Unplanned Parent Guide
One woman's emotionally searing perspective from both sides of the abortion debate.
Parent Movie Review
At Parent Previews, we understand that abortion is a controversial issue and our readers on both sides of the debate have passionately held beliefs. “Unplanned” is a pro-life film and is being evaluated on its own merits; not as a proxy for the pro-life/pro-choice debate.
Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher) is a girl with a cause. Working for Planned Parenthood, she is committed to helping young women facing crisis pregnancies. Her loyalty to the non-profit organization helps her climb the corporate ladder from volunteer to clinic director in just eight years.
Abby’s pro-choice stance might seem surprising given that her parents (Robert Thomason, Robin DeMarco) morally disagree with her career path and her husband (Brooks Ryan) merely tolerates it. Despite the constant pressure of pro-life protesters outside the gates of her workplace, Abby holds firm. Even the birth of her own child (Andee Grace Burton) doesn’t dissuade her. Perhaps part of Abby’s conviction that she is doing good in the world comes from her secret past where she made similar decisions to deal with her own unexpected life events.
But then something unplanned happens to the zealous employee.
A busy work day requires her to help the doctor (Anthony Levatino) in one of the procedure rooms. Although she has witnessed emergencies where patients have bled excessively, handled the broken body parts of removed fetuses and even endured the bloody aftermath of her own chemically-induced abortion (all of which are graphically depicted in the movie), she has never before watched the ultrasound monitor while a baby was being sucked out of its mother’s womb. What Abby sees completely unnerves her. (It may have a similar effect on viewers.)
With this shocking understanding of what it really means to “terminate” a pregnancy, Abby turns to her enemies—the Christian pro-life advocates (Jared Lotz, Emma Elle Roberts) who have long stood on the other side of the fence. With their loving support, Abby quits her job and shortly thereafter joins their Coalition for Life.
Based on a true story, Abby Johnson’s unique experience allows her to share perspectives on the both sides of this controversial issue. But make no mistake, this is the tale of her conversion from abortion advocate to abortion opponent. As such, the narrated script (written by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman) includes rebuttals to many of the usual pro-choice arguments. As well, Abby’s boss (Robia Scott) is portrayed as cold-hearted and business-minded, while the Christians are seen as warm and forgiving.
Yet this obvious bias doesn’t change some uncomfortable truths. Whether you see the question as one of women’s rights or the rights of the unborn, either answer is going to involve significant suffering for those involved. Whether you call it a procedure or an abortion, it is still a medical experience that can be painful for the mother and is fatal to the fetus. Whether you label it a clump of cells or a baby, something that was growing and developing will be destroyed. And whether or not you try to be sensitive to both parties, these difficult choices come with consequences more far-reaching than either expected or planned.Directed by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon. Starring Ashley Bratcher, Brooks Ryan, and Robia Scott. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release March 29, 2019. Updated April 8, 2019
Watch the trailer for Unplanned
Rating & Content Info
Why is Unplanned rated R? Unplanned is rated R by the MPAA for some disturbing/bloody images
Violence: The murder of an abortion doctor is announced on the news and causes fear for others involved in the same field of work. Graphic depictions of blood are seen in medical situations. Abortions are shown, including the fetus being sucked out of the womb (shown on an ultrasound monitor) and coming out of the suction hose as a bloody fluid. A woman takes “morning after” medication that induces cramps and bleeding: excruciating pain and vomiting ensues, excessive bleeding and the passing of blood clots are shown. A very young woman bleeds abnormally after an abortion (blood is shown running down her leg and pooling around her foot): Medical staff try to stop the hemorrhaging but refuse to call an ambulance because doing so would harm the clinic’s reputation. Pieces of aborted fetuses are shown as they are being sorted. It is implied a large plastic barrel is filled with the remains of aborted fetuses. A conversation about late-term abortions mentions euthanizing the fetus, inducing labor and the birth/delivery of a stillborn child. Graphic pictures of aborted babies are briefly seen. Some family members plead with women not to have abortions, while others encourage them to do so. Some women cry while undergoing the procedure. Characters tell lies.
Sexual Content: Mild sexual innuendo is heard. It is both implied and stated that characters have engaged in sexual relationships that have led to unplanned pregnancies. Birth control is mentioned. Abortions are discussed and encouraged. Characters take pregnancy tests, and the positive results are shown. Couples kiss and a married couple as shown in bed together. Infidelity is mentioned.
Profanity: Two uses of mild profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Alcohol is drunk in social settings. Patients (both women and teens) are given medicine to induce a pregnancy miscarriage. During a medical emergency a doctor demands a patient receive a dangerously high dose of medication. Women are advised to take mild pain killers while recovering from painful medical procedures.
Page last updated April 8, 2019
Unplanned Parents' Guide
The movie begins with Abby narrating. She says that some people might think she was gullible or naïve to be able to work at Planned Parenthood for eight years before ever watching a real abortion. Yet we also see that she has had personal experience with the procedure, as well as handled aborted fetuses. What do you think it was about watching the baby on the ultrasound while the abortion took place that so profoundly changed her mind?How do you feel about abortion? Do you think anything could change the way you feel about it?
When was the last time you had a conversation with someone whose opinion on abortion differs from yours? Did you listen to what they had to say or did you try to change their beliefs to match yours? If you have listened to someone else’s opinions, what did you learn from them? Did you find any issues about which you were able to agree?
This is a sensitive issue. Given the sheer number of abortions that have been performed, it is most probable that you, or someone you know, has undergone this procedure. What reasons might a woman have for taking this course of action? Why might the experience be a painful one to talk about? Why do you think most women chose to keep this information secret?
Do you think the rights of the mother are more important than the rights of the fetus? Or do you believe that the rights of the unborn child supersede the rights of the mother? Can you think of any way to balance the rights of both mother and baby?
Do you believe abortion should be banned in all circumstances? Do you believe abortion should always be legal and available? Or do you believe that some restrictions are appropriate?
Abby originally gets involved with Planned Parenthood because she wants to prevent abortions by promoting birth control as a way decrease crisis pregnancies. How do you feel about this approach to unplanned conception?
Do you believe abortion is an issue that is best solved through the courts? Or do you believe that the solutions to the abortion issue are primarily social, cultural, and economic?
Learn more about Planned Parenthood.
Learn more about the Coalition for Life
Loved this movie? Try these books…
This movie is based on the book by Abby Johnson and Cindy Lambert. Entitled Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey Across the Life Line, the book was published in 2014. Abby Johnson has also written, with Kristin Detrow, The Walls Are Talking: Former Abortion Clinic Workers Tell Their Stories.
Why do women have abortions? 1 in 3: These Are Our Stories features first person accounts from women who have chosen to end their pregnancies.
Why would doctors perform abortions? In his professional memoir, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, physician Dr. Willie Parker explains how his Christian faith leads him to perform abortions for women in crisis. Other abortion providers have changed their minds: Dr. Bernard Nathanson performed over 60,000 abortions before discovering his religious faith and embarking on a new life’s mission. His story is told in The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind.
Related home video titles:
Viewers looking for more films about the painful topic of abortion from a pro-life perspective will enjoy October Baby. This film tells the story of a young woman who learns she was adopted as an infant after surviving a botched abortion.In Juno, a sixteen-year-old girl discovers she is pregnant and has to decide what to do next. In Knocked Up, a woman faces the reality of a pregnancy that results from a one night stand