House Church Central Goes to the Movies

Screenplay: Gary Solomon, Chuck Konzelman. Produced by Chris Jones, Joe Knopp, Daryl Lefever, Cary Solomon, Chuck Konzelman. Directed by Cary Solommon and Chuck Konzelman. Released by Pure Flix.

The movie "Unplanned" closely follows the book of the same title from which it is derived, and presents the true story of the book's author, Abby Johnson, as she enters a career in Planned Parenthood, starting as a volunteer, eventually becoming the clinic director, and then suddenly repudiating that career after witnessing an actual abortion procedure. There are pro-choice church members who will hate this movie, but I suspect pro-life viewers will welcome it tearfully.

The fact that abortion is such a binary issue in our society suggests that showing this film can increase divisions. I'm therefore reticent to recommend this for general viewing within the church unless you are prepared to take that risk. James Dobson once offered the challenge "Where is the Church?" while discussing abortion in America, but pastors who bring the subject of abortion into the pulpit are too often summarily dismissed from their calling.

The plot pits the abortion clinic and the organization behind it against a Christian group that amasses behind the clinic’s fence every day that abortions are performed, praying and trying to dissuade clients from going through with the procedure. The protesters eventually prevail, forcing the clinic's closure. But the film is of value not so much because of its plot, but because of the education that it gives its viewers about the goings-on inside the walls of such a place: the hard-hearted doctors and assistants; the formula used to calculate the fee; the horrible POC room; the high-school girl who nearly dies; the refusal to show the ultra-sound images to the patients; the manipulative lies offered as "counseling"; the evil of Abby's supervisor and the motives of the organization behind her. Do Christians need to know about these things? That is a question that you need to answer yourself before watching the film yourself or daring to show it to others.

There is an interesting back story on the disc on the making of the film, which needed to get around huge financial obstacles. Like most Christian films, the film makers were convinced that these problems could only have been overcome by God's help. We also learn that the actor playing Abby (Ashley Bratcher) was herself a survivor of her mother’s decision to abort her.

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