Skip to main content

Culture Movies

Stepping away from evil

(Michael Kubeisy/Soli Deo Gloria Releasing)


Stepping away from evil

Unplanned recounts an activist's journey out of the abortion industry

The new movie Unplanned, based on the 2010 book by the same name, tells the gripping tale of former Planned Parenthood (PPFA) director Abby Johnson’s pro-life conversion. Although some of its elements don’t sit right, the film exposes anew the foul practices of the nation’s leading abortion business.

Johnson’s story: A belief she’s helping women, she says, and ambition lead her from PPFA volunteer to director of the abortion center in Bryan, Texas. In a voiceover, Johnson (Ashley Bratcher), a churchgoer, claims she was “naïve.” For example, she receives PPFA’s 2008 “Employee of the Year” award but questions a directive to increase the number of abortions.

“Abortion has never been my priority,” she informs her peers. The film underscores her good-heartedness.

Local pro-lifers befriend and pray for Johnson. After eight years with PPFA (and two abortions and a divorce), she assists in an abortion for the first time, she says. She watches as a “13-weeker” disappears from the ultrasound monitor, while bloody tissue gushes through tubes into a collection bottle. (The R-rated film has disturbing images and four expletives.) The horrible sight causes Johnson to run out of the building. (In a 2018 tweet, though, Johnson said she had “pieced together thousands of fetal parts after abortions.”) She subsequently resigns, and later weeps for the 22,000 children who died under her watch.

It took courage to tell this story, and Bratcher gives a superbly moving performance. Still, some details—factual and dramatic—puzzled me. Johnson’s staff is chipper, her workplace a lively atmosphere; I’ve been inside enough abortion centers to find this depiction peculiar. Johnson’s parents and second husband denounce her day job yet praise her promotions—again, odd. The Christian pop soundtrack fits until Mandisa sings “Overcomer” during an extra-busy schedule of abortions hours before a hurricane hits. Perhaps the irony was intended.

In all, though, Planned Parenthood comes off as money-grubbing and heartless, so the film gets that right. Even better, Johnson learns that God forgives and redeems.


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • Katie
    Posted: Fri, 03/29/2019 10:50 am

    I saw this last night and was also very confused when Overcomer started playing at that particular moment. But overall this movie was well done, albeit intense and hard to watch.** 

    I read the book years ago and was amazed by Abby's story. It's easy to be desensitized to the horror of abortion or to be in denial, so I'm glad they made this movie and hope pro-lifers everywhere will support it and raise awareness about what Planned Parenthood is really doing.

    **If you go, please be prepared. It depicts both a medical and chemical abortion in graphic detail. 

  • TxAgEngr
    Posted: Wed, 04/03/2019 04:26 pm

    This movie tells the truth about the evil underneath Planned Parenthood.  All teens should see it.  

  • M&
    Posted: Thu, 04/04/2019 10:22 am

    I was moved many times in the movie and am grateful for Abby's courage and brokenness over this very grievous sin in our land. May God heal the pain in her life and use her for His glory as she stands for life.

    The movie was very well done, and I pray it has a positive impact on our culture - that many will see it, that God will stir His people to stand for life, that pregnancy care centers across our country will be well-supported financially and bathed in prayer.

    My wife and I pray regularly for several care centers in our life and region (including the Tiftarea Pregnancy Care Center, Jonesboro and Monroe County PCC, the Foothills PCC and their Clemson University outreach, and the Hope for the Family ministry in our hometown), and thank God for the increased burden to pray and support these ministries.

  • RM
    Posted: Sun, 04/07/2019 12:31 pm

    If we let it, Unplanned could change today's popular understanding of abortion the way that Uncle Tom's Cabin changed the mid-19th century's understanding of slavery.  What you see on the screen will never leave you--moreover, the movie will motivate you to do more to end abortion.  After seeing Unplanned twice last weekend with friends, my wife & I joined thousands of other pro-lifers in front of the State Capitol for the Virginia March for Life.