Abby Johnson, left, is seen on the set of the movie Unplanned with actress Ashley Bratcher, who plays her. The movie details the story of Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood administrator who quit that job to join the pro-life movement after her up-close interaction with abortion. CNS photo/courtesy Unplanned

Film puts pro-life cause into dramatic spotlight

By 
  • April 20, 2019

OTTAWA - During a week of lobbying on Parliament Hill, pro-life representatives from across Canada on April 10 viewed the only Canadian screening of Unplanned, a movie about the abortion industry.

Unplanned tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood facility in the United States who became a pro-life advocate after viewing an ultrasound of an abortion. It opened fourth in the box office on its first weekend in late March, and has continued to do surprisingly well in the box office south of the border.

There is no Canadian distributor for the film, though the producers hope the film’s early success will spark interest.

“When they first offered me this role, they warned me I was going to be blacklisted,” said Ashley Bratcher, the actress playing Johnson. “They didn’t warn me I was going to become an activist.

“My eyes have just been opened,” Bratcher told the pro-life representatives and MPs at the screening. “Like most of the general population, they don’t know what happens in an abortion procedure.

“A silent holocaust is taking place behind closed doors that no one sees,” she said. “Now we have a face for that victim.”

Bratcher, who experienced an unplanned pregnancy during a relationship with her childhood sweetheart, knew abortion was not an option, so she married the father and gave up her dream of acting for several years in order to raise their son.

When Joe Knopp, producer of Unplanned, was looking for someone to play Johnson in the film, he knew he would be casting a “powerful role for someone to carry far beyond the movie,” he said. “We drew up a dream list, someone with the heart, mind and ability to carry the story forward for years to come,” he said. Bratcher fulfilled those expectations “way beyond what we were able to imagine.”

Bratcher told the audience she was horrified to learn Canada has no law restricting abortion throughout nine months of pregnancy. “The States went wild when New York dropped any limits on abortion,” Bratcher said. “When I start tweeting, I promise you are going to have some allies in America who will be fighting for you.”

The screening capped the second annual Parliamentary Pro-Life Week that saw representatives of political and educational pro-life groups from across Canada meet in Ottawa with MPs from all political parties, regardless of their position on abortion. An estimated 90 meetings with various politicians took place during the week of April 8.

The groups included Campaign Life Coalition, Right Now, the National Campus Life Network, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Life Canada and Alliance for Life Ontario.

Laura Klassen, founder and director of Choice for Two (choice42.com), an online movement directed to women with unplanned pregnancies, told guests at a reception prior to the film that said she has discovered there are plenty of “closet prolifers.”

“There are so many not speaking up or not standing up for this issue because the proabortion side has been brilliant with their marketing for years,” she said. “They’ve taken the focus off what abortion really is, which is the slaughter of human beings, and put it on to women’s rights and bodily autonomy, which is just lies because a woman does not abort her own body.

“It is not politically correct to be pro-life in Canada,” she said. “You know what? Screw that!

“The number one reason why women are getting an abortion is coercion, from the father of the baby or their parents,” she said. “Women always say, ‘I don’t want to get an abortion, but I don’t have any choice.’ How’s that for choice?”

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