I’ve been a pro-life advocate for over two decades, but nothing prepared me for what I saw this past Saturday night at a private screening of the upcoming, life-altering movie “Unplanned.” Starring Ashley Bratcher, who reenacts Abby Johnson’s story to a “T,” this moving film shares about the eye-opening journey of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic director in history, who went from her “my body, my choice” mindset, partaking in over 22,000 abortions, to one of the top anti-abortion advocates in the country. Set to release March 29th, this Pure Flix film includes a hard-to-watch but much needed opening scene. In the first five minutes of the movie, there was a short sequence showing a baby being aborted from a young mother’s womb. This was one of the hardest, most grueling clips I have ever experienced in my life, and as a CSULA film graduate, I have watched a lot of films. I bawled for several minutes. My eyes were opened.
I have always been pro-life. I’ve worn the pro-life t-shirts for the last two decades, even on Hollywood movie sets, continuously travel the country with all of my pro-life conversation starter buttons on my backpack, and yes, my car has been loaded from time to time with pro-life bumper stickers galore. But, seeing that tiny life sucked out of the mother’s womb in the opening scene of “Unplanned,” that changed my life forever. I could no longer just share pro-life posts on social media and talk about the lies of Planned Parenthood on stage at multiple speaking events. I needed to put more skin in the game.
My husband and I left this screening with plans to buy out a local theater and offer free tickets to anyone who wants to see the movie. I am also planning with a friend to take our kids and go pray over women who are heading to our local abortion center. I want to listen to their stories, their needs, and offer other options like adoption, besides what they believe to be a quick, easy solution. I pray all of us discover how we can play a personal role in saving as many innocent lives as possible. Ashley Bratcher, the leading actress, said her views on being pro-life were strengthened as well. “I now have a very firm stance, whereas before, I didn’t really have the knowledge to have that firm stance. I was middle of the road. This movie just opened my eyes to so many things that I didn’t know. This will happen for millions of people around the country as well. They will no longer be able to leave the theater and say I didn’t know.”
After viewing this movie, I had the chance to visit with the starring actress for several minutes. Ashley informed me that several days before the movie shoot, she called her mom to tell her she booked the leading role. Her mom tearfully explained that when she was 19, she was minutes from having an abortion herself, but God told her to get off that table at Planned Parenthood and keep her baby. That baby was Ashley Bratcher! Ashley never knew this until hours before shooting began for this particular movie. God had major plans for this young woman’s life. Ashley told me, “The hardest part of playing the role of Abby Johnson was trying to give her story justice because I had experienced things in the movie and while doing research that I have never experienced in real life. It took a lot to get to the point of what she saw and felt.” I have to add that her role seriously would win an Oscar.
Ashley also told me that every scene in the movie “Unplanned” was as close to the actual events as possible. To see what takes place in-depth at Planned Parenthood from a former top clinic director is why I’m recommending that all people, including teens, see this movie. Ashley wholeheartedly agreed. She told me, “For the very first time, it’s being shown to the general public what happens behind the scenes in an abortion clinic. America has never seen this before. I’ve had many men and women who have been carrying the guilt of being post-abortive come up to me in complete tears and hug me. This movie has brought people so much healing. For me, it’s complete confirmation that we are achieving what we set out to do!”
With the Senate Democrats horrifically blocking the “born alive” bill several days ago, which would provide medical care to infants who survive failed abortions, this movie will hopefully open the eyes of the deceived. I asked Ashley if this movie opened the doors to discuss abortion with leaders and politicians in a new and meaningful way. Her response encouraged me. She excitedly responded, “Absolutely. I would have never guessed 10 years ago that I would be standing on the senate floor speaking with the governor and lieutenant governor of Georgia regarding abortion. This is a divisive issue, and this is the first time we can now sit down and watch it and discuss it. This movie is opening the conversation. I hope that when people walk out of the theater they will have a conversation. This is the first step in changing people’s hearts.” I couldn’t agree more.
It’s important to know that if we watch “Unplanned” on opening weekend, we will be supporting this film and letting movie theaters know there is a need to keep this flick in the theater for longer than 2 weeks. The truth must be told. According to Christian Post Reporter, the movie recently received an R-rating due to some of the scenes depicted in the movie, but I fully support why these scenes were shot and I’m pleased they will remain in the final cut. Ken Rather, executive VP of distribution for Pure Flix told the Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
If kids today are shown much more graphic content with no purpose other than to harm or cause injury, I fully support a movie exposing the realities of abortion so all people can make an informed decision on this life-changing scenario. Viewers will learn the truth about abortion, that God offers forgiveness for having an abortion, and best yet, people will want to become on fire pro-life advocates themselves!
There are several things we can do to help this movie get the acknowledgment it deserves. With censorship in the media at an all-time high, each of us needs to get the word out. Ashley mentioned that we can do these several things to help them reach the masses with this message. “Find us on social media, share it everywhere, rally your local community to host a screening, and take your friends, including your pro-choice friends, to go see it,” she urged. I also strongly encourage you to purchase tickets for your family and friends and watch “Unplanned” together. Who knows, you might just save a life.
Counter Culture Mom, Tina Griffin, is a former Hollywood actress, speaker, author, host of "Hollywood Insider" and resides in Nashville, TN where she homeschools her four munchkins and is busy saving America with her husband Luke.
Editor's Note: The piece originally stated that "Unplanned" was a Pure Flix original. However, Pure Flix is the major distributor for the film, but it’s not their original film.