This past weekend, many pro-lifers and even pro-choicers flocked to the movie theaters to watch the highly anticipated pro-life movie. Despite the media blackout, the backlash from Twitter following the shutdown of the movie’s account, and even the poorly written reviews from secular media, the movie has pricked the conviction of those who support abortion.
According to Forbes, the movie has performed well enough to make the top five in the box office as it sits at number four on opening weekend. That’s impressive considering it is released on the same weekend as Disney’s Dumbo and Captain Marvel. At the same time, Unplanned received more positive reviews than the number one movie in the box office.
Based on a memoir written by Abby Johnson, the movie brings the book to life in an astonishing way while articulating the two bold messages of the film; mercy and hope.
The movie has given an accurate account on what happens inside of a Planned Parenthood facility that the media and even the organization itself try to deny that their number one product is abortion. There is no surprise that what goes on inside the facilities are as accurate as it is portrayed in the film.
In the movie, Abby (portrayed by Ashley Bratcher) starts out as a young college junior who is figuring out where to go after she finishes college at Texas A&M. One day she stumbles upon a table for Planned Parenthood. Conflicted because of her family’s pro-life convictions, she was hesitant. However, she reluctantly became part of the largest abortion provider in the world.
Within eight years, Abby went from clinic escort to director of the Planned Parenthood in Bryan, TX aborting 20,000 babies. During that time, she met many of the workers who were employees of the facility. In addition to her co-workers and colleagues at the abortion center, she also interacted with a group of pro-lifers who were quietly praying and sidewalk counseling on the other side of the facility’s fence. Two of them were Shawn and Marilisa Carney (played by Jared Lotz and Emma Elle Roberts), founders of 40 Days for Life.
Not only did Shawn and Marilisa open dialogue with Abby about her work, but she also received opposition from her parents and husband, Doug (played by Brooks Ryan). Upon watching the film, I remember seeing a scene where Doug challenge how much Abby changed after she received Planned Parenthood’s employee of the year award.
In 2009, she was asked to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion. What she saw became her road to Damascus moment as her eyes were open to see that what doctor killed was a human being in the mother’s womb. She found refuge in the 40 Days coalition that was down the road from the facility. She walked away from the abortion and knew that she had to protect the lives of the precious unborn children. Soon, the facility she once worked for, would sue her. After a one-hour court session, the lawsuit against her and the Carneys was dismissed.
The theme of mercy is clearly seen after Abby walked away. She was in so much agony over the many babies that were killed under her watch. When asked how can she ask for forgiveness, her husband told her to go seek it.
I have also seen the theme of hope in the movie when Abby’s family and friends on the other side of the fence were hoping that one day she would walk away from the abortion facility. They never gave up hope in her quitting a gruesome job.
The pro-life movement is built on hope, love, and mercy. All three of them combined unleashed life and our culture can become fully alive.
Hope is the antidote in the culture of despair. We need to have that when we confront abortion as we plant the seeds to those who work in the abortion industry. There are times we walk away from a prayer vigil in our community with no one listening to your prayers or your offer to help. However, we have a God who is giving us hope to continue fighting the good fight.
When Marilisa first approached Abby after her first day, she did not yell, curse, or even judged her. Rather, she approached her with love. She would constantly remind Abby that she is praying for her. One scene that jumped out to me was when both were pregnant and Marilisa made Abby think how much of a joy she would be when Christmas approaches. Another example of love is the times that Doug held Abby close during her times of despair. He reminded her how much he loved her.
Mercy is the bridge to healing. When Abby saw a file on an abortion she had at the same facility, she knew that she wanted to be forgiven. To me, mercy can go a long way when we encounter someone who is post-abortive or is expecting a child, even in the direst of circumstances.
Unplanned is a must-see movie. Take your family, church or prayer groups, or even invite someone who is on the fence with the issue.