Unplanned—A Pro-Life Movie, Rated-R

Abby Johnson stared at the black and white ultrasound image. The tiny baby on the monitor was so perfect and beautiful. Suddenly, something else appeared on the screen. It looked foreign and out of place. Abby didn’t want to look but she could not pull her eyes away from the image. As the abortion doctor turned on the suction, the baby, once so perfect and beautiful, disappeared as he was pulled from the haven of his mother’s womb.

After seeing an ultrasound-guided abortion, Abby Johnson left her position as the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas to become a pro-life advocate.

Desiring to help and empower women, Abby had worked at Planned Parenthood for years. She had never liked abortion; her hope was to make it rare. But she believed that abortion was a woman’s right and as such needed to be made available.

As she stood there, in the operating room, however, she finally saw the truth about abortion for the first time…she was working in an industry that was killing thousands of babies every day. As the director of an abortion clinic, she was responsible for the deaths of thousands.

Appalled, Abby left the clinic she had loved and diligently worked at for the last eight years. In the process, she lost friends, her reputation was damaged and she was taken to court by Planned Parenthood. Her life was turned upside-down, but she knew she was now on the right side, able at last to find healing and freedom.

Too often, we look at people who work in the abortion industry and think they are cruel and heartless. Abby was neither. Her desire was simply to help women in distress. She was not evil; she was deceived.

Abby’s testimony reminds me that I should not look at people in the abortion industry as the enemy but rather as lost souls who need light, hope, and help.

Abby’s story was first shared in her book, Unplanned. It is an incredibly personal look into her life, in which she is vulnerable and openly shares her struggles and pain. Unplanned is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone.

A movie based on this book is scheduled to hit theatres on March 29, 2019. The movie shares Abby’s journey and tells the truth about abortion.

The producers of this pro-life movie were surprised to receive an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). They had hoped for a PG13-rating.

The MPAA explained that the R-rating was given because of *“some disturbing/bloody images.”

Cary Solomon, one of the film’s co-writers and co-directors, stated, *“We have three scenes in the film which directly address abortion, and the MPAA objected to all three. They specifically made mention of objection to grainy, black-and-white sonogram images that were part of one of the scenes. It was clear that any meaningful treatment of the issue was going to be objectionable.”

The MPAA’s greatest objection was to the scene depicting an ultrasound-guided abortion. The movie shows the ultrasound screen on which the unborn child is clearly visible. The baby is moving and his heart is beating. Then, as the doctor turns on the suction machine he suddenly disappears—pulled from his mother’s womb.

Dr. Anthony Levatino, who played the doctor in the scene, performed around 1,200 abortions before becoming pro-life. He stated, *“The portrayal of a live, moving fetus disappearing is very accurate. You’re watching an abortion. It’s an accurate view of what’s happening. It’s disturbing if you recognize it’s a human life.”

This scene itself is not graphic. You see a grainy black and white ultrasound image of a child and then that child disappears. It’s only disturbing because we know the reality of what is taking place.

If Americans find the simulation of abortion to be so disturbing that we give a movie an R-rating solely for that reason, shouldn’t we be more disturbed by the fact that the real thing is happening more than 2,900 times a day in the United States alone?

Other Scenes to be Aware of:

Early in the movie, Abby has a chemical abortion using RU-486. As commonly takes place, she experiences extreme cramping, bleeding, and pain. The movie shows her in the bathroom with blood dripping down her legs.

After an abortion is performed, clinic workers piece together the unborn child to make sure they successfully removed all the body parts from the mother’s womb. This is a regular part of abortion procedures because the woman may become extremely ill if her uterus is not fully cleaned out. In one scene, Abby bends over a table and looks at an aborted child, whose body is briefly shown.

There are a couple of scenes in which a protester standing outside the clinic is holding an image of an aborted child but the camera never fully focuses on it.

There are also about seven scenes where a four-letter, curse word is used.

Directors Reaction to the R-rating

Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman who co-wrote and co-directed Unplanned, wrote, *“We consider the MPAA’s current standards to be deeply flawed, insofar as they allowed scenes of remarkably graphic sex, violence, degradation, murder and mayhem to have a PG-13 rating, whereas our film, highlighting the grave dangers of abortion in a straightforward manner, is considered dangerous for the American people to view.”

Although it is possible to appeal a rating, PureFlix has chosen not to because they don’t want to delay the release of the movie. Unplanned will be the first movie distributed by PureFlix that has an R-rating.

I deeply hope that the rating of this film will not discourage christians from viewing it. Abby’s story is something that the church in America needs to hear. It demonstrates the power of prayer, the goodness of God, and the hope and forgiveness that are found in Christ.

The issue of abortion is something many of us would like to avoid, we don’t want to think about it, but God is calling us to care. We need to pray, not only for mothers who are considering abortion and for their unborn children, but also for the clinic workers, many of whom are deceived and do not understand what they are doing.

