REVIEW: Unplanned and the abortion business

Unplanned comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray on August 13

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Abby Johnson was astounded when in a meeting her supervisor Cheryl told her that her plan consisted in doubling the number of abortions in every clinic. After receiving the award for the best Planned Parenthood employee, Abby had the courage to publicly disagree with her boss’ intentions. She asked her boss if the goal of Planned Parenthood was really to provide contraceptive methods for women in order to avoid the rise in the number of abortions. Abby made it clear that this had been her motivation for joining the organization. Cheryl later rebuked her in private telling her that abortion is what brings Planned Parenthood the greatest profit – just as a burger business benefits more from French fries and fountain drinks than from burgers themselves. “Abortion is for us like soda and French fries,” Cheryl says to her.

Unplanned tells the story of Abby Johnson, who decided to volunteer at Planned Parenthood when she was a college student. It reveals how this young woman, full of dreams to help others, becomes trapped by the arguments she hears – full of apparent goodness. The engaging narrative, with its use of flashbacks and great acting by the main actress Ashely Bratcher, highlights important elements, such as Abby’s strong emotional experience throughout this journey and the internal battle with her own conscience, which seems to call out the gravity of her actions. Perhaps, this is also due to the fact that she knew her parents firmly believed in defending the life of the unborn. Moreover, the production stresses the perseverance of the activists of 40 Days for Life, who continually prayed for the souls of aborted babies and tried to convince the women arriving at Planned Parenthood to choose life.

After being a volunteer, Abby was hired by the organization and later named the director of an abortion clinic in Bryan, TX, becoming the youngest person to hold such position at Planned Parenthood. As director, she would welcome women who arrived at the clinic for abortions and would advise them, telling them not to worry since the fetus in their womb was not yet a human being; it was still too little and wouldn’t feel anything. She would encourage them not to be afraid because nothing bad would happen to them. This, however, was not always the case. Johnson formed part of the organization for eight years and collaborated in nearly 22,000 abortions. However, everything ended when she walked into an abortion room to assist a woman for the first time. When she saw the ultrasound – which expecting mothers are not allowed to see – she saw a baby of 13 weeks fighting for his life.

Unplanned often shows with severity the drama of abortion, the loneliness of many women who arrive at the clinic deceived and afraid to terminate their pregnancy, without fully knowing about the humanity of the being in their womb. It reveals the way in which the abortion industry wants to conceal or reduce the tremendous negative consequences that such an action has on women’s physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. It is a story well told, in which Abby, after encountering different circumstances and being surrounded by people who loved her and respected her liberty – yet not without telling her the truth – reconsiders her actions and eventually turns from a professional woman in the abortion business, to a convinced advocate of the unborn.

COMING UP: Late-term abortion ban reaches signature goal

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Late-term abortion ban reaches signature goal

Volunteers gathered nearly 50,000 signatures for Initiative 120 within two-week cure period

Aaron Lambert

In a final push, supporters of the initiative seeking to prohibit abortions after 22 weeks in the state of Colorado have gathered enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

During a two-week cure period granted after falling short of required signatures to get Initiative 120 on the ballot, over 400 volunteers worked diligently and collected over 48,000 signatures by May 28, nearly three times the amount sought during the cure period. The Due Date Too Late campaign spearheaded the charge to gather signatures with support from Catholic Charities’ Respect Life Office and other pro-life communities across the state.

“I am overjoyed to hear that so many Coloradans have signed the petition to successfully place Initiative 120 on the November ballot,” said Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, who expressed his support for the initiative early on. “Protecting children in the womb is an essential part of building a society that treats all life, no matter its age or ability, as sacred. God has given each person a dignity that comes from being made in his image and likeness, and the degree to which our laws reflect that will be the degree to which we experience true freedom and happiness.”

Initiative 120 would prohibit abortion in Colorado after 22 weeks, with an exception for the life of the mother. According to a recent Gallup poll, 74% of Americans believe that there should be limitations on late term abortion. Due Date Too Late submitted the bulk of the needed petition signatures in March but fell short 10,000 signatures after review by the Secretary of State. The cure period began on May 15, with Due Date Too Late needing to collect those 10,000 additional verified signatures of registered Colorado voters during the 15-day cure period to meet the 124,632 threshold and qualify for the November ballot.

“We are thrilled to take this next step towards protecting lives in Colorado by exceeding our goal of signatures we are turning into the Secretary of State,” said Lauren Castillo, spokesperson for the Due Date Too Late campaign. “We are thankful to have this opportunity to work together with communities across the entire state of Colorado. The hundreds of volunteers we have who are so passionate about ending late-term abortion are helping to make this a reality.”

Due Date Too Late will be turning in the notarized packets containing almost 50,000 signatures on May 29 at 2 p.m. to the office of the Secretary of State to assure that the ballot initiative will meet the statutory threshold.

The field collection effort by Due Date Too Late went forward amid a recent executive order by Gov. Jared Polis regarding how petition signatures may be collected. Under Gov. Polis’ order, he declared that ballot initiatives could gather signatures electronically in response to the coronavirus pandemic; however, Initiative 120 was the only ballot initiative that wasn’t allowed to collect signatures electronically because it was in a cure period.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated over 30,000 signatures were being turned in, based on the information that was available at the time of publication. The actual number is closer to 50,000. The story has been updated to reflect this fact.