The Controversies Revolving Around ‘Unplanned’

If you haven’t heard about it, Unplanned is a movie that debuts today, Friday, on over 1000 cinemas across the nation. The plot revolves around the conversion of Alice Johnson from being pro-abortion to a pro-life activist.

Unplanned is distributed by Pure Flix, who is also the distributor behind the box office hit God’s Not Dead and other movies aimed at Christians.

The whole movie is based off Johnson’s memoir that she published in October 2011 after resigning from Planned Parenthood in October 2009. The memoir writes about Johnson, who is 38 now, and her 8-year career in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas.

From there, she started by ushering patients from their cars through activists at the gate to the clinic. She develops as the person trying to give out contraceptives to lessen abortions until becoming the youngest clinic director ever in Planned Parenthood.

Johnson, who also had two prior abortions, also says that she helped orchestrate around 22,000 abortions before leaving Planned Parenthood, but only decided to quit after witnessing an abortion take place through an ultrasound. Since then, she has worked with organizations like 40 Days for Life.

“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,” Johnson wrote in her book, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone.”

However, a 2010 report by Texas Monthly could find no evidence to corroborate her description or timing of the procedure, and noted that on September 27, 2009, the date after Johnson says this abortion occurred, she appeared on a local radio station to talk positively about her work at the clinic as told by Newsweek.

Additionally, the movie itself was not bad, especially when it’s funded with $6 million, but it is an effective propaganda material against Planned Parenthood and the entirety of its existence.

The movie simply is a tale about how Planned Parenthood become a legal way of doing bad things such as abortions. It’s rather a clever and manipulative way of enforcing pro-life ideologies masked with the beliefs of faith.

Moreover, the characters consistently put Planned Parenthood in a vicious money-hungry facade, as it portrays that the clinic earns more from abortions over other services that it offers.

Other than the villainous imagery, there are tone of basic scare tactic scenes that will make you doubt if you’re watching a post-school Christian film or a suspense gore movie. There are overly exaggerated blood splatters and puddles over the fact that a scene involves a very cartoony version of what Johnson saw in the ultrasound as the baby was being aborted.

There’s even a subplot about traditional Christian norms between husband and wife that can be seen with Johnson, a charming average woman played by Ashley Bratcher, and her husband, who is just all-around perfect, Doug played by Brooks Ryan. They subtly reinforce that wives should believe in their husbands because men are always right.

Apart from all that, the movie is a basic storytelling from a single perspective with not much character dynamics. Only people who already have mild to firm beliefs aligned with what the movie is trying to say will enjoy the movie.

On other news, the Unplanned marketing team has been struggling with promotions for the movie as established TV networks like Hallmark Channel and USA Network, Fox News, and channels under Discovery such as The Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, HGTV and Food Network all refused to sell air time for their advertisements due to the “sensitive nature” of the movie.

“Most of the networks didn’t go into detail beyond citing the subject matter of the film and that they didn’t want to get into politics. But we don’t believe we’re in the political category,” said Joe Knopp, an Unplanned producer.

Moreover, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) made Unplanned as an R-rated movie, which only added to the uphill battle that they needed to overcome.

Unplanned has received an R rating, but contains no sex, nudity, or foul language. It pulls back the veil surrounding abortion, and reveals it for the truly gory and violent act that it is,” Brown said in a statement issued to Newsweek. “The irony is that a teenager as young as 13 can get an abortion without her parents’ consent, but cannot see a movie about abortion unless she is over 17.”

Planned Parenthood issued the following statement about Unplanned, “The claims in this film are simply false. Planned Parenthood is proud to provide expert, high-quality health care to our patients, including safe and legal abortion, in a safe and compassionate environment. The movie promotes many falsehoods including most importantly, distortions and incorrect depictions about healthcare.”

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