I had no idea what Planned Parenthood was…until I got to college.
I stumbled upon it when I moved into my freshman dorm at Boston University’s west campus. There was one large grocery store a few blocks up Commonwealth Avenue, and next to it was the Planned Parenthood Greater Boston Health Center.
Sometimes I would see protesters around it holding signs, sometimes I saw people standing a few feet away trying to talk to those walking in, and sometimes people were just praying.
It was all new to me.
I was blessed to grow up in a home and school community where academics, sports, and school activities were at the epicenter of my teenage years. The closest Planned Parenthood was six miles away in a town my family and friends infrequently visited.
Needless to say, it came as a shock to me to have one within walking distance of where I lived. While I never walked through those doors, I quickly learned what happened in that building. Or rather, what they wanted us to know.
Planned Parenthood’s messaging was well done and pervasive throughout campus. They presented themselves as a women’s health center where you can go to ask questions, learn about safe-sex practices, and get birth control.
Like Abby Johnson, I thought they were a women’s health center designed to help women in need. I could not have been more wrong.
When I watched Unplanned, I ugly cried for two hours in a theater full of strangers. They were crying, too.
It was not easy to keep my eyes open all the time, but I wanted to face the truth. Unplanned reveals two important truths about Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry, and the victims who are ensnared by the lies.
First, Planned Parenthood is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, luring women in under the guise of protection and in turn convincing them that their only option is an abortion.
Like Abby, many are convinced by Planned Parenthood’s lie that it wants to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” It’s a lie that Abby continues to tell herself as she moves up in the ranks of Planned Parenthood. But the movie reveals Planned Parenthood’s true motivation: profit. And how do they profit? Through providing more abortions, not fewer.
One line in the movie struck me as particularly telling – when a Planned Parenthood executive told Abby, “America wants abortions.”
She was not entirely wrong.
I thought of the image of the New York State Senate Chamber erupting in cheers and applause as Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the late-term abortion bill.
Countless people, particularly young people, have fallen prey to the lies that the abortion industry tells: Abortion is not murder but merely a choice. And unfortunately, Planned Parenthood, and other abortion giants, are the only ones that benefit.
The second truth Unplanned revealed was this: Those that work for the abortion industry are also created in God’s image, and we should be praying for them, too.
The individuals working for Planned Parenthood and advocating for abortion are smart, well-educated, and, like Abby, live a normal life outside of their work.
Take Dr. Leana Wen, the new President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, for example. This week, she hosted, along with others, the We The People 19 Membership Summit. As her bio on the conference page states, she is a Rhodes Scholar and was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard, not to mention the numerous awards she has received for public health.
As difficult as that may be for us, we must not forget that. They need our prayers, too.
In the movie, Marilisa from the pro-life group, 40 Days for Life, connects with Abby on the first day she begins to volunteer at Planned Parenthood. Viewers see that relationship grow as Abby climbs the Planned Parenthood corporate ladder, gets married, and has a child.
Despite the fact that Abby worked for Planned Parenthood, Marilisa continued to pray for her. Marilisa’s strong witness and Christ-like love should encourage Christians and non-Christians alike.
Prayer is the glimmer of light in the darkness that is the abortion industry. We should pray not only for the lives lost due to abortion, the women who went through the ordeal, but also for those that are in there with them – the receptionists, nurses, doctors, counselors, and even those that work for third-party companies hired by Planned Parenthood.
Unplanned is not an easy movie to watch. Abortion is not an easy truth to face. But the desire for comfort should not deter us from facing an uncomfortable truth because only then will we be driven to action with prayer.
If I close my eyes now, I can still see in full clarity the ultrasound monitor during the abortion Abby witnessed. Yes, it still brings me to tears.
But, it also reaffirms my resolve to protect the precious lives about to be lost to a lie perpetuated by Planned Parenthood.