All Abby Johnson ever wanted to do was help women. As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, she believed in a woman's right to choose. Until the day she saw something that changed everything.
A lonely woman befriends a group of teenagers and decides to let them party at her house. Just when the kids think their luck couldn't get any better, things start happening that make them question the intention of their host.
As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, Abby Johnson was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women on their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman's right to choose led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in. Until the day she saw something that changed everything.
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Surprisingly Balanced; Not Just for Religious Viewers
Before I write this review, I want to explain a bit about my background. Unlike the target audience for this film, I am not a religious Christian. I am from a secular-Jewish family and consider myself an atheist. I've been pro-choice for most of my life, but I realized last year that I was only pro-choice by default. My opinion on the topic was based on only hearing one side of the story for my whole life. Everything I read and saw was pro-choice. Every person I knew was pro-choice. A couple of years ago, I met some pro-life women, and I was surprised that they were not the "ignorant" people I've always been told they were. These were competent, educated, professional women, some in medical fields. I was told that they were against women's rights, but they were mothers who had been through pregnancy and childbirth; they had daughters who could be affected by the abortion issue in their lifetime. They weren't "anti-woman" by any means. So, I decided to do more research and consider the other side of the story.
I encourage other pro-choice people to do the same by viewing this film. You can not have an informed opinion on controversial issues without researching both pro and con points of view. I have not read the book "Unplanned," but I have viewed several of Abby's Johnson's speeches, and this film stayed true to her account of her experience working for Planned Parenthood. Although I expect, like all biopics, some artistic license must have been taken with the story.
I'm a screenwriter who has had films optioned and I have worked in development as a full-time Story Analyst. Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman have crafted an engaging adaptation. Since I had prior knowledge of Mrs. Johnson's story, the film was predictable for me, but I was still emotionally involved in the main character's journey from start to finish. The dramatization puts you in Abby Johnson's shoes, in the way that listening to a speech can not. It's never easy to take someone's real life and put it into a three-act structure with a satisfying character arc. but Solomon and Konzelman were up to the task.
At this point, I am not going to label myself either pro-life or pro-choice. Whether you think abortion should be legal or not, Abby Johnson's story reveals that Planned Parenthood is not perfect and needs improvement. Profits from abortion are a priority, so counselors are less medical professionals than salespersons. The counselors do not always give accurate information to the pregnant women who come in, and they mislead them, or withhold information about fetal development and the actual abortion procedure. I have spoken to women who had abortions as teenagers, who now regret it, and some of them have told me that they felt Planned Parenthood misled them and did not help them make an informed decision about their pregnancy. This film is important because it brings those issues to light. You don't have to be a religious person to appreciate that no woman should undergo a medical procedure without being fully informed about it.
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