May we be willing to pray, to love, and to speak. Perhaps the first step for us is to become a little bit more educated, to take a look at the issue from a different perspective, and to see those working in the abortion industry as human beings who have lost their way. The movie Unplanned would be a great place to start gaining that perspective. For this reason, I would encourage you to disregard the R-rating and see it when it comes out in March.

*Source for quotes: The Motion Picture Association of America’s R-Rating for Anti-Abortion Film Disputed by Distributor Pure Flix, (February 22, 2019), Article on The Hollywood Reporter.

God Showed Me His Love on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day was hard for me this year. Rather than feeling loved, I felt incredibly lonely as I walked through the airport. I was flying home for my grandmother’s funeral.

I thought back to a few years before when my Great Grandfather’s funeral had been on Valentine’s day. Will this day ever bring me anything other than pain? I wondered.

As I sat down at my gate to wait for my plane to board, I felt numb. I pulled a book out of my backpack and tried to read.

“How’s your book?” the lady beside me asked.
“Oh, it’s good,” I answered.
“What’s it about?” She asked.
I groaned mentally. She’s probably not religious and will think that I am crazy for reading this book. How on earth am I going to explain this?

Normally I would have been all too eager to use my book as a lead-in to talk about my faith. But that morning I was struggling emotionally. I could not be rude, however, so I answered as best I could.

“Well, it’s about five young missionaries who were speared to death in Equador in the 1950s while trying to share their faith with an isolated people group.”
“I’ve heard of that.” She said.
“I am really fascinated by this story,” I ventured “because just two years after the spearing Elizabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint the wife and sister of two of the men who were killed that day went to live among that very same tribe. They chose to not only forgive the men who brutally killed their loved ones but also love and serve them. I want that kind of love.”
“That’s what this world needs more of.” She said. “We cannot forgive like that without the love of God working in us.”

Our conversation continued like that. We talked about how we had both come to know the Lord, His working in our lives, favorite Scripture passages, our jobs and how we can use them to share our faith and glorify God.

I was amazed. My God met me at the airport through a total stranger. He encouraged my heart and filled me with hope.

He reminded me that I am never alone.

When we love and serve the Lord Jesus, even the most lonely days can be beautiful. He promises never to leave us. He promises to give us Himself.

Often it is the lonely days, the hard days that we see God’s hand most clearly. If we look He will meet us and show us His love every day of the year not just on Valentine’s day.

Jumbled Efforts and our Amazing God

I rested my chin on my hand and tapped my pen against my desk. A blank card sat in front of me. What should I write?

Because I was in one of the advanced classes at Bible College, I had arrived a few days ago. The students who were attending the basic class would arrive tomorrow. I was excited. For the moment my room was empty, just me and my stuff. Tomorrow I would have three new roommates. The card in front of me was to one of them. I wanted to do everything I could to make them feel welcome. After agonizing over the cards for a while, I finally finished them, wrote names on the outside of each envelope and laid them out on the desk. Going over to the door, I looked again at the names. Suddenly I realized that the door tag was different. The name Morgan had been removed. What happened? I wondered sadly. Walking over to the desk, I removed the card that I had written to Morgan and put it at the back of a stack of blank cards.

When the students arrived I was excited to get to know them all. While we were waiting for dinner one evening, a girl struck up a conversation with me. I learned that her name was Morgan. Immediately, I thought of the card in my room. Did I write anything that would make it exclusive to my roommate Morgan? I didn’t think so. Later I went back and re-read the card. It was very generic. After all, I hadn’t really known the girl I was writing to. I had basically said that I was excited to get to know her and glad she was here. I had also included my favorite Scripture verse at the bottom. Ok, I thought I’ll give this to the other Morgan. At least that way it won’t be wasted and maybe it will bless her. Setting it on my desk with the intention of delivering it later, I began working on a homework assignment.

The card sat on my desk all week. Every time I saw it I thought, oh I need to take that to Morgan. Finally one afternoon I thought, if I don’t do it now I’ll probably never do it. Picking up the card, I walked downstairs to Morgan’s room and slid the card under her door.

Later that day, I received a letter from Morgan. In it, she shared with me that she had stepped out in obedience to what she felt the Holy Spirit was calling her to do that afternoon. As soon as she did so, the enemy attacked her. Her mind was filled with doubt and she began to struggle. It was then that she noticed my card. The Holy Spirit used my card and especially the verse at the end to confirm that she had done the right thing and that He was pleased.

When I finished reading her card, I sat back in amazement. The card I had given to her was intended for someone else. Even after I decided to give it to her I had meant to deliver it days beforehand. I saw so clearly the goodness of God at that moment. He knew all along who would receive that card and when. He knew what she would need to hear and He gave me the words to write.

What an amazing God we serve! He can use even our jumbled efforts at service to bless others beyond our wildest imaginations.