Written by: Jazmine Cooper
OKWU was offering Chapel credit to students for coming to Lyon Hall to watch the movie Unplanned, a film about a Planned Parenthood director who had an experience that made her change her stance on abortion. For those who were not able to go, here is a detailed review of the film.
The film opens with a seemingly innocent Abby Johnson sitting in her desk, wearing nursing scrubs, working at her desk. You can hear an Abby from the present narrating that her story is not a good one. A nurse comes in and asks her if she could come in and help with an operation. She hesitantly stands and heads to the procedure room. When the door opens the audience can see a young woman in stirrups and a nursing gown, and the doctor ready to perform the procedure. Abby grabs the ultrasound wand at the doctor’s request and finds the baby for him. He then inserts the catheter; which Abby can see the baby move away from. You can see in her face that she did not expect this, as she was always taught the baby could not feel anything, as it was not a human yet. Then, in a horrific and disgusting moment, the audience watches the baby be sucked from the womb into the tube.
This moment is jarring and horrible to watch, and I did not expect to see it within the first ten minutes of the movie. When hearing the doctor say, jokingly, “Beam me up, Scotty,” I was traumatized that he seemed totally unphased by what he was doing. And then the camera shifts to the ultrasound where you literally see the child being sucked into the tube. As the camera turns to Abby, you can see the emotion in her eyes – the disgust in her eyes that this is what happens in an abortion. After the procedure, Abby runs out of the room and sobs in the bathroom. She is so distraught the other employees have no idea what to do.
Then the film cuts to eight years earlier, giving Abby’s background and how she first learned about Planned Parenthood. She was first introduced to this organization at a college fair. This leads to her to volunteer there, where she feels she is defending women’s equal rights. That is her defense throughout the movie – she is defending the woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. And she was taught at the clinic that the baby could not feel anything, that it was is just fetal matter without awareness. And that is what she told girls who would come in for counseling, needing convinced to have the procedure.
The film does a good job of looking at Abby’s life and deciding what was important to feature. They basically tell her story from the time that she had an abortion herself when she first went to college to when she is standing outside the fence of her former clinic, telling girls not to go in because it is such a brutal procedure. Her arc as a character is so intriguing, and it was a strange revelation to realize that she is a real person who went through these things.
The film is also very informative about what happens in an abortion, and how the clinic is run. Abby, at one point, recalls the process of an abortion performed in the third trimester, which is the final gestation period in pregnancy. There are scenes from inside the recovery room, where girls are tossed around like ragdolls after their procedures. There is one scene in the POC room, which stands for Products of Conception. In there, the staff must piece together the baby, so the doctors know they did not leave anything in the patient’s uterus.
We see her, after witnessing the ultrasound abortion, turn her beliefs completely around, realizing what she has done. It is through this realization that she fears she has lost God’s salvation because she has assisted in over 22,000 abortions. But she is assured that God is merciful, which is a reminder that everyone needs now and then.
While these are dark things to talk about, as well as to see, it is important for everyone who is involved in the abortion conversation to know this about the procedure and the aftermath. This film is truly educational from both sides of the debate, but it leans very clearly one way – the prolife way. In my opinion that is the correct side of the debate, as we can see through the film. The bluntness seen from the people within the clinic and the Planned Parenthood administration about how they are kept open by abortions and they don’t really care much for the other services they perform. That is a dark truth, but it is shown in the film, and Abby has talked about it in her organization, And Then There Were None. This is an organization she created to help people working in the abortion field to get out.
Overall, this film was beautifully done despite a disgusting subject. Abby’s story is eloquently told, with twists and turns that make you root for her despite what she is doing, hoping that she will realize she does not know the true ramifications of what she is telling these girls to do. Once you reach the end of the film, you will have cried at least twice, but knowing that to be on the side of justice is to stand with the ones who do not have a voice, those whose lives are being taken without their consent. It is not just a woman’s body, it a a woman’s body creating another life that starts as soon as it is conceived.