If you knew a woman who was pregnant who had 8 kids already, three of whom were deaf, two were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis; would you recommend that she have an abortion?
It’s an emotive issue. It’s a taboo topic. It’s a divisive discussion but it’s one that is again front and centre in our society.
A new movie is adding fuel to this fire as “Unplanned” shares the story of Abby Johnson. How did the youngest director in Planned Parenthood history join the Coalition for Life?
Her memoir has been out since 2011 so why did it take so long to turn it into a movie? Some would say there has been divine timing along the way and the more I discover about the story behind the movie the more I wonder.
Before I go any further I should warn you that if you haven’t seen the film yet this is your spoiler alert.
I was recently invited to watch a pre-screening in Australia. The production team were visiting trying to secure a distribution deal. It’s already opened in cinemas in USA and they are still trying to get it into other countries. Why is the story of one woman’s life meeting with such resistance?
During the Q&A session one thing really stood out to me. One of the producers, Daryl C. Lefever shared that in America the movie was rated R by the MPAA. That was a first for its American distributor Pure Flix; they had been expecting a PG-13 rating. So what gave it the R rating? It has no graphic sex, swearing, or violence, which some PG-13 movies do. What caused them to rate it R based on the realistic yet graphic abortion related scenes? Especially when a 15 year old in America can get an abortion without their parent’s consent but they can’t see this movie without adult supervision.
When I went home and watched the behind the scenes documentary I was even more astounded about the story behind the movie. To be the week before shooting and not having the lead actress is not how one wants to start shooting a film. The last person the directors had to choose from was Ashley Bratcher who went on to portray Abby Johnson.
Thinking about an abortion
Ashley grew up knowing that her mum thought about aborting her. She grew up knowing she didn’t have an older brother or sister due to her mother’s previous abortion. What she didn’t know until she was telling her mother about her new movie role was that her mom was in an abortion clinic while pregnant with her when with seconds to spare she walked out.
30 years later she now is selected for this movie role without anyone involved in the movie knowing this part of her story.
With an estimated 1.5 billion abortions worldwide since 1980 for a planet with a population of only about 7.5 billion people, is a mind boggling number. But behind the numbers are lives like Ashley’s. In the question I asked at the start of this post, the person it describes is Beethoven. Can you imagine a world without his music? What about a world without everything that others have created based off the inspiration he gave them?
I don’t know what advice Beethoven’s mother would have received at the time, but we do know what advice Andrea Bocelli mother received. She rejected doctor’s advice to abort him and I am one of millions of people that are thankful she did.
With 79% of abortion facilities being in minority neighbourhoods in America how many world changers, leaders, role models never had a chance to impact this world.
I’m not here to convince you to change your mind, all I’m asking is that you watch the movie when you get a chance. Abby had the courage to share her story, do you have the courage to watch it?
The same questions Ashley asked when accepting this movie role, I’ve asked in writing this post. I couldn’t live another year and not write it. Abby’s story and the wider conversation is one that we need to feel free to talk about in a loving supportive way.
Let me leave you this month with this duet from Andrea Bocelli and Céline Dion.
Next month: Why would an Australian celebrate the 4th July?
Neville Hiatt’s previous posts for Press Services International can be read here. He spent a decade working for Radio Stations before his career was intermissioned by someone in a hurry to get home from work. He now runs http://nevillehiatt.com where he shares his desire to Inspire, Create, Motivate, and Educate through his photography, poetry and short stories. He occasionally blogs for http://altcoincollege.com/ covering the way cryptocurrencies and blockchain are changing our world.