, morality, and business in Georgia. When you see babies being butchered to pieces and sucked from the womb of a woman in the name of reproductive freedom and women’s rights—it’s abominable and evil to suggest that saving lives through the “heartbeat bill” is bad for humanity and morality.
We live in a culture with good technology, great imaging machines, and we have all of the information and science to prove that the baby in the womb of a mother is a living human being. To allow for ancient practices of murder to continue in our modern age is unthinkable and quite honestly unacceptable. It’s time that we work diligently and engage in the fight to see abortion come to an end in the United States of America.
Psalm 139:13–16 — For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (ESV)