Controversial anti-abortion movie 'Unplanned' now showing in the Philippines
Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (Philstar.com) - August 23, 2019 - 11:19am

MANILA, Philippines — The controversial documentary movie "Unplanned," which had a box office success in the US despite a restricted screening and has revived anti-abortion politics, is showing in the Philippines.

Based on a best-selling book, "Unplanned" narrates the story of Abby Johnson, former youngest director of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the US, who turned into a pro-life advocate.

Johnson was Planned Parenthood’s 2008 Employee of the Year who facilitated 22,000 abortions for eight years and had two abortions herself. During an emergency ultrasound-assisted abortion procedure, she witnessed for the first time via sonogram what happens to an unborn baby in an induced abortion. Since resigning from Planned Parenthood, Johnson has exposed abortion clinics and has helped over 500 abortion providers to leave the industry.

"Unplanned" had a surprising box office debut in the US and grossed $19 million in theaters in over 19 weeks, according to Box Office Mojo.

Actress Ashley Bratcher plays the role of Johnson. Ashley told Philstar.com in n exclusive interview that she was the result of an unwanted pregnancy herself.  

“I was intended to be aborted. My mother told me that I was minutes away from being aborted. She was already on the abortion table when she decided to get out and walk out,” she narrated.

“Life begins from the moment of conception and this should be respected until the moment of death,” the film's producer, Michael Mahardt, added. “I was once arrested for picketing in an abortion clinic as I was actively involved at a very young age to fighting abortion in the United States.”

The movie helped inspire a wave of abortion bans in several states directed to challenge the 1973 US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized the procedure across states. While bills protecting the unborn from conception or detection of fetal heartbeat have passed in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky, it is in Bratcher’s homestate Georgia, dubbed as the Hollywood of the South, that attracted controversy.

 

“I’m not sure that whether the movie per se caused (the anti-abortion law), but I do know that there where legislators in Georgia who watched the movie prior to its passage,” she said.

The movie has also inspired anti-abortion protests and vigils in many states. Digital video disk copies of the movie, which hit no. 1 in Amazon, are being sent to every abortion clinic in the US.

In reference to the growing support for “fetal heartbeat bills,” Bratcher tells the audience that “this movie is a heart issue, of reaching out to the hearts of others to save lives. It is a story of love, hope, and forgiveness.”

"Unplanned" is running in theatres around the world and is exclusively showing in select SM cinemas. Bratcher posted on her page that Felcidad Tan-Sy, widow of SM mall tycoon Henry Sy, personally sat in during the premier screening and wept while saying, “Every Filipino, every person needs to see this movie.” — Videos by Deni Bernardo

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