Skip to main content

Unplanned: Movie Review

Tim Bishop


Share This article

It's a significant undertaking to make a movie on the delicate subject of abortion. Such a film is long overdue, but brace yourself. Profound visuals will make you squirm.

No issue has seen such polarization in American politics as abortion. Proponents from each side have engaged in endless and, at times, caustic debate. Lost in the crossfire is the human toll of abortion. Unplanned attempts to change that.


Unplanned dramatizes the true story of Abby Johnson, the former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. In 2011, Johnson and author Cindy Lambert wrote a book by the same title. Johnson's story chronicles her transition into Planned Parenthood and her departure eight years later. The Rated-R drama shows why an abortion-industry insider reversed her stance on this controversial topic.

After a lighthearted introduction, the movie jumps to a pivotal scene near the end of Johnson's story. A heavy metal door slams shut behind Johnson as she and moviegoers enter a procedure room at her clinic. The jarring scene leaves viewers wondering whether they should cover their eyes or exit the theater. As the story rewinds, relief comes from the protagonist's hind-sighted narration, which splices together the scenes.

Johnson, played by Ashley Bratcher, comes from a conservative family that shuns abortion. Her parents are appalled at their strong-willed daughter's choice of employment. It's her work ethic, passion for excellence, confidence, and altruism quickly earn her favor at Planned Parenthood.


Unplanned earns its R-rating. With unsettling images, plenty of blood, and sensitive content specific to human reproduction, parents should be cautious about letting their minor children view this film. Regardless, the disturbing scenes do serve a vital role: they force viewers to consider what goes on at abortion clinics and the human cost of the procedure itself.


Unplanned points a finger at Planned Parenthood regarding its ethics, power, and agenda. Does this movie unveil dirty little secrets? The answer may depend on your view of the film's credibility.

With a few inconsequential exceptions, the movie's quality keeps viewers engaged in its relevant story. Wherever you stand on abortion, Unplanned will force you to think through the procedure of aborting a fetus. How many of us have considered that – or would care to consider it? Yet, the thought process brings clarity on this contentious issue.

Healthy questions will abound for viewers. Regardless of beliefs, they will likely conclude that reducing the number of abortions is a worthy goal. They may even alter their stance.


I don't typically advocate R-rated movies, but Unplanned is an exception. It may move you to tears. Expect a different perspective than what you hear in politics. Women of all backgrounds face pressure to make difficult decisions they may regret later. Regardless of your views, you will do well to invest a couple of hours and the price of admission to see this movie. It's that important.

If you want abortion banned, you'll find plenty of fodder in this film to reinforce your appetite for legal change. Invite a friend with a different perspective to join you. No one with a pulse can watch this without feeling compassion. You'll have plenty to discuss afterward, but little need to do so. The movie will do the "heavy lifting" for you.

Share This article

About The Author


At age 52, Tim Bishop left a successful career as a corporate treasurer, married his dream girl and embarked with her to parts unknown – on bicycles! Tim and Debbie have since coauthored four books about their midlife bicycling adventures. Wheels of Wisdom won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for inspiration and Gold Medal in the Christian-Devotion/Study genre of the 2017 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards contest. Publishers Weekly dubbed the book “a roadmap for life.” In addition to their coaching experience on TheHopeLine, the Bishops bring a strong Christian foundation to