Naomi Knoch, SEARCH Apprentice Writer[TheChristians.com] In 25 years, no movie has been more requested than ‘Unplanned’ at Lethbridge’s Movie Mill, according to theatre manager Leonard Binning. But his was the only theatre in the city to screen it. The controversial movie was met with road blocks, boycotters, and political agendas before it finally made it into select Canadian theatres.
VIDEO: [Matthew West] Official Music Video for “Unplanned” by Matthew West. [Mar. 22, 2019]
Despite the movie’s U.S. release three and a half months ago, Canadian distributors remained obstinate about showing the film.
‘Unplanned’ is a heart-wrenchingly true portrayal of one woman’s journey from deep inside the world of pro-choice, Planned Parenthood and abortion to becoming a pro-life author and activist.
The film examines abortion from the viewpoint of someone who saw everything first hand, experienced two abortions and was a catalyst for about 20,000 more.
Dismissed by critics as an “awful anti-abortion movie,” ‘Unplanned’ drew fierce antagonism. The producers were turned away by Canadian film distributors they approached, due to the alleged “religious propaganda” content. (Shortly after its release in the U.S., it was screened once in Ottawa for Canadian lawmakers, and was brought to Edmonton in May by Harvest Ministries, drawing nearly 3,000 viewers.)
After a fight by the film’s producers and pro-life Canadians to bring it to Canada, Cineplex agreed to screen ‘Unplanned’ for one week in 14 of its 164 locations, along with Landmark Cinemas and other independent theatres.
Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob wrote an open letter to the public explaining his decision to screen the film. “Living in a country that censors content, opinions and points of view because they are different from our own is not a country that any of us would want to live in.”
The film’s opening night was July 12th. Predictably, there were protesters outside several theatres.
Binning’s decision to show the film was not due to personal beliefs.
“If there’s a unique opportunity we’ll take it. Not that it’s all about money. Every movie should invite discussion. As soon as we boycott one movie and shut it down we can do it to any movie someone finds offensive.”
Binning received many rude, threatening emails and calls. “Nothing where we felt scared for our safety, just a lot of personal attacks. Basically, I’ve been termed a horrible white male who doesn’t have a womb and hates women,” said Binning.
He brought in extra security, mostly to ensure the safety of his young staff.
What is it about ‘Unplanned’ that pro-abortionists don’t want people to see? Seemingly, anything unsuited to their ideology is deemed offensive, intolerant and must be banned.
‘Unplanned’ isn’t a film you’ll soon forget.
It’s honest, beautiful and brutal.
The Movie Mill’s recent 6:30 p.m. showing was sold out. People were turned away.
‘Unplanned’ opens with Abby Johnson’s voice (Ashley Bratcher) dispelling hope of a nice, clean narrative. “My story isn’t an easy one to hear, better warn you of that up front.” She continues: “It might make you squirm a bit.”
Johnson, the successful director of a Texas Planned Parenthood clinic has eight years of experience in the abortion industry.
One of the first scenes shows the pivotal moment that changed Johnson’s life – her first time assisting with an abortion. After being called into the back room due to a staff shortage, Johnson is shocked when she sees a perfectly formed baby on the ultrasound screen. Her shock turns to concern as she watches the baby jerking away from the doctor’s deadly implements.
The doctor is unmoved by Johnson’s concern, the struggling infant, the young mother crying out in pain.
Johnson watches the ‘procedure’ unfold over the ultrasound monitor. Her worry turns to horrified disbelief as the fetus is ripped apart limb from limb and sucked from the uterus.
I felt sickened at the reality of what I’d just seen. More appalling, this gruesome death of a tiny human being isn’t a singular occurrence.
The theatre fell silent. A woman beside me put her popcorn away.
‘Unplanned’ comes at a time when abortion is the societal norm in Canada where every form of abortion, including late term, is a legal right.
In 1969 former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau legalized abortion. Since then, according to Jojo Ruba, president of Faith Beyond Belief and a pro-life activist, there have been about two million abortions.
In the U.S., there have been about 61 million abortions since the 1973 Roe v. Wade landmark Supreme Court decision that deemed a woman has the right to choose.
What about women who are pressured into unwanted abortions?
‘Unplanned’ highlights this by showing one young woman almost bleeding to death after a procedure, others dropped off and routinely abandoned by their boyfriends.
The film shows the struggle it takes to arrive at a decision to abort and the damaging effects that remain.
If abortion activists favour equal rights and freedoms, why the desperate attempt to shut down this film?
Maybe it’s truth they’re afraid of.
Ruba sees the controversy as positive; “Thank God for everyone who fought it, they got way more people to watch it.”
According to Andrea Zahn, Program Director of Cardus Family, the “realness” of the film drew the forcible opposition. “If it’s well done and a personal story then you can’t argue with it. I think that’s a threat,” said Zahn.
When the film ended and the credits rolled to Matthew West’s single ‘Unplanned’, the audience cheered and applauded.
Lethbridge’s Reinhard Mark said the film was “amazing” and mothers need to be aware of alternative choices and not be pressured into an abortion that will scar them forever. “Life in a womb is life no matter how many weeks,” he said.
It hasn’t all been an uphill battle for ‘Unplanned.’
Mike Lindell, former drug-addict turned Christian and CEO of MyPillow Inc. donated $1 million of the movie’s $6 million budget. Lindell had a cameo as a construction worker at the end, bulldozing the Planned Parenthood sign in front of the closed-down clinic as crowds of pro-life supporters cheered him on.
After leaving Planned Parenthood Johnson founded the organization And Then There Were None (ATTWN), helping abortion workers find new vocations by providing emotional, financial and legal aid. Johnson wants to “love workers out of the clinics.”
It saddens me to realize afresh how deeply the ghastly reality of abortion is engrained in our society, yet at the same time I’m reminded: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
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