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‘Unplanned’ movie shows turning point for former Planned Parenthood employee

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Life doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes a single experience can change the course of a life. For Abby Johnson, former clinic director of a Texas-based Planned Parenthood, it was seeing an unborn life being taken that changed her story. 

The new film “Unplanned,” based on a book of the same name, portrays Johnson as someone who always wanted to help women and found that place with Planned Parenthood. She begins as a clinic volunteer and finds a career in counseling women on their choices, ultimately being involved in nearly 22,000 abortions. But one abortion she witnessed changed her life.

It’s a tough scene in the movie to watch, as it would be to experience. Though it wasn’t part of her job, Johnson was asked to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. On the ultrasound screen is a 13-week-old infant. 

“I left Planned Parenthood in 2009 after seeing a live ultrasound-guided abortion procedure and seeing that baby fight and struggle for his life against the abortion instrument,” said Johnson in an interview with the Arlington Catholic Herald Podcast. “I knew then that there was life in the womb, there was humanity there and I was on the wrong side of the debate.”

The doctor, played by Dr. Anthony Levatino, a former abortion doctor offscreen, has a cool demeanor, even making use of a Star Trek catchphrase — “Beam me up Scotty” — as he’s performing the procedure. Johnson sees on the ultrasound the infant fighting for its life, as she leaves the room as quickly as possible and begins her conversion away from Planned Parenthood. 

The film gives a comprehensive overview of her life through flashbacks.

One might imagine a pro-life movie would be rated for everyone, but the MPAA gave this movie an R rating, not for sexual content or language, but for the visual depictions of abortion, the blood and its aftermath. A difficult part to watch is the process of reassembling the aborted fetus to ensure the doctors removed everything.  

The movie provides a window into what happens to young girls and women who come seeking assistance — from counseling to the outpatient procedure. Johnson was good at convincing the clients they were making the right decision. 

The film also shows there can be medical complications, including scenes of two abortions Johnson herself underwent, including the medical procedure and the difficult effects of the abortion pill RU-486.

The entire time Johnson is working in the clinic, sidewalk counselors are outside praying for those going into the clinic. Johnson handles them with more patience than does the previous clinic director. It’s to the sidewalk counselors from Coalition for Life that she turns for advice and support. Eventually she teams up with as she moves toward the pro-life cause. The clinic closed after 13 campaigns by 40 Days for Life. 

After Planned Parenthood, Johnson began And Then There Were None, an organization to assist abortion workers to leave the industry. Nearly 500 have left so far, according to Johnson. 

The movie, distributed by Pure Flix, which distributed “God’s Not Dead,” will be released on 800 screens across the country March 29. 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019

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