Filmmakers hope ‘Unplanned’ helps end abortion

Photo courtesy of "Unplanned"

Slated for release March 29, the movie Unplanned tells the story of how Abby Johnson (played by Ashley Bratcher) rises in the ranks of Planned Parenthood to become the youngest clinic director in the nation. Her world — and what she believed about Planned Parenthood — comes crashing down when she’s asked to help assist with an abortion and witnesses the humanity of the unborn.

Johnson left Planned Parenthood and became a prolife activist. The movie is based on her book of the same title.

On set, Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, the writers and directors of the movie, spoke with Catholic Digest about why they made the film and how their lives have been impacted by abortion. Both men are Catholic.

Q: Do you think that now is the perfect time for a movie like Unplanned?

Konzelman: Planned Parenthood is so deeply entrenched in American life and has made itself a trusted brand, which is amazing. It’s very, very hard to dig abortion out of American society.

Solomon: I do think the time has come from a Catholic perspective. The Virgin has said that she will end abortion and that is not something we should take lightly. When Jesus says something — when the Virgin says something — it happens. God does not lie, and he’s going to put an end to abortion. I see it; I know that Planned Parenthood is on the defensive. They’re falling backward, losing facilities and people. You have people like Abby Johnson with her organization, And Then There Were None, helping people to leave the industry.

Photo courtesy of “Unplanned”

Konzelman: Johnson’s ministry has helped almost 500 abortion workers leave.

Solomon: Victory is near; it’s just a matter of paying the price. I believe that this movie is coming out at the exact time for that. Six years ago, when we started to do the movie, the Lord said, “Not yet.” Four years later, he dropped the spirit on us. The Lord said to us, “I am about to do a mighty thing — something that’s going to change the world.” He’s talking about the end of abortion. He’s talking about Christianity coming back to our country — a transforming revival. I believe part of that is this new uprising of Christian filmmakers. It’s an exciting time if you believe.

Konzelman: Abby’s story has the potential to be for the abortion issue what Uncle Tom’s Cabin was for slavery. It can be the spark that ignites the great conflagration.

Q: Why did you make the Unplanned movie? Did you read Johnson’s book?

Solomon: A friend of ours, Megan Harrington, came to us and said, “You need to read this book; you need to make it a movie.” We read it, and we agreed. We were called to make the movie. It’s not the kind of subject that you say, “Hey listen, I’ve got nothing better to do this weekend. Let’s go make an abortion movie.”

Konzelman: We would rather make movies about angry men who fire powerful handguns at one another. This is proof that the Lord has a great sense of humor that he’s assigned us to make a chick flick about human reproduction, but here we are.

Photo courtesy of “Unplanned”


Q: I’m wondering if you have been impacted personally by abortion. Have you?

Solomon: I have several women in my family that have had abortions. They have come to Christ since then.

Konzelman: Mine has been touched, too. Ironically, my father was supposed to have been aborted, and it was not an unwed mother situation. His mother was extremely ill during the pregnancy and the doctor, a member of the family, said, “Look, I have to abort the baby or you’re not going to make it.” My grandmother said, “No, you’re not doing it.” She underwent a great deal of danger and suffering, and my father was born. So, if abortion had been her choice, I wouldn’t be around. And our lead actress, I don’t know if you heard that she’s an abortion survivor? There’s no family left unscathed when it comes to abortion in this day and age.

Photo courtesy of “Unplanned”

Q: Do you think your film could help post-abortive women?

Konzelman: Absolutely, we designed for that.

Solomon: We’re not looking to condemn anyone. We’re not looking to say, “You’re wrong. You’re nasty. You’re bad.” That’s not the goal. They’ll accuse us of that, but it’s not about condemnation. The film is about forgiveness. We’re saying, “Look, you can find peace. You can purge yourself of this pain.”

Konzelman: Abby was responsible — complicit to 22,000 abortions — including two of her own. She found repentance and forgiveness. She knows she is absolutely forgiven — grace is there. Grace usually comes after repentance. Repentance usually comes after some tears. So yes, it’s a hard, uncomfortable road, but in the end, there was grace, mercy, love, and peace.


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