“Unplanned” – A Film Review

Imagine being immersed in something so sinister and so evil that you can’t even see it. That’s exactly what happened to Abby Johnson, and Unplanned is her story of redemption. Based on her book of the same title, it’s playing now in theaters.

The Plot (Possible Spoiler Alert)

The movie opens with clinic director Abby Johnson sitting in her Planned Parenthood office doing paperwork. A young clinic worker knocks on the door and asks Abby to assist the doctor down the hall. When Abby arrives in the room, the doctor explains that he only does sonogram-guided abortions and asks her to hold the sonogram probe. On the monitor, we see the image of a 13-week-old preborn baby inside his mother’s belly. Abby stares at the screen as the baby kicks and moves. The abortion begins, and she watches in disbelief as the baby flails and tries to escape the suction tube that has penetrated into his warm and—until then—safe home. His movements become more panicked, and we see that panic mirrored on Abby’s face as she realizes the reality of what’s about to happen. Suddenly the baby is gone, and the mother’s uterus is empty. The baby’s blood fills the tubes to the side of the patient. Sickened, Abby runs out the door, fleeing to the safety of a locked bathroom, where she collapses on the floor sobbing.

The movie then flashes back eight years to Abby as a college student at Texas A&M, where she parties heavily and dates a man 10 years older than she. When she finds herself pregnant, he tells her that they can “take care of it,” and he takes her to get an abortion. Later, after they get married and divorced, Abby finds that she’s pregnant again. Not wanting any connection to her ex-husband, she decides to abort that baby as well. This time, her baby is younger, so she can take the abortion pill. The clinic staff member tells her that she will bleed and have cramping, but that it will be just like a heavy period. Abby goes home and endures a terrifying experience of heavy bleeding, pain, and blood clots—all very graphically depicted as we see the horrifying reality of what happens to a body when a baby is killed and expelled.

Later in her college career, Abby attends a job fair on campus where she meets an outgoing woman at a Planned Parenthood booth who extols the “virtues” of Planned Parenthood. She explains that the organization focuses on women’s health, an issue that pulls on the heartstrings of a young Abby, who agrees that it’s important to help women. So she signs up to be a volunteer escort—someone who greets women at their cars and walks them into the clinic. Over the next several years, Abby rises from volunteer to counselor to clinic director.

Throughout the movie, we see the heartbreaking reality of abortion, as young women parade through PP’s doors with sad and scared looks on their faces. We see the heartless behavior of PP employees who care more about money than human beings. We see a young girl nearly bleed to death because of a botched abortion. And we see pro-lifers standing outside the PP gates trying to talk the women and young girls out of having an abortion. The ones who yell and hold graphic signs are juxtaposed with the ones from the Coalition for Life who get to know the staff by name, stand quietly in prayer, and speak kindly. Their prayerful, gentle demeanors show Abby that their love for the babies and the moms is real and that they’re devoting their life to them because they truly believe in the horrors of abortion. These are the ones Abby gets to know. She talks to them, listens to them, and eventually flees to them.

Abby goes on to not only leave Planned Parenthood, but to found an organization to help others leave the abortion industry as well. In a poignant scene in the movie, she asks her husband how God could ever forgive her. He responds that God is merciful. We see God’s goodness and how He worked through others in her life to help her find her way out of an organization that she came to realize is built upon lies. Yet, the compelling nature of this movie is not in its religious aspects, but in its reality. You don’t have to be a religious person to understand that a baby in utero is just as alive and just as human as a baby cradled in his mother’s arms, and that he can feel pain just like you and I can. This is not a story of fiction. This is not hyperbole. This is real life.

Be a Pro-Life Warrior

Abby’s story is not an isolated case. Thousands of babies die each day in abortion clinics across the country and around the world. A living, beating heart is stopped because of an abortion. This is what Planned Parenthood doesn’t want people to know. This is why its executives and supporters are so angry about this movie and why we must spread the truth far and wide. We know that women are not helped by an organization that preys on them in their most vulnerable moments.

I urge you to see this movie and to encourage your friends to see it—especially your friends who aren’t pro-life. Share that you are attending, spread the word about #unplanned and #whoisabby with your friends, at church, and via social media. If it helps, share this article!  If we want to change our reality and stop what St. John Paul II termed the Culture of Death, we must take action, and we must educate others. Seeing this movie and spreading the truth about abortion and Planned Parenthood is a good way to begin.

Actress Ashley Bratcher plays Abby Johnson. During the making of the film, her mother revealed to her that she was nearly aborted.

Note: This movie has been rated “R” for “disturbing/bloody images” because of the abortion scenes in the film. That means one must be 17 or older to attend, unless accompanied by an adult. While these are sensibly done, parents must use their own discretion and should share only with children who have already at least reached puberty. There is talk of periods, blood, clotting and two surgical abortion scenes (one surgical, one medical as described above). It is worth noting that HLI supports Unplanned and there are states where teens are having abortions without parental consent, who ironically cannot yet see this film. ~ Editorial Staff

About Susan Ciancio

Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials, and website content. Ten of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of its Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program, an educational nonprofit program for k-12 students.

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