When I heard that the story of a woman who was a Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life activist was coming to the big screen, I was intrigued. Soon after, I learned that the movie was unexpectedly rated R- purely for abortion violence. I was even more intrigued. This meant that teenagers who were able to legally have an abortion by themselves, could not enter the movie without an adult. Hmmm.
Then I learned that ad networks and some social media companies were refusing to air ads for it simply because they did not agree with the position the movie takes on abortion. THAT’S when I decided that I needed to see this movie.
You know me, I”m pretty careful and picky about what I watch, but I felt this was an important film to see. I went with my husband this weekend, and here is a brief recap and my thoughts about it.
Summary of “Unplanned”
Abby Johnson was a firm defender of Planned Parenthood and the sometimes “necessary evil” of abortions. She had two abortions herself, and while she regretted the necessity, she did indeed view it as a necessity. Her family was pro-life, so she kept her abortions a secret. One of my favorite lines from the movie was, “If you don’t want your mom to know about something- it probably isn’t a good choice
Abby worked for Planned Parenthood for 8 years, becoming the youngest ever clinic director. She defended her work to her parents, her husband, and anyone else who questioned her career. She was positive that she was helping women and making a positive difference in the world- until she aided in an abortion procedure for the first time and watched the baby struggle for it’s life. What she saw made Abby turn her back on abortion and Planned Parenthood forever. She joined the Coalition For Life and began educating people about what really happens during an abortion. Soon after she left Planned Parenthood, the organization sued her. Unplanned is Abby Johnson’s story.
For full disclosure, I am totally on the pro-life side of the debate. But I really think this is a story that needs to be listened to by everyone, no matter your views. As Abby Johnson says, “If you’re going to support something, know what it is that you support, period. Be educated on the topic.” I think that goes for both sides of the debate. This is a PERFECT movie to attend with a friend who feels differently about the topic than you do, and a way to start a meaningful discussion about what each of you supports and why.
First of all, I thought it was a very fair portrayal.
What I loved about this movie, is the humanization of the different sides of the abortion debate in this movie. Abortion workers aren’t painted as evil people who love to kill children. You LIKED Abby and her co-workers at Planned Parenthood- whether you agreed with them or not. (Abby’s supervisor is another story, though. She’s a piece of work.) Women who got abortions in the movie are not judged or condemned, they are viewed with compassion. Some pro-life protestors were illustrated as being terrible people who did a great deal of harm. No one is painted with a broad brush or condemned.Second, there was very little cheesiness. That’s a win for everyone, but it can sometimes be a factor in these types of movies.
About the “R” rating- what’s in the movie?
There was a little cussing, but no sexual content, innuendo, or women’s body parts shown. When I say that the rating is purely for abortion violence, that’s really what it is.
1. Towards the beginning of the movie, Abby holds an ultrasound probe and watches the baby on the screen fight for it’s life. The doctor then flips a switch and you see blood filled tubes. It’s horrifying.
2. Abby has two abortions. One, you don’t really see much. The other is when she takes an abortion pill and discharges the baby at home. She bleeds heavily and is in pain for 12 hours. Blood is everywhere. You also see clumps of non-identifiable bloody tissue drop from her body (she’s in a short nightgown) in the shower. It’s very disturbing, but also real as far as bodily functions go. Several years ago, I had a miscarriage that started at home, and there were some definite similarities.
3. A teenage girl comes to get an abortion. Her uterus is perforated and she starts bleeding uncontrollably. They almost lose her.
Those are the big ones, and in my opinion, what made it rated R.
I definitely recommend this movie, if you can take how graphic it is. (This could be triggering to women who have lost children.) It isn’t for the faint of heart- but the topic is so important, and I believe this can be a key to meaningful conversations about abortion. If movies aren’t your thing, but you’d like to learn more, the movie is based off the book by Abby that is also titled Unplanned.