Pure Flix’s “Unplanned”, a pro-life dramatization of a true story, opened last Thursday in 1,059 theaters, earning a surprising $6.1 million which put it in the top five movies of the week.
The movie tells the unlikely yet true story of Abby Johnson, an anti-abortion activist. Her story begins when Johnson becomes one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation where she worked for eight years. As such, Johnson was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women on their reproductive choices. The Planned Parenthood clinic named Johnson employee of the year in 2008. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in.
Johnson says that in September 2009, she was called in to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion at 13 weeks gestation. She said she was disconcerted to see how similar the ultrasound image looked to her own daughter’s. Johnson, who previously believed fetuses could not feel anything while being aborted, says she saw the fetus squirming and twisting to avoid the vacuum tube used for the abortion.
“For the briefest moment,” she wrote in her memoir, Unplanned, “the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone.”
Johnson continued working at the clinic for nine more days but soon met with Shawn Carney, leader of the local anti-abortion group Coalition for Life, with whom she was well acquainted after his years of activism against Planned Parenthood. She told him she could no longer continue assisting women in getting abortions. She resigned on October 6, 2009.
Johnson said after her resignation that her bosses had pressured her to increase profits by performing more and more abortions at the clinic. Johnson conceded that she could not produce any written orders to prove her allegations and estimated the clinic profited $350 on every abortion.
Johnson now runs an anti-abortion ministry, And Then There Were None (ATTWN) that seeks to help abortion clinic workers leave the industry. Johnson revealed in January 2011 that she had had two abortions herself before the birth of her daughter.
The movie received an R-rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, who cited a few graphic abortion-related scenes as the reason for the rating. Pure Flix, which had been expecting a PG-13 rating, decided not to contest the MPAA’s action due to concerns that such conflict may delay the film’s release. Co-directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon expressed disappointment in the rating, noting that movies with graphic sex and disturbing violence are rated PG 13.
Ken Rather, Vice President of Distribution at Pure Flix, made a similar comment: “[A} 15 year-old-girl can get an abortion without her parent’s permission but she can’t see this movie without adult supervision? That’s sad.”
Many TV channels refused to show commercials for the film on account of the controversial subject matter and/or the film’s R rating.
It is interesting to note that the 18 Rotten Tomatoes reviewers gave the film a 50 percent rating however on the same site, 93 percent of viewers liked it.
Elective abortion is considered by Judaism to be in most cases spilling of blood, one of the seven Noahide commandments incumbent upon all mankind.