The film Unplanned tells the story of Abby Johnson, erstwhile director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, TX. It is based on her book of the same title. Ms. Johnson first joined Planned Parenthood as a volunteer when she was a student at Texas A&M in nearby College Station, TX. She eventually rose to become the director of the Bryan clinic. Her growing unease with Planned Parenthood’s policies and procedures culminates with her participation in an abortion with the aid of sonography. Visualization of the process finally pushes her over the edge and she quits, becoming an anti-abortion activist. She has previously told her story in speeches.
As expected this film as been controversial, leading Google to label the film as propaganda. The film is certainly polemical. Any film with a point of view could arguably be labeled as propaganda but that would mean almost everything coming out of Hollywood is propaganda. By applying the word this way it loses all meaning. Unplanned is reasonably balanced. People on both sides of the issue are generally portrayed as being well-intentioned rather than good or evil. The main exception is Ms. Johnson’s superior at Planned Parenthood, who is the film’s villain. Some of the anti-abortion activists are also depicted as being less than well-behaved.
I found the film both moving and disturbing. Though not especially squeamish, I had to look away on a couple of occasions. One cannot come away from viewing it without being affected. There have been complaints that the film is rated R but the rating is not unreasonable given the nature of the material. It would be inadvisable to take a child to see it. The film has a fair amount of reference to religious faith. From the point of view of a non-believer, this is not central to the film’s message; the film stands on its facts and arguments, along with some tugging at the heart-strings.