Our team saw Unplanned last week. We viewed the movie through the eyes of both parents and educators. God willing, Unplanned will change many hearts and minds.
If you view this movie through the eyes of a pro-life warrior, you will see how it has the potential to affect the culture in a way that no other movie has. You will see the potential to open the eyes of the blind pro-choicer to the horror of abortion and to awaken the slumbering pro-lifer to become more active. From the callousness of the abortion clinic workers as they joked about the code on the door being 2229, saying it’s easy to remember because it spells BABY, to the heart-wrenching scenes depicting abortion, to the intensely portrayed agony over what Abby had been complicit in, this movie will stay with you for a long time. In our opinion, the most impactful scene in the entire movie is the CGI recreation of an actual abortion, which is seen on a sonogram. The reality of a baby fighting a losing battle for his life—and then suddenly gone—will hopefully awaken those with hardened hearts and stir those already pro-life to be more active.
If you view this movie through the eyes of a parent or grandparent, you may see something different. In all honesty, thinking about the innocence of pre-teens and early teens (and we know this will not be a popular thing to say), we believe that the movie does in fact deserve the R rating it received—if for no other reason than to make parents think twice about taking their children before viewing it themselves. There is no inappropriate language. No sex. No nudity. But there is a scene where the main character has had an abortion after using RU-486, and it is quite graphic. The intense, heartbreaking, and traumatic scene involves a large amount of blood, including blood clots being expelled from Abby’s body. In addition, a scene depicting a botched abortion also shows a lot of blood, as a young girl nearly dies. We realize that there is no way to portray the nature of what abortion is and how it is done without being graphic, but these scenes may chip away at the innocence of young teens, should you choose to expose them to it, particularly if they are innocent/pure. We understand that so many have bought into the lies of the abortion industry that these graphic scenes are probably necessary to wake adults from their slumber. However, we also know that we must do everything we can to preserve the innocence of our children and teens.
Our mission at the Culture of Life Studies Program is to equip parents and educators to deliver the truth in charity, to always respect parents as the primary educators of their children, and to protect the innocence of children. So our advice with Unplanned is to see it first and then decide what is best for your family. This should not be a decision that you take lightly.
There is a great focus on making sure that Unplanned is a box office hit, but it should not come at the sacrifice of the innocence of children and young or still-pure teens.
It is also good to keep in mind that many have been hurt by the effects of abortion, whether directly or indirectly, and we all process that hurt and those experiences differently. Children and teens will process the horror of abortion in many different ways as well. If you do take your teens to see this movie, we recommend that you have discussions both before and after and be prepared to offer reassurance even during the movie—especially if abortion has directly impacted your family.
There are many good people and organizations in the pro-life movement, and there are many different strategies for bringing an end to the horrible evil that is abortion. Unplanned is an important part of this. We pray that this movie is a success, that it changes hearts and minds, and that the Holy Spirit works through those in the theater and helps to heal our culture.
We are working on a study guide to accompany this movie for older high school and college students. Be on the lookout for that in the next few weeks. If you see or have seen the movie, we’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions about what you’d like to see covered in the study guide. Send any comments or questions to Mary Flores at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless and protect you and your children/students as you work to build a culture of life in your homes and classrooms.
– The CLSP Team
“I just read the CLSP blog about Unplanned. It’s a very good, thoughtful article! Thank you for the work you do!”
– Theresa P, mom of 11 and lifelong pro-life advocate
“Thank you for this wise commentary.”