Unplanned: the story of an abortion worker turned pro-life activist
Sometimes we might fall into the trap of intellectually affirming pro-life principles based on correct theology and medical information, but forgetting the real horror and carnage of the modern-day Holocaust of the unborn. The movie Unplanned is based on the true story of Abby Johnson, who went from a volunteer escort to Planned Parenthood director, only to experience a change of heart after being called in to assist in an abortion.
The movie has an R rating, which in my opinion is deserved. Abortion is gruesome, and the movie is brutal to watch in places. There are depictions of chemical and surgical abortions, as well as a depiction of abortion complications. There is also some mild profanity that viewers may want to know about beforehand. This is definitely not a movie for small children, but parents who want to discuss this issue with their teenagers may find this to be a productive conversation starter.
Abby is a protagonist who can’t be pigeonholed into a neat category. She is complicit in the over 20,000 abortions Planned Parenthood performed at her clinic while she was director. She also killed her first two children in abortions. But this only serves to magnify the power of God’s forgiveness when she repents and leaves Planned Parenthood.
Even the other clinic workers are for the most part presented in a multifaceted way. They are sympathetically portrayed as friends and compatriots in what they believed to be a good cause. But they are also shown to put the ‘cause’ above their friendship with Abby.
There are a few characters who are presented one-dimensionally. The pro-lifers who pray at the fence are not very complex characters, though the friendship that grows between them and Abby is one of the enjoyable parts of the movie, and a much-needed respite from the horrors of what goes on inside the clinic.
Perhaps the most unidimensional character is Abby’s supervisor, Cheryl, who appears on the scene with all the charm of Cruella de Vil looking for a new spotted coat. She is shown as a ruthless ‘capitalist’ abortion worker, claiming that America wants abortions, so they will provide them. When she gives clinic directors the order to double their elective abortion numbers to pay for a new, state-of-the-art, baby-killing emporium, Abby challenges her, and from that point on, she is the object of her wrath.
An odd decision
One scene that struck me as strange was the effort of the clinic workers to fit in the abortions ahead of Hurricane Ike. It is a scene that demonstrates Abby’s willingness to go above and beyond, showing initiative to make sure women get their abortions, but the movie presents it in an oddly victorious mood, playing Mandisa’s “Overcomer” as they phone the women. When Abby’s pro-life husband confronts her about her day’s work, he comes across as more of a spoil-sport than anything else.
The real-life horror behind the movie
It is hard not to be relieved when the movie is over, but the scenes that are so hard to watch in the movie are played out in real life in Planned Parenthood clinics and others across the country. Girls who are too young to see this R-rated movie without a parent can go into one of these clinics and get an abortion without their parents knowing.
The Bible clearly teaches that every person is created in the image of God from conception onward, so abortion is murder. As such, Christians have an obligation to be pro-life. Yet statistics make it clear that in every church, there are likely women who have had abortions. It is necessary to clearly share the Gospel in such a way that post-abortive women realize that God will forgive their sin, and they can experience healing and restoration in Christ.