By Jim Sedlak
I went to see the movie Unplanned on Thursday night, March 28—the day before the official release to over 1,000 theaters across the country. It is a hard-hitting movie (see the Culture of Life Studies Program’s analysis) about Planned Parenthood as told by Abby Johnson.
Abby volunteered at Planned Parenthood in her junior year at Texas A&M and stayed with the organization for the next eight years. She rose in the ranks from volunteer to paid employee to counselor and, finally, to director of the Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan, Texas. It was noted that she was the youngest clinic director in Planned Parenthood’s history. Along the way, she won the Planned Parenthood Employee-of-the-Year award from her affiliate.
As this tremendous movie unfolds, Abby begins to witness things that don’t fit the public image that Planned Parenthood portrays, including a time when the abortionist perforated the uterus of a teenage girl. As the girl is rushed from the recovery room back to the table she had been on for the abortion, Abby wants to call 911 and get an ambulance there before the girl bleeds to death. The manager of the clinic stops her from making the call, telling her that 911 calls are public information, and, if an ambulance came, the pro-lifers out front would take a picture. It is clear that the manager was more concerned about saving Planned Parenthood’s reputation than saving the girl.
The film depicts other instances, but the major image-breaker happens after Abby becomes manager. The Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan was very active in doing abortions. Even though Abby believed that Planned Parenthood really wanted to make abortion rare, she admits to the fact that over 22,000 abortions took place while she was there.
The movie also depicts a meeting of clinic directors at the affiliate’s headquarters in Houston. At that meeting, the directors are told that the affiliate is not generating the income it needs and that, effective immediately, each clinic was required to double the number of abortions committed at its clinic. Abby is aghast. She suddenly realizes that Planned Parenthood was not trying to reduce abortions and was, in fact, relying on them for more and more income.
When ABC News asked Planned Parenthood officials about the movie, they claimed that the movie promotes “falsehoods . . . distortions and incorrect depictions about healthcare.” Of course, Planned Parenthood defines its healthcare as including birth control, cancer screenings, well-woman visits, LGBTQ health, HIV prevention, abortion, sex education, STD testing, pregnancy testing, HPV vaccines, the morning-after pill, and reproductive health. So, killing more babies to increase income is just healthcare in Planned Parenthood’s eyes.
When people are discussing this movie, they mention the bloody scenes along with the ultrasound-guided abortion that was the final thing that motivated Abby to leave Planned Parenthood and walk across the street to the Coalition for Life offices. For me, the documentation during the movie of the real nature of the attitudes of Planned Parenthood leadership is what was striking. It reminded me of the Center for Medical Progress videos about Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts business. More horrifying than the actual baby body parts was the callousness of the Planned Parenthood leaders. They discussed the parts of human beings as if they were no more important than automobile parts. That same feeling came across during this film.
For many years, as I traveled across the country educating people on Planned Parenthood, the name of my talk was “Planned Parenthood—It’s Not What You Think.” Anyone who sees this movie will begin to see behind the carefully laid Planned Parenthood façade and begin to understand the real nature of the nation’s largest abortion chain.
Abby was not the first person to leave Planned Parenthood, and hundreds more have followed her. People ask why Abby has always received more attention for her departure. The answer is that Planned Parenthood tried to make an example of her. Immediately after she left, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against her and members of the Coalition for Life. Planned Parenthood issued press statements and made it clear it was going to destroy her. The movie addresses this effort by Planned Parenthood and its eventual outcome.
After Abby left, people began asking who this Abby Johnson was and why Planned Parenthood was so worried about her. So, much to Planned Parenthood’s chagrin, Abby spoke all over the country, wrote a memoir, and now has seen her story made into a major motion picture. If we “let go and let God,” He will use us for whatever He wants to be accomplished. We pray that, through this movie, people will see Planned Parenthood for what it is.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a talk show on the Radio Maria Network. He has been successfully fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.