This weekend, history was made as the Unplanned movie opened in more than 1,100 theaters across the nation. And you can expect the backlash to be intense. And I mean very intense. The foundations of the pro-abortion movement, in particular, those of Planned Parenthood, will be challenged. Evil will be exposed and hope will be exalted.
By all means, make your plans to flood the theaters this weekend, not just for your own benefit, but to help send a message to the movie industry that this movie needs to be seen. That means it needs to be widely available.
If you’re not familiar with the background to Unplanned, it tells the real-life story of former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, who is now a pro-life champion.
Earlier this week, on my radio show, I spoke with Ashley Bratcher, the Christian actor who plays Abby in the movie. She explained what it took for her to become Abby Johnson, and as you’ll see, she did it with excellence.
I was able to watch an advance release of Unplanned in the privacy of my home, but I was caught off-guard by one pivotal scene.
To be clear, I’ve been involved in the pro-life movement in varying degrees for many years. And I’ve often shared the horrifically-graphic, deeply-moving images of aborted babies.
Back in the early 1990s, the day before participating in an Operation Rescue event in Washington, DC, we had an all-day prayer meeting at my house.
During our prayer time, I passed around one of those graphic pictures—the mangled body of a late-term aborted baby. And as those present saw the picture, each began to weep. “What have we done?” cried out one of my friends.
You could say, then, that I was emotionally prepared for whatever was coming in Unplanned. Except I wasn’t.
I had about 45 minutes free before going to teach a night class at our ministry school on a Tuesday night, so I told Nancy (we’ve been married for 43 years) that I was going to start watching the movie in my study while having my dinner salad.
You see, I thought the movie would proceed chronologically with Abby’s life and so, it would be a while before any disturbing images might appear. That meant I could sit at my desk, have dinner and watch the first part of the movie.
Without giving anything away, let’s just say that an important scene in the movie occurred earlier than I expected. (For those concerned about bringing children to Unplanned, first, there are far more graphic images of aborted babies found online than anything seen in the movie. Second, if your kids are old enough to have an intelligent discussion with you about abortion, they are old enough to see the movie.)
As the scene unfolded—it is something witnessed at Planned Parenthood clinics every day of the week, and it was scientifically fair and honest—I was completely overcome, sobbing uncontrollably. Yet there was nothing manipulative or contrived about the scene in the least. Just the simple reality of an abortion. And I lost it.
For the next 15 minutes, I tried to compose myself, shutting the movie off and distracting my mind (after first pouring my heart out to the Lord in prayer). Then, when I thought I was ready, I went to talk to Nancy, who hadn’t heard me tell her I was about to watch Unplanned.
I managed to get out the words “I have to compose myself” before completely losing it, sobbing and unable to speak.
As you can imagine, this totally scared Nancy, who thought someone close to us had just died. (What would you think if your spouse came walking into your room and was sobbing so intensely he or she couldn’t talk?)
When I finally did speak, I barely got out the words, “That movie,” before explaining the rest.
Then, a few minutes later, when I shared with my students about recent, aggressive, pro-abortion developments, one of the students asked if we could stop and pray.
We did, and the class never happened, as we spent the better part of the next 2 Â½ hours in prayer, often weeping and wailing for the lives of the unborn.
Honestly, I am amazed that Pure Flix was able to get Unplanned into so many theaters, knowing how hotly opposed this movie will be.
In fact, I have learned that the number rose from 900 to 1,100 theaters (at last report) due to popular, advance demand. I also heard that one theater cancelled the showing but had to reinstate it after a local outcry.
Not everyone will be affected the way I was. But I’m confident that all who see this movie with an open heart and mind will be positively and deeply impacted for the cause of life.
Make your plans to be there this weekend. Perhaps this will be a turning point in the history of the modern, pro-life movement.
It’s way, way past time.
Listen to the podcast to hear an interview with Abby Johnson and 40 Days for Life’s Shawn Carney.