I’ll never forget my friend’s description of what happened after her abortion. She said she got wheeled into a room on a gurney. And there in that room were eight to nine other women on gurneys who had also just had abortions. And all of them were crying—hard.
That’s what abortion is like. It’s not a warm, fuzzy experience like the abortion counselor who filmed her abortion and posted it online wants the public to believe. Abortion is almost always lonely. Filled with sorrow. And gut-wrenchingly tragic.
That’s the unvarnished truth presented in the new movie Unplanned. The film, which is set to release in theaters March 29, tells the story of Abby Johnson—a Planned Parenthood director who became a pro-life activist after witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion in 2009.
Johnson’s description of that experience in her book, Unplanned, is gripping. But it’s especially powerful in the movie, which I saw earlier this week at a pre-screening hosted by the Illinois Family Institute and 40 Days for Life.
In the movie, we see what Johnson saw—an ultrasound image of a baby in its mother’s womb. Then we see an ultrasound image of a suction tube enter the womb, dismember the baby, and suction it out.
It’s horrifying. This isn’t a movie you watch with a bucket of popcorn. It’s one you watch while emptying the Kleenex from your purse or wiping your eyes on your shirtsleeves. But this is a movie Americans need to see if we’re ever going to end the abortion holocaust.
“This isn’t a movie you watch with a bucket of popcorn. It’s one you watch while emptying the Kleenex from your purse or wiping your eyes on your shirtsleeves. But it’s a movie Americans need to see . . . “
In perhaps one of the most tense sequences in the movie, we see a young girl, whose uterus was perforated during her abortion, almost bleed to death as a doctor scrambles to fix his mistake. Meanwhile Johnson is told by her supervisor to fabricate a story to calm the frightened father who’s waiting in the lobby.
As Shawn Carney, the founder of 40 Days for Life who attended the pre-screening, told us, these are not fabricated stories. They’re dramatizations of real-life events. A couple of events are slightly modified. But everything in the movie is real.
Carney is part of the film, as well. He and his wife launched 40 Days for Life—a prolife group that stages 40-day prayer vigils—at the clinic where Johnson worked in Bryan/College Station, Texas. The film shows the group’s tireless and compassionate efforts to win the hearts and minds of both women getting abortions and those working in the abortion industry. And this group has been extremely successful.
Not only did Johnson quit her clinic during a 40 Days for Life vigil. The clinic where Johnson worked eventually closed, largely due to Carney and other 40 Days for Life volunteers. All this is depicted in the movie and gives it a wonderfully redemptive ending.
Something that’s not depicted, however, is the real-life story of actress Ashley Bratcher, who plays Abby Johnson in Unplanned. In an interview with Fox News, an emotional Bratcher told Host Martha MacCallum that during the filming of the movie, her mother told her a secret that her mother had never divulged before—that she had almost aborted Bratcher. Bratcher said her mother was actually on a table, being examined by a nurse, when she decided not to go through with the procedure.
“I get emotional every time I tell this story,” Bratcher said, “because I don’t know that it’s ever going to go away, when you look at your life and you think that everything you’ve experienced almost never happened—just within a few seconds, a few minutes.”
Video of Bracher’s Interview with Fox News Host Martha MacCallum:
The stakes are so high with abortion. And that’s why this movie is so crucially important. Every year, about 900,000 abortions take place in the U.S. That’s 900,000 girls and boys whose lives are erased in an instant.
The movie received an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. Carney says he believes the rating was a calculated move to deter Christians from seeing the movie. But he says the strategy has backfired.
“We got great, great media coverage from it being rated R,” Carney said. “I’m glad it’s rated-R. Planned Parenthood is rated R. Abortion is rated R.”
Carney is right. Abortion is both violent and evil and a movie that whitewashed that reality would be lying. Certainly, the movie isn’t for younger children. But I plan on seeing it again—this time with my teenage daughter and as many of her friends as we can get to join us.
The movie is scheduled to release in over 1,000 theaters. That’s 600 more than the pro-life movie, Gosnell, and 200 more than God’s Not Dead. (Interestingly, Unplanned was co-written by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman who also wrote God’s Not Dead.)
Carney said his group also hopes that 300 churches and pro-life groups will host private theater buyout events the night before the movie’s official opening. Currently, the group said it needs to raise about $100,000 before the end of the week to hit that goal.
For more information on Unplanned, click here.