Sometimes the truth is hard to watch, but it’s so important to do so. That’s how I felt after watching the movie “Unplanned” as it opened in theaters this past weekend.
While New York legislators recently applauded their passage of a bill that allows for the killing of a baby right up to the moment of birth, in the theater Friday night I heard weeping from fellow movie-goers as tears fell from my own eyes.
It’s the movie Hollywood doesn’t want you to see. In fact, they’re pulling out all the stops to keep you from knowing about it. If you haven’t heard about this powerful pro-life movie, “Unplanned” tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a sincere young woman who fell for Planned Parenthood’s propaganda – leading her to not only have two abortions of her own, but eventually becoming the youngest director of a Planned Parenthood clinic. By her own account, she facilitated in the killing of 22,000 unborn babies in her eight years with Planned Parenthood. In 2008 she was named Planned Parenthood’s employee of the year. Then, after eight years working as a “counselor” and clinic director, she was needed to assist in an abortion procedure for the first time. Watching the ultrasound monitor as a living, moving unborn baby was torn from its mother’s womb, was the pivotal moment that caused Abby Johnson to leave the abortion industry and become a vocal pro-life advocate. The movie powerfully depicts this incredible transformation as her eyes were opened to the reality of abortion.
And that’s what Hollywood seeks to prevent – having any more eyes opened. They don’t want any more Abby Johnson’s to recognize that the euphemistic “a woman’s right to choose” results in the horrific murder of an innocent baby. “Unplanned” powerfully convinces viewers of that truth.
So the industry whose very livelihood is made by selling theater tickets, is using all their clout to make “Unplanned” a box office flop. Nearly every single television network – including HGTV and the Hallmark Channel - has refused to sell advertising time to Pure Flix, the distributors of “Unplanned.” John Sullivan, a producer of the movie said, "We were looking to spend money, but they didn't want to get involved.” Only Fox News and the Christian Broadcast Network have aired trailers for the movie.
Even the Hollywood Reporter, more of a mouth-piece for the industry than an independent voice, reported on the black-listing, writing: "If you haven’t seen a commercial for Unplanned, an anti-abortion movie critical of Planned Parenthood, it isn’t for lack trying on the part of marketers, whose efforts have been consistently rebuffed by TV networks. … outside of the Fox News Channel, every other mainstream television outlet has declined to air the ad."
As Al Mohler illustrates, “Signals are being sent throughout the industry, don't have anything to do with this movie. … You do anything, including taking advertising for a movie that questions abortion, and you may be out of this industry. Those may not be the words that are used in public, but you can be absolutely assured that is the message that is being sent throughout Hollywood.”
Twitter also got in the act of suppressing the message– suddenly suspending the movie’s official account. After an outcry from followers of “Unplanned,” Twitter restored the account, but over 100,000 of the movie’s followers had “mysteriously” disappeared.
What many also see as a ploy by Hollywood to limit viewership of the movie, “Unplanned” was given an R rating by the MPAA. How ironic that the left prohibits a 15 year-old girl from seeing a movie about abortion without a parent, but they have no problem with that same 15 year-old having a real abortion without parental consent.
Shaw Carney of 40 Days for Life, the pro-life counselor who influenced Abby Johnson in her new-found faith and pro-life calling, said of Hollywood and the rating controversy: “They're very pro-abortion and they want to hurt the movie. But if anything, it should motivate the Christian base. They gave the 'R' rating for violence – and abortion is violent."
(The positive impact of the pro-life ministry, 40 Days for Life, is very evident in “Unplanned.” Find out more about 40 Days for Life and their focused, 40-day, round-the-clock prayer vigils outside abortion facilities.)
One News Now reports: “According to The Hollywood Reporter, MPAA informed the filmmakers that the "R" rating – assigned because of "some disturbing/bloody images" – would remain unless all scenes of abortions were either removed or altered. The makers of the movie refused to change those scenes.”
The producers could have complied with the MPAA and removed those few disturbing scenes, yet, in my opinion, that would have also lessened the impact of “Unplanned.”
While the MPAA may have meant that R rating for evil, God may use it for good as it challenges parents to think about taking their teens to see “Unplanned” and discuss the issues portrayed in the film. In addition to dealing with the sanctity of life and the propaganda of Planned Parenthood, the movie displays the power of redemption and challenges pro-lifers to see the hurting women, and not just the innocent babies. The culture and the public school system inundate young people with a pro-abortion philosophy; this is a great opportunity for parents to counter that.
However, the imagery may be too intense for some teens – especially younger ones. One mother reviewing the film had this great advice: “I recommend all adults see this movie, and if you are a parent, view the movie FIRST so you understand the nature of the content, and THEN take your teenagers to see it based on their maturity level. The movie contains graphic content, which is about as minor as could be done while adequately demonstrating the true nature of abortion. …”
The movie is hard to watch at times. Not because of gratuitous violence, but because of its realism. Those “bloody images” are disturbing, because abortion should disturb us! The power of “Unplanned’ isn’t that the images – which are less graphic than violence often depicted on network television – shock the eyes; rather, the movie’s power is in the fact that it shocks the heart. As one viewer aptly stated: “If I weren't already pro-life I would be after watching this movie."
Yet what about those of us who are staunchly pro-life? We’ve heard the lies Planned Parenthood tells, we know that every abortion destroys a life created in the image of God - yet, it can be good for us to have our heart shocked again to the horror of abortion – to renew our outrage and our activism; to motivate us to help hurting women; to drive us to our knees in prayer and repentance.
“Lest we forget.” It’s why the Holocaust Museum was built - and it’s why this movie was filmed.
As Senator Ted Cruz tweeted after viewing “Unplanned”: “I thought I was prepared for this movie, but I was not. It is breathtakingly powerful. Deeply disturbing, but also inspiring... Please go see it.”
